Too Much Sugar Isn’t So Sweet For Your Health
Many people consume more sugar than they realize. Its important to be aware of how much sugar you consume because our bodies dont need sugar to function properly. Added sugars contribute zero nutrients but many added calories that can lead to extra pounds or even obesity. That can reduce heart health.
If you think of your daily calorie needs as a budget, you want to spend most of your calories on essentials to meet your nutrient needs. Use only leftover, discretionary calories for extras that provide little or no nutritional benefit, such as sugar.
Reducing Sugar In Drinks
- Instead of sugary fizzy drinks or sugary squash, go for water, lower-fat milk, or sugar-free, diet or no-added-sugar drinks. While the amount of sugar in whole and lower-fat milk is the same, choosing lower-fat milk reduces your saturated fat intake.
- Even unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies are sugary, so limit the amount you have to no more than 150ml a day.
- If you prefer fizzy drinks, try diluting no-added-sugar squash with sparkling water.
- If you take sugar in hot drinks or add sugar to your breakfast cereal, gradually reduce the amount until you can cut it out altogether. Alternatively, switch to a sweetener.
The NHS Change4Life website has more tips to help you cut back on sugary drinks.
Simple Carbohydrates Vs Complex Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients, alongside protein and fats the body needs to function properly. Theyre the bodys preferred source of energy. while we burn fat and protein for energy, the body prefers carbohydrates for fueling basic metabolic functions. Carbohydrates can be broken down into different groups based on their structure and how they are utilized in the body. Carbohydrates are usually categorized as either simple or complex. This article explains the difference between the two types, their benefits, and which foods are sources of each type.
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What Foods High In Protein Are Good For Type 2 Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends lean proteins low in saturated fat for people with diabetes. If youre following a vegan or vegetarian diet, getting enough and the right balance of protein may be more challenging, but you can rely on foods like beans , nuts and nut spreads, tempeh, and tofu to get your fix, notes the Cleveland Clinic. Just be sure to keep portion size in mind when snacking on nuts, as they are also high in fat and calories, according to Harvard Health. The American Heart Association counts a small handful of whole nuts as one serving. If you opt for unsalted almonds, 1.5 ounces will provide 258 calories and nearly 23 g of fat, per estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture .
Meanwhile, processed or packaged foods should be avoided or limited in your diabetes diet because, in addition to added sugars and processed carbohydrates, these foods are often high in sodium, according to the AHA. Getting too much sodium in your diet can increase your blood pressure and, in turn, the risk of heart disease or stroke, notes Harvard Health. And heart disease and stroke are two common complications of diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Its important to keep your blood pressure in check when managing diabetes.
Best options, according to the ADA:
Best options , per the ADA and the NIDDK:
- Wild or brown rice
Finding Added Sugars In Food
Read the Nutrition Facts on the food label to understand how much added sugar is in a food.
- Total sugars include both added sugars and natural sugars.
- Added sugars are the ones you want to limit.
- Naturally occurring sugars are found in milk and fruit . Any product that contains milk or fruit contains some natural sugars.
For items such as granulated or powdered sugar, maple syrup or honey that are sold as separate food products, only total sugars may be listed. However, you need to be aware those are 100% added sugars.
If there is no Nutrition Facts label on a prepared food in the grocery store or restaurant, some ingredients on the package or menu will tell you that the product contains added sugars using a different name.
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Why Are Added Sugars Now Listed On The Nutrition Facts Label
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugars to less than 10 percent of total calories per day. For example, if you consume a 2,000 calorie daily diet, that would be 200 calories or 50 grams of added sugars per day. Consuming too much added sugars can make it difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is including added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label so that you can make informed choices, based on your individual needs and preferences.
Your Weight And Sugar
Eating too much sugar can contribute to people having too many calories, which can lead to weight gain.
For a healthy, balanced diet, we should get most of our calories from other kinds of foods, such as starchy foods and fruits and vegetables, and only eat foods high in free sugars occasionally or not at all.
The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat should come from each of the main food groups in order to have a healthy, balanced diet.
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How Can The Elevateme Health App Help You Avoid Foods With High Sugar
Sugar is everywhere it has many faces, forms and names. Even despite your best efforts, it can be really tricky to identify foods with high sugar content.
Food producers are getting better and better at marketing their food to a health-conscious consumer. They also know exactly how to disguise sugar-based ingredients in their products so even a very savvy shopper can get easily tricked.
