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Ambushed by Sugar?

Updated on April 14, 2015
Sugar is bad for your Health, cut back on it slowly.
Sugar is bad for your Health, cut back on it slowly.

Cannot Lose Weight - Sugar may be Your Problem

Do you know that typically we eat around 20 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is twice what we should be eating. That figure doesn't count sugar from fruit and it adds up rather quickly as many sugars are hidden in foods where we least expect to find them.

The processed food we eat, such as yoghurt, which we consider healthy, is not really as the food industry takes simple raw ingredients such as grains for cereals, or tomatoes for sauces, removes the nutritious part, adds sugar to make them tastier.

The low fat label is the worst in this arena as the fat has been removed and replaced again by sugar for taste.

Cutting down on our sugar intake is a good idea. Look at the following menu:



Breakfast: Cereal + Fruit Juice
Mid Morning: Yoghurt
Lunch: Soup
Mid Afternoon: Cereal Bar
Supper: Pasta with chilli salsa sauce



If you think that it is a pretty healthy day's menu you would be wrong, as typically that menu could have you eating 28 teaspoons of sugar!

The tub of flavoured yoghurt alone has 4.5 teaspoons of sugar, the chilli salsa sauce contains 6.5 teaspoons of sugar and your cereal bar, 4 teaspoons.

Other examples:



▪ Canned corn - 0.5 tsp per 100g
▪ Ketchup - 1 tsp per tablespoon
▪ Baked Beans - 1-2 tsp per half can
▪ Savoury crackers - 3 tsp per 100g
▪ Fruit Flavoured Yoghurt Drink - 15 tsp per 250ml bottle

Packaged Foods

Even organic packaged foods often contain significant amount of sugar. While many of them are preferable to their non-organic counterparts, be aware of the sugar content.

How Sugar Affects Your Health

Sugar has no nutritional value and it's habit forming, so the more sugar you eat the more you want. So what is sugar doing to your body?


Weight Problems:


Sugar provides a quick burst of energy and around 30 minutes later the blood sugar levels drop leading to cravings for more sugar. It's hard to stop at just one piece of chocolate as it triggers the release of the neurotransmitter, or pleasure chemical, dopamine, in the brain. Sugar, not burned off, is stored as fat in your body.

Health Wise:


The pancreas must release insulin to respond to high-sugar foods. Constant insulin spikes can lead to insulin resistance, which in turn can become type 2 diabetes, while also increasing the risk of heart disease.

Brain:


Marked highs and lows in blood sugar levels affect mood, energy, attention and concentration. One scary fact is that high sugar diets have also been associated with depression and memory decline.

Skin:

A diet high in sugar causes inflammation that can make skin age quicker. A process called glycation makes sugar molecules bind to the proteins, such as collagen, in your skin making the surface tissue more inflexible. So if you constantly ate a diet high in GI carbs and sugar the older you would look.

How Sugar affects the Brain - TED-ED

Soda and other types of softdrinks are full of sugar.
Soda and other types of softdrinks are full of sugar.

So What Can We Do About Sugar Cravings?


MEALS:

Satiety signals, or the appetite regulating hormone release that tells your brain you're full, takes about 10 minutes from when you are finished eating. So waiting just 10 minutes before looking for pudding can make that craving disappear.

Luckily the high sugar craving cycles also work in reverse. When you eliminate added sugars you could possibly have cravings, headaches and perhaps a low mood which, more often than not, lift by the sixth day as the cravings disappear. As your taste buds readjust you find that foods you previously craved are simply too sweet.

PRACTICAL WAYS TO CUT DOWN ON SUGAR

• Sweeteners: Stevia is a calorie free sweetener that comes from a plant and appears to be a safe alternative which doesn't spike blood sugar.


• Condiments: Horseradish, mustard and mint sauce are low in sugar. Salad dressing an be made with ingredients such as sesame or olive oil, lemon or lime, mustard, soy sauce or chilli powder.


• Diet Drinks: Contain no sugar but can keep you wanting that sugar taste. Try sparkling water and add your own squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange for a fruity taste.


• Yoghurt : Use plain Bulgarian or Greek yoghurt and chop up a fresh fruit to add to it.


• All Bran: Has 3 teaspoons of sugar in the cereal. Swop for Shredded Wheat which has no added sugar but has less fibre.


• Pasta Sauce: Up to 6.5 teaspoons in a jar. Rather make your own sauces.


• Prepackaged Soup, Canned Veg: Make you own soup and use frozen or fresh Vegetables.

  • Add Cinnamon:
  • Known to help keep blood sugar level. Add to plain yogurt and fruit or porridge for breakfast.

