I've been wanting to write this post for quite some time now, but never got around to doing so! I am so excited about starting my Health Coaching business soon, finishing Nutrition School, and just spending time with my babies and working on my blog! I wish I could post more, but being a twin mama is a career in its own!
Nevertheless, I am excited to discuss something that we pretty much come across every day, and sometimes without even knowing so: SUGAR. Over the past few years, the effects that sugar has on the brain and on the body has been on the news, a strong focus for nutritionists, and getting a lot of attention with health freaks such as myself. Have you ever wondered why you're packing on weight, even though you think you are eating super healthy? Having a yogurt every morning? Meusli? Or that protein bar right before your workout? And how easy is it to open that canned tomato sauce to add to your white pasta? Basically, sugar is in almost everything - and so many of these sugar laden foods may come as a surprise to you.
When reading nutrition labels, one must be very careful. Marketing agencies know exactly what to do in order to make a packaged food item seem healthy, organic, or even, low in sugar. Women should be consuming no more than 25 grams of sugar a day, and men 36 - but it is so easy to exceed these numbers due to hidden sugars that are in so many commercially processed foods.
One thing you must be aware of is that sugar comes in many forms, and there are so many different kinds and therefore names for it. Many of which we don't even realize are sugar.
Other terms for sugar:
- Brown sugar, agave syrup, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fuctose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, glucoise, high-fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, fruit juice concentrate, honey...
Here is my list for the top 5 sources of hidden sugars, that just may help you get back on the healthy bandwagon!
- commercial yogurt, especially the kind that have that pile of fruit at the bottom, are full of hidden sugars. Yes, obviously yogurt contains lactose, but at least it is natural. You can even find lactose free yogurt. Try and search for yogurt that has "natural," or "plain," written on the cups. If you don't enjoy the tangy taste of plain yogurt, try adding sauteed fruit, fresh fruit, or if you're into savory yogurts, some olive oil, sea salt and tomatoes!
2. Breakfast Cereals
- Fruit loops, corn flakes, lucky charms, or even "whole-grain" granola - these all may be magically delicious, but they are so sweet it is as if you or your kids are simply eating a bowl of milk with teaspoon after teaspoon of sugar! Swap for oatmeal, quinoa or buckwheat flakes, over night oats or chia seed pudding.
3. Protein bars
- Oh, the good old grab and go high protein snack so many of us love to quickly eat before or after our workouts or during that 3pm slump. So many of them are packed with sugars, but today, there are a lot of amazing brands that make "raw" bars, or ones that are simply made of blended fruits, nuts, and superfoods. Simply read the labels of these bars and you will quickly be able to tell if sugar has been added. Otherwise, make them at home! Here is an easy recipe for protein bars or my easy to make bliss balls.
4. Condiments/Packed Foods
- This means pretty much anything in a can or a jar. Tomato sauce, salad dressings, ketchup, non-dairy milks, bbq sauce, soups, frozen foods, soda, energy drinks, and the list goes on! Your best option to is to make your own sauces or check the labels to see which items do not contain any added sugars (yes this exists).
5. Fruit Juice/Dried Fruits
- Even though cold-pressed juices are healthy with the dose of vitamins and minerals they come with, they are super high in sugar! One 8oz cup of juice can contain anywhere from 20-30 grams! Dried fruits on the other hand, almost always contain added sugars and preservatives for added taste, so your best bet is to eat raw fruit.