It is estimated that most of us consume too much sugar in our diet. The NHS advises that added sugar should account for no more than 5% of our overall calorie intake. But what do we mean by added sugar? Sugar occurs naturally in many food types such as fruit and vegetables. Added sugar refers to table sugar, honey, syrups, etc. The problem is that consuming too much sugar is associated with many serious illnesses. It can cause obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
For most people, it’s not necessary to eliminate sugar entirely from our diet. However, there are some simple changes you can make to reduce your levels of consumption.
- Beware The Low Fat Label
When shopping, we’re often drawn to foods that are labelled low in fat. While this is good, the problem is that some of these foods use high levels of sugar to boost the taste. Make sure you read the labels carefully. You may believe you’re buying healthy foods, while the opposite could be true.
- Know Your Sugars
Sugar comes in many different guises. The problem is that it’s not always labelled as sugar. For example, sucrose, glucose, fructose, and maltose are all types of sugar. Get to know your sugar so you can correctly identify it on food labels.
- Don’t Drink Your Calories
It’s easy to consume a lot of sugar through drinks. Most people are familiar with the amount of sugar in sugary, fizzy drinks. However, they’re often surprised to hear that there is also a lot of sugar in fruit juices. Orange juice is one such culprit. Because it uses the juice of several oranges, the sugar content can be high. Rather than drinking fruit juice, eat a piece of fruit instead.
If you enjoy coffee from your local barista, check the sugar content in your beverage of choice. You may be surprised.
- Beware Of Processed Food
Sugar doesn’t just appear in sweet desserts and snacks. It’s present in lots of different meals, such as ready meals and other packaged food. Get into the habit of checking food labels carefully before buying. Wherever possible, make your own meals, rather than buying processed versions.
- Get To Know Your Carbs
Being informed about food types helps you make healthy decisions. Sugar is a form of carbohydrate. While many diets advocate cutting carbs from your diet entirely, for most people, this is not the healthiest option. Eating a balanced diet with a range of nutrients is generally accepted to be a healthier choice. Complex carbohydrates like brown bread, brown rice, etc. are much better for us as they are unrefined and contain more nutrients. Simple carbohydrates such as refined sugar, etc. should be limited.
Simple sugars cause the blood sugar to spike and then drastically crash within a short period of time. The crash can then cause us to feel hungry and reach for another sugary snack to satisfy the craving. Whereas, complex carbs are slow release, which means they don’t cause that same spike and release their energy over a longer period.
Some people take natural supplements to help regulate their blood sugar levels. For example, Garcinia Cambogia Pure Extract is known to help with blood sugar irregularities. It is therefore sometimes cited as one of the weight loss secrets of celebrities and other high-profile individuals. The problem with blood sugar irregularities is that it sometimes causes the body to retain fat, sugar, and water, which can detrimental if you’re trying to lose weight.
Having a healthy diet is not about depriving yourself. This is the mistake that many people make. It’s about knowing your food and its building blocks. Being informed about nutrition helps us to make smarter, healthier choices.