    Protein at every Meal:
  • Have a little protein such as eggs, nuts, seeds, lean meats and poultry, soya products, e.g. nut butters or tahini, at every meal and for every snack.

    Stay Hydrated:
  • Drink plenty of water

    Know your sugar Craving:
  • If your weak spot is say 5pm, have a snack such as almonds or walnuts and a piece of fresh fruit one hour before.

    Chocoholic?
  • Take a daily 15 minute walk during your work day will halve the amount of chocolate you eat even when you're stressed.


10 Facts on the Dangers of Sugar - Alltime 10's

High sugar foods are not hard to spot, it's the ones you least suspect that can surprise you.
High sugar foods are not hard to spot, it's the ones you least suspect that can surprise you.

Spot the Sneaky Sugar Attack



Read the label:

Look at sugars per 100g on labels, 15g or more per 100g is a high-sugar food. About 5g per 100g is a low sugar food. Aim to take your sugars to 10-12 teaspoons per day or 50g.

Sugar can be disguised as maltose, dextrose and fructose and may also be listed as molasses, treacle, high-fructose corn syrup and maldodextrin. Honey, brown sugar and most syrups are also counted as sugars.

Understand Label Listing

If sugar is in the top three ingredients, then that is a high-sugar food, but manufacturers sometimes list sugar in different forms, so what matters if the 'per 100g listing"



When reading "Nutrition Facts" labels remember that 7 grams of sugar is equal to around 1 tablespoon of sugar.



Be wary of reduced fat and fat-free products, sugars are often added to mask the loss of flavor when fat is removed cutting out fat, but not necessarily calories.

If the label says 'no added sugar', never assume that means it is a low sugar item.


Need to be Weened off the Sugar Cycle

Start slowly by identifying where you consume the most sugar, is it soft drinks, hot drinks, sugary snacks or a nightly dessert. Then cut out just one of these things at a time until your diet is 100% sugar free. Soft drinks have a huge impact on a sugar levels and these include cordials and so called fruit juices.

Somethings are easier said than done, one of these being sugar in your tea or coffee for example. Of course the best way to drink either of them is completely sweet free. Neither sugar and nor sweetener, that way the true flavour of your blend comes through, and what a lovely surprise that can be! Drop your spoons of sugar by half a spoon each week until you are down to zero. That way a large chunk of your sugar diet has been cut out.

If you find it too hard to go completely sweet-free, start slowly by using unrefined sweeteners such as pure maple syrup, raw honey or coconut sugar. These sugars still have their minerals and vitamins intact. Try a bit of raw honey and butter on toast, or a bit of honey in a cup of tea. Drizzle pure maple syrup into unsweetened yoghurt and top with fruit or berries, or lightly sweeten a homemade muffin recipe without too much guilt.

Children:

Pass your good sugar habits on to your children, and they will thank you for not helping to turn them into sugar addicts.


Give your children water, not juice to drink. Most children consume more sugar than their daily allowance and fizzy drinks and fruit juices provide the biggest source of sugar for youngsters aged between 4 - 18. The next biggest contributor is found in cereals and cereal bars.

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    • Purpose Embraced profile image

      Yvette Stupart PhD 3 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks for the great information, CyberShelley. To think that I might be consuming so much sugar and not realizing it! I also like the practical ways you outlined for cutting down on sugar.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      This is excellent information. I have to read all food labels because several of my family members suffer from food allergies or intolerance. I am also gluten free which I noticed helped me cut back on sugar cravings.

      I recently was able to find a natural pasta sauce and pizza sauce without extra sugar. And, I look for products such as jellies which contain no corn syrup.

      Things that people would never think of contain sugar, and it's very interesting to learn what we are putting in our bodies.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      Once you do get off the sugar cycle you feel so much better and your energy increases. Then you don't even crave it anymore.

    • CyberShelley profile image
      Author

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      DreamerMeg hello. Thanks for visiting, I appreciate your time.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 4 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Yes, sugar is dangerous stuff. I am doing my best to stay away from it.

    • CyberShelley profile image
      Author

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      moonlake, I too love sugar, I have a very sweet tooth. When I started to thicken around the waist, I realised it was time to do something drastic. My mother developed type 2 diabetes late in life, which isn't bad but if I can avoid it so much the better. Thank you so much for stopping.

      Don Bobbitt, Great to meet you and glad you visited. When my mother developed diabetes and she came to stay with us, I learnt what damage sugar can do inside a diabetic's body. Thank you Don for the votes and the sharing, very much appreciated.

      ossmedia, Thank you for your thoughts and your visit.