So how do you navigate this minefield of modern food shopping? How can we improve the state of our health and our daily performance?
Dont worry, were here to help you do exactly that.
Additionally, with our health app, youll also get a personalised action plan that will help you get your glucose levels under control. This action plan also comes with a curated marketplace that selects the highest quality foods and supplements for you.
How To Avoid Hidden Added Sugar
Read your labels!
Truthfully, no added sugar is hidden, especially with the recent changes to nutrition facts labels that rolled out in 2020. All of the information is there for you you just have to read past the buzzwords on the front of the label.
Ignore the exclamations on the front of the box — such as “made with whole grains!” and “all-natural!” — and actually read the nutrition label. Check out how much sugar the product has and how much of it is added sugar .
For even more information on what you’re consuming, read the ingredients list. In the US, food labels must list ingredients by volume, beginning with the ingredient that is most prevalent in the item. If “sugar” or any variant is in the top five, you may want to try a different product.
Be sure to catch fancy names for added sugar, too: Coconut palm sugar, turbinado, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, brown rice syrup and maple syrup are still sugar. And they’re still added sugar if they aren’t naturally part of the packaged item.
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Sauces Condiments And Salad Dressings
The ever-popular Heinz ketchup is made with high fructose corn syrup.
Ketchup, barbecue sauce, berry-based salad dressings and other sweet toppings are known to contain sugar, but some others may surprise you: Marinara sauce, for instance, can contain more than 20 grams per serving, as can ranch and caesar salad dressings. As always, check the label and opt for varieties without added sugar.
What Vegetables Are Good For People With Diabetes And Which Arent
Vegetables are an important food group to include in any healthy diet, and a diabetes diet is no exception. Veggies are full of fiber and nutrients, and nonstarchy varieties are low in carbohydrates a win for people with diabetes who want to gain control over their blood sugar level, Massey says.
As for packaging, frozen veggies without sauce are just as nutritious as fresh, and even low-sodium canned veggies can be a good choice if youre in a pinch. Just be sure to watch your sodium intake to avoid high blood pressure, and consider draining and rinsing salted canned veggies before eating, per the ADA. If possible, opt for low-sodium or sodium-free canned veggies if going that route.
Follow this general rule: Aim to fill one-half your plate with nonstarchy veggies, as recommended by the NIDDK. And if youre craving mashed white potatoes, try mashed cauliflower, Massey suggests.
Best veggie options, according to the ADA:
- Greens, like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard
- Cruciferous veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower
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Natural Sugar Vs Added Sugar
If youve ever taken a bite of a strawberry or eaten fresh corn in the summer, the sweetness your taste buds pick up on is known as natural sugar. The most common natural sugars include fructose , lactose and maltose .
Sugar is sugar, even if it occurs naturally, right? Yes, but context matters. Once sugar enters your body, the digestive system views natural sugars and added sugars the same and processes them as such.
So, yes, while certain fruits and vegetables have high sugar contents, they also contain fiber, vitamins and minerals. The structural complexity of these foods result in a slower digestive process as opposed to a quick release of glucose that leave you feeling full longer. Thus, you dont need to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables before being satisfied, which keeps the amount of sugar consumed in check.
Added sugars, on the other hand, contain no nutrients or dietary benefits to slow down digestion. This is why theyre commonly referred to as empty calories theres a reason you can eat a half dozen cookies full of sugar and not feel satisfied.
What Too Much Sugar Does To Your Health
The high amounts of refined and added sugars in snack foods, sweets, and sodas have been linked with weight gain and the development of obesity in the United States, as they tend to be calorie dense with none of the nutritive benefits, says Voltolina. These types of sugars can cause rapid increases in blood sugar, which may increase the risk of insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes.
Extra sugar may also increase risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as increased triglyceride levels, which may contribute to cardiovascular disease. In a statement published in February 2021 in the journal Circulation, the American Heart Association linked high intakes of added sugars with heightened rates of obesity and heart disease.
To avoid these risks, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 20202025 recommends limiting added sugar to less than 10 percent of your daily calories.
The AHA recommends women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily , and that men should limit their added sugar intake to 9 tsp or less . If youre adding 2 tsp of sugar to your daily coffee, eating cereal or granola that contains added sugar, and drizzling a store-bought salad dressing on your greens, you may be at or near your daily added-sugar limit by lunchtime even without having any candy or dessert.
