For many years people have been led to believe that saturated fat is the main cause of heart disease. However new studies have revealed that saturated fat is far less harmful than sugar. It is no surprise that chocolates, fizzy drinks, sweets and cakes are loaded with added sugar. But there are other culprits that you might not associate with added sugar.
Theses culprits are the foods which are packed with large amounts of hidden sugar.
Food manufacturing companies have become wise about the outcry of added sugar by health practitioners, and with clever marketing, have started to disguise the sugar in their products so that consumers do not know how much sugar they are really eating.
They add sugar into foods to enhance the taste, especially in reduced fat foods, as foods without fat are bland, and do not taste so good. This means that foods you may believe to be healthy because they are labelled low fat, are actually worse for you as they are loaded with added sugar – which keeps you hooked and going back for more.
Researchers have proved that sugar is instrumental in the worldwide rise of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Some foods with added sugar you need to know about.
We all have favourite things we eat that taste delicious, and which we may not realise are rich in hidden added sugar.
Here are just a few of them:
- Most low fat items, including yogurt and low fat ice cream have added sugar.
- Breakfast cereals, especially those directed at children, are packed with sugar.
- Sauces and soups ranging from basic tomato sauce to a spicy curry delicacy, and including soups, have big amounts of added sugar.
- All condiments and salad dressings, especially the so-called low fat ones are filled with sugar. Mayonnaise and honey and mustard salad dressings are delicious, but could be deadly, because of the hidden sugar which has been added to them.
- Tinned baked beans, whilst high in fibre, contain lots of sugar and other additives.
- Muffins, even those with seeds and nuts, are really just cakes high in sugar.
- Protein and energy bars are not healthy snacks. They may contain vegetable protein and some vitamins, but they are also exceedingly rich in refined flour and added sugar products.
- There is sugar and calories in all alcoholic drinks, which add up fast, interfere with fat digestion, and prevent fat loss.
- White bread, the staple diet of many, is also high in added sugar.
Scientists in the food industry have got the ratio of fat, sugar and salt in their products just right to make them tasty enough for you to want more and more.
How to identify hidden sugars in foods.
You need to be aware of the many different ways sugar is identified on the labels by clever marketers.
Here are some to look out for:
- Agave nectar, brown sugar, cane sugar.
- Corn sweetener, corn syrup.
- Dextrose, fructose, organic evaporated cane juice, sucrose, syrup.
- Glucose, fruit juice concentrates, processed honey.
- Lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses.
There could be others as well, but they are all just grand-sounding names for hidden sugar.
How to avoid buying foods with hidden sugar content.
- You may have to give up some of your favourite foods if you are serious about the dangers of hidden sugar. Check the labels of products thoroughly, including the amount of the sugar product, whatever it may be called, in the item you want to purchase. Also check the nutrition facts in some of the packaged foods – you could be surprised by the lack of any real nutrition in the product.
- One heaped teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4 grams of sugar, and on average up to 16 grams is added to a product, equal to 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar. This is just in the hidden added sugar from processed, off-the-shelf foods, not the obvious added sugar from cakes, sweets and deserts. So you could be over-loading your body without even realising it.
- Don’t buy anything which is labelled low fat, as it could do your body more harm than if you eat a full-fat product.
You may feel that all this checking on labels is going to a lot of trouble, and sometimes time- consuming, but if want to stay healthy and prevent the dangers related to excess sugar, then it is worth all the trouble for the benefit to your health and well-being.
A worldwide epidemic.
Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and tooth-decay, have almost reached epidemic proportions. A poor diet, overeating, and especially high sugar intake, play a huge role in these conditions.
Follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and watch your sugar intake, especially if you do not want be another statistic in the sugar rush for poor health.
Be a Healthy You!