    • ossmedia profile image

      Jason Roiz 4 years ago from Delhi

      You need to control your heart if you wanna being free form diabetes.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 4 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Love It! Love It! Love It!

      I am a Diabetic and life is a big struggle when almost everything you eat has some level of Sugar in it.

      Jeez, The stories I could tell you about other people's total ignorance of how devastating offering sugar-laced foods to a diabetic can be.

      Voted UP, Awesome, and Shared!

      DON

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      My biggest problem is I love sugar and I have a very hard time cutting out of my diet. Though I don't eat a lot of it even a small amount seems to add pounds. Thanks for all the information. Voted up and shared.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      You are more than welcome ! I can't wait to read more

    • CyberShelley profile image
      Author

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      torrilynn, thank you so much for visiting, I appreciate your comments.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      @CyberShelley thanks for the article. It is quite profound to learn that we are intaking more sugar than what we actually think we are! voted up and pinned !

    • CyberShelley profile image
      Author

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      Alphadogg16 Thank you for stopping by, your sugar comment is so right, we do need to be aware of its dangers.

      rebeccamealey, So glad to have you back, thank you for visiting.

      timorous, Thank you for visiting and the comments. I try my best to feed my family the natural, home cooked food and avoid the prepackaged. So far so good and as I love cooking it's not a hardship.

      pinto2011, Glad you dropped in!

    • CyberShelley profile image
      Author

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      Denise Handlon Thank you so much Denise for commenting and your generous votes. I appreciate your visits as they always add depth to my articles..

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      HI CyberShelley! Great hub. Great info for us all.

    • timorous profile image

      timorous 4 years ago from Me to You

      Ohh...the evil sugar. The human body does not 'need' sugar at all. It's already fairly good at turning all the 'good' stuff you eat into blood sugar, or glucose (assuming you're actually healthy). This is what gives you the energy to get through the day. Natural foods are digested fairly slowly, allowing your insulin to control the conversion to blood sugar. The best thing you can do, is make all your own meals from natural ingredients, and leave out the sugar. I do.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      A real eye opener about how much hidden sugar these is in foods that we take for granted. Thanks!

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      Great hub CyberShelly, well written and extremely informative. Sugar has to be controlled as its the main precursor of fat. The more sugar in your body, the more fat your body retains. Thumbs up!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      It's so dismaying to know that sugar is a common additive to such a great variety of foods. No matter what is produced manufacturers have this 'need' to sell people on their product because of the level of sugar. I never added extra sweeteners, like sugar, to my children's cereal when they were growing up, and I would divide the required sugar for kool aid in half, but there was still plenty of sugar going around. Nowadays, it's even worse.

      Great job, here, Shelley. I'm rating it UP/I/U and will share. :)

    • CyberShelley profile image
      Author

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      Hello Pamela99, great to have you drop by. My sweet tooth is notoriously hard to control, last week I helped distribute 1500 fresh doughnuts to school children for a celebration. Wow that was hard to resist!

    • CyberShelley profile image
      Author

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      Hello vespawoolf, so glad to have you visit. I have, in the last month, dropped my sugar from 2 teaspoons to half a teaspoon in my tea and coffee. It also helped me with my sweet tooth and chocolate cravings leaving me feeling quite angelic!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      This hub is full of very helpful information. I wish I didn't have the sugar craving. I do control my weight pretty well, but there are time I feel like I just have to have chocolate or other sugar. I think the day plan can work, and I appreciate your detailed hub. Thanks!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is a good reminder to watch for the places where sugar can lurk in our diets. I am a definite chocoholic and often have sugar cravings. This will help me get things under wraps. Thank you!

    • CyberShelley profile image
      Author

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      Nell Rose, Thanks for stopping. It was my fat stomach which sent me down this road as I've always been slim and now I've a tummy problem!

      Timetraveller2, Thanks for commenting on my article and leaving that valuable tip!

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

      This is an excellent article. I rarely eat sugar straight and try to stay away from most snack foods. I do not have a weight problem, but when I cut way back on SALT I lost 20 pounds almost overnight! Clearly, what we eat really determines our health and well being. Great job here! Voted up.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi Shelley, this is great, and proves to me the reason why I should just cut out the sugars that I can be in charge of so to speak. I tend to use loads in cups of tea, so I am using sweeteners at the moment. I know that's what's causing my fat stomach! great hub and voted up and shared! nell

    • CyberShelley profile image
      Author

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      Mhatter99, Thank you for your visit, it is always great to have your comments.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this valuable information.