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White Bread Often Has Added Sugar For Taste
When you fix yourself a turkey sandwich on white bread for lunch, would you ever expect that youre actually eating about half your daily sugar allotment?
A single slice of white bread can have up totwo grams of added sugar, according to the USDA. If youre eating a couple of slices of toast for breakfast and having a sandwich for lunch, thats eight grams of sugar before you even think about dessert.
Soft Drinks Are High In Sugar
Sweetened drinks are heavily advertised, cheap and commonly available. They include soft drinks, cordial, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks and flavoured mineral waters.
The standard serving size for soft drink has increased. Previously, soft drink was available in 375ml cans. Soft drinks are now commonly sold in 600ml bottles, which provide up to 16 teaspoons of sugar.
For an average 14-year-old girl, a 600ml bottle of soft drink alone will provide more than 12% of her daily energy needs. This means she would exceed the recommended energy intake from refined sugar with just one drink.
Studies of children in Australia have found that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with obesity risk. Participants who consumed more than one serving were 26% more likely to be overweight or obese.
is a partnership between health and community organisations with the aim of reducing consumption of sugary drinks. They provide some useful resources on the amount of sugar in drinks, and how you can reduce your consumption.
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Reducing Sugar In Food
- Rather than spreading high-sugar jam, marmalade, syrup, chocolate spread or honey on your toast, try a lower-fat spread, reduced-sugar jam or fruit spread, sliced banana or lower-fat cream cheese instead.
- Check nutrition labels to help you pick the foods with less added sugar, or go for the reduced- or lower-sugar version.
- Try reducing the sugar you use in your recipes. It works for most things except jam, meringues and ice cream.
- Choose tins of fruit in juice rather than syrup.
- Choose unsweetened wholegrain breakfast cereals that are not frosted, or coated with chocolate or honey.
- Choose unsweetened cereal and try adding some fruit for sweetness, which will contribute to your 5 A Day. Sliced bananas, dried fruit and berries are all good options.
The Food Scanner app from Change4Life can help you check how much sugar you or your child is having. Using your smartphone, the app can scan the barcode on food packets to find out exactly how much sugar is in it. Get it on the App Store and .
How Do I Look For Sugar On Food Labels
Shakespeare told us that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. It also holds that sugar by any other nameno matter what manufacturers try to disguise it with on a labelis still sugar. By knowing the different names sugar can be called, you can make better choices when faced with confusing food labels.
According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, some of the names that added sugars can go by on food labels can include the following. If you see these near the beginning of an ingredients list, avoid the product, or at least use small servings.
- anhydrous dextrose
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What Is The Added Sugar Recommended Limit Per Day
The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 6 percent of calories each day. For most American women, thats no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, its 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons. The AHA recommendations focus on all added sugars, without singling out any particular types such as high-fructose corn syrup.
Know The Names For Sugar
The nutrition facts label is required to inform you how much sugar is in a food. However, the label does not separate the amounts of naturally occurring sugar from added sugar, Gager explains. Sugar is found naturally in many nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables. But, you have to be a bit more savvy with locating foods that contain added sugar. There are more than 60 names for added sugar.
To identify added sugars, look at the ingredients list. Some major clues that an ingredient is an added sugar include:
- the word ends in ose
- sugar is in the name
Other examples of added sugar include fruit nectars, concentrates of juices, honey, agave and molasses.
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Why It’s Bad For You
Sugar is added to many types of foods, and eating too much of the sweet stuffeven when it seems to come from a natural sourceis a risk for weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and even dementia. A diet heavy in added sugar is linked to a risk of dying from heart disease even if you’re not overweight, according to a study that was published earlier this year in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Why does added sugar cause so much trouble? It’s digested immediately and rapidly absorbed, and this causes an upswing in your blood sugar levels. “That challenges your pancreas to pump out more insulin. If the pancreas can’t keep up with that demand, blood sugar levels rise, which can lead to more problems with insulin secretion, and ultimately to diabetes,” says Dr. David M. Nathan, a Harvard Medical School professor and the director of the Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Sugar also raises inflammation throughout the body, increases triglycerides , and boosts the levels of dopamine in the brain. “Dopamine gives you a high, and that’s why the more sugar you eat, the more you think you want,” says Krivitsky.