Hidden Sugar: Do You Know What You’re Eating?

Crystallized sugar.I am a bit of a healthy eating nut. I make my own almond butter and forage for wild foods. Let’s face it, most people don’t have the time, energy or inclination to do a lot of that. However that doesn’t mean you can’t be a healthy eater. In fact I think you can be a healthy eater and a lot of that starts with knowing exactly what you’re eating.

One big challenge on the road to improved eating habits is sugar. It is in all kinds of things naturally and it’s added into even more. If you don’t do anything else, simply being aware of the sugar you are consuming can make a big difference.

How sugar affects your body

Weight gain is a common effect of excess sugar.How sugar affects your body is a very big topic. In fact it could be multiple blog posts on it’s own. So when I talk about sugar today, I want to talk mainly about fructose (as in high fructose corn syrup) which makes up most of the sweeteners we use.

  • Fructose freaks out your liver. 100% of it is metabolized by your liver.
  • It doesn’t tell your body it’s full.
  • It promotes fat formation, especially belly fat.
  • Consuming a lot of sugar greatly increases your risk of obesity and other diseases.

Different names for sugar

I’m a big label reader; it is something I would recommend to everyone. It is also important to realize that sugar gets listed under many different names. Here are just a few examples:

  • Agave nectar
  • Barley malt
  • Barley malt syrup
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice
  • Caramel
  • Carob syrup
  • Castor sugar
  • Coconut palm sugar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Date sugar
  • Dehydrated cane juice
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Honey
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado
  • Palm sugar
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Sweet Sorghum
  • Syrup
  • Treacle

What to watch out for

Aside from keeping your eyes peeled for the many names of sugar on the labels, you’ll also want to check the sugar content in the nutrition facts. It’s listed under Carbohydrates. There are a lot of foods out there with naturally occurring sugars that can still be a sugar overload. A good example of this is fruit juice. It takes 2 to 4 oranges to get a cup (8 ounces) of orange juice. We may not be likely to eat 4 oranges in one sitting but we just might drink 2 cups of OJ. That’s like consuming all the sugar from 8 oranges!

What to eat when you want something sweet

Cutting back on sugar doesn’t have to mean quitting everything that’s sweet. In fact there are a lot of good options. It’s also important to note that if you’re giving up sugar, it helps if you increase your fat intake. You heard right: eat more high quality fat. This doesn’t mean go eat a bunch of fried food but there is no reason to stay away from full fat dairy (unless you don’t/can’t eat dairy) and good oils.Blueberries, a source of natural sugar.

Sugar is everywhere but if you want you can cut back. You can cut it out and you’ll be amazed at how much better you can feel. If you are interested in feeling and eating better, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Schedule your free consultation today!