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Sugar: The Ninja of All Ingredients

Sugar: The Ninja of All Ingredients

Sugar tends to lighten up our brain’s pathways. It makes our cravings fire on all cylinders. It often raises our blood sugar. It causes an imbalance in our gut microbiome. AND it causes inflammation. 

It’s important to understand that sugar is ‘sneaked’ into MANY processed foods to make you want more of them. Now, when I say ‘sneaked’… I don’t mean illegally. The creators of processed foods are required to tell you what’s included in the ingredients – on the nutrition label; however, oftentimes we have no idea what the ingredients on the food labels actually are (all those darn scientific names).

Now, I’m not saying we should NEVER eat sugar. Living with hardcore restriction is NOT the way at HE. Life’s too short to skip cake all the time

What I am saying is: 

It is important to be cognizant of how much sugar we’re eating on a day-to-day basis. (Also, when you’re done reading this blog… be sure to read our recent blog ‘Why is Sugar So Addictive’

 

TYPES OF SUGAR FOUND IN PACKAGED FOODS

Sadly, this is NOT an exhaustive list. Food scientists and manufacturers have discovered a multitude of ways to add sweeteners to their recipes. Here are a few examples of the various types of sugars found in common packaged foods. 

  • Sugar – Raw, Brown, Coconut, Cane, etc. 
  • Syrup – High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Rice Syrup, Malt Syrup, etc. 
  • Sugar Alcohols – Erythritol, Glycerin, HIH, Maltitol, Ribitol, Sorbitol, Xylitol, etc.
  • Artificial Sugars – Aspartame, Equal, Saccharin, Splenda, Sucralose, Sweet-n-Low, Truvia, etc.
  • More names – Dextrose, Fructose, Galactose, Maltodextrin, Mono(& Poly)saccharide, etc.

 

DO ALL SUGARS/SWEETENERS HAVE CALORIES? RAISE BLOOD SUGAR? 

Although not all of those sugars/sweeteners listed above have calories… OR raise blood sugar… it is not healthy to eat these ingredients in excess. Eating sweets makes us crave more sweet things.

 

NINJA SUGAR TRAPS – WATCH OUT FOR THESE! 

Make these swaps and you’ll reduce the amount of sugar you’re eating:

  • Dried fruit with sugar added >>>>> Dried fruit (where the only ingredient is the actual fruit) 
  • Canned fruits & vegetables >>>>> Buy those WITHOUT sugar as an ingredient 
  • Everyday sauces & dressings >>>> Make your own or check the label
  • Granola bars >>>>> Make your own, we like this recipe by the Minimalist Baker, or buy those with the least amount of sugar grams possible
  • Jam >>>>> jam with no sugar listed as an ingredient (it still tastes great – we promise!)

Here’s a visual example of what I mean: 

bag-of-dried-mango-with-sugar

These mangoes can be purchased from Costco. From the front? They look pretty harmless. Fruit right?

 

dried-mango-with-sugar-back

But… turn it over and see that this brand adds SUGAR to their dried mangos. 

32 grams…! Much of this is naturally occurring sugar, but we know by looking at the ingredients that – indeed – sugar has been added. Why, people? WHY?

 

Look for sugar as an ingredient (and its other ‘lesser known names’) in things like: Sriracha, tomato sauces, canned vegetables, applesauces, and more. 

 

Have questions about sugar and how much you should be eating each day?
Get in touch with us and have a free breakthrough session where we can help bring some clarity to your questions. 

-Dr. Dan

Photo credit – www.costco.com and https://harveyatcostco.com/pantry/philippine-brand-dried-mangoes/

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