Let’s begin by looking at the image below so as to get an idea of the task we face in deciding which ‘sugars’ are of benefit to us and which,let’s say, we can do without – or at least keep their intake / consumption to an absolute minimum :
Daunting as it may seem (and probably is !), help/advice is on hand :
Important Names for Sugar You Need to Know
Being conscious of your health you know full-well that sugar can be ok when consumed in moderation but harmful when intake is excessive.However, in this day and age, it is very easy to be tricked/misled as well as misunderstand as to what is in your diet and what is not.
Without doubt, manufacturers contribute to our ignorance and gullibility. The sweet stuff goes by numerous aliases, all of which could be sneaking into your diet. There now follows a description of 8 alternative names for sugar you need to know to make even more informed health choices.
- Barley Malt : A dried cereal grain, malted barley is a main ingredient in beer as well as candies like Maltesers.
- Syrup : Avoid any ingredient containing the word ‘syrup’ such as carob syrup, golden syrup, rice syrup and sorghum syrup.
- Maltodextrin : Found in soda and candy, maltodextrin is also used in light peanut butter to reduce its fat content but maintain its texture. It’s also used to improve the mouthfeel of beer.
- Muscavado :
Muscovado is partially refined to unrefined brown sugar. It tastes very similar to molasses. Because of its deep flavor profile, it’s often found in marinades, barbecue sauces and other savory packaged items.
5. Words with the suffix ” -ose ” : Far more often than not signifies a sugar ingredient e.g. fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose and many more !
6. Treacle :This is the un-crystallized syrup made during the refining of sugar. It’s used frequently in British desserts–most notably treacle pudding and treacle tart, favorites of a fictional wizard named Harry Potter.
7. Ethyl Maltol : Ethyl Maltol is a sweet, flavouring agent used in the manufacture of cotton sugar, milk caramel toffee and chewing gum amongst other products.
8. Dextran : This dextran sugar that occurs naturally in refined crystalline sugar, maple syrup and honey.
The second part of this article is going to be largely based on an article wriiten by the renowned,doctor,author and BBC broadcaster Michael Mosley for its iW?onder section.
‘The Bitter Sweet Truth’
With respect to the USA,it is predicted that for the period 2016-2017, 10.9 million metric tonnes of sugar will be consumed.What is more alarming (and has been mentioned earlier in this article) is the fact that us like consumers in the States on many occasions do not know when we are actually consuming sugar: this means that some foods and beverages contain more sugar than what we actually know and/or require. This conveniently leads us onto the next consideration.
These invariable include food and drinks we consider flavoured,savoury and low-fat.Examples include flavoured water, sauces and low-fat yogurt.Citing examples from Dr.Mosley’s article consider the following facts :
- adding a couple of spoonfuls of BBQ sauce to your meal = eating a glazed doughnut. Other examples of sweet sauces include Tomato Ketchup, salad cream & sweet & sour.
- sweet drinks such as milk-shakes, fruit drinks and,of course, mineral drinks do not fill us up so easily unlike non-sugary foods with the same calories. Hence it is easy to consume in excess.
- Breakfast cereals (e.g.Frosties) and smoothies are packed with hidden sugars.Hence,the daily recommended intake of sugar is often already exceeded before we leave home.
- Snacks such as wholemeal biscuits, low-fat yogurt and biscuits which are regularly portrayed as healthier eating options, contain hidden sugars.
- refer to the illustration below to see what is applicable to you and your family:
Manufacturers of Food and Beverage products add sugar to improve the taste of their product/s. It is also important to note that when fat is removed from processed products, sugar is added to avoid the end product having a bland taste. To add further woe to the consumer, sugar is added to food (and drink) merchandise in order to extend its shelf life. God examples are, tinned fruit and vegetables and also breakfast cereals.
Hence, to reiterate what was mentioned earlier, since we are unaware that we are eating it, more sugar is in our bodies than what we actually need.
Hidden Sugar is a Danger
Consuming more sugar than what we need leads to an excess which is converted by the liver to a storage form of glucose known as glycogen. It this that is stored in various parts of the body as fat. Visceral (i.e. ‘belly’) Fat is technically excess intra-abdominal adipose tissue accumulation. In other words, it’s known as a “deep” fat that’s stored further underneath the skin than “subcutaneous” belly fat. It’s a form of gel-like fat that’s actually wrapped around major organs, including the liver, pancreas and kidneys.
If you have a protruding belly and large waist, that’s a clear sign you’re storing dangerous visceral fat. While it’s most noticeable and pronounced in obese individuals, anyone can have visceral fit, many without even knowing about its existence.
Visceral fat is especially dangerous because, as you’ll find out, these fat cells do more than just sit there and cause your pants to feel tight — they also change the way your body operates.
Carrying around excess visceral fat is linked with an increased risk for ALL the medical ailments previously listed. Hence …….
Visceral fat is considered toxic and spells double-trouble in the body because it’s capable of provoking inflammatory pathways, plus signaling molecules that can interfere with the body’s normal hormonal functions. In fact, it acts almost like its very own organ since it’s capable of having such a large impact on the body.
Spotting High-Sugar Foods
Not easy ! This is because it appears in many different guises,such as sucrose, glucose, fructose and honey. Furthermore,Food manufacturers are not required by law to separate added sugars from naturally occurring sugars on a nutrition label.
However, you can find out how much total sugar is in a product by looking for the ‘ carbohydrates (of which sugars) ‘ figure.
Below is a quick reference table :
5 Simple Ways to Eat Less Sugar
To cut out sugar altogether is an unrealistic and quite tortuous goal which is more or less 100% doomed to fail. Instead, it is better to start reducing your sugar consumption in small, realistic stages which will above guarantee you don’t feel deprived of sugar.
- Enjoy full-fat foods IN MODERATION rather than choose their low-fat alternatives which we have already discussed earlier for their hidden sugar characteristics.The full-fat varieties will also taste a lot better in addition to containing less sugar.
- Eat more naturally-occurring healthy fats. Healthy fats found in nuts, avocados and whole eggs work to stabilize blood sugar and keep you fuller longer (meaning you’re less likely to reach for a quick sugar fix when your energy level dips).
- Drink your coffee black. Yes, Mocha Frappuccinos are delicious, but they, like many coffee drinks, are loaded with sugar. It might take a little getting used to, but try to train yourself to drink coffee black–or with a little whole or unsweetened almond milk, if you must. Just stay away from sugar, artificial sweeteners (which come with a host of their own issues) or packaged creamers.
- Learn how to spot secret sugars. As described earlier, familiarize yourself with this list of common aliases (hint: anything with the word “syrup” – remember ?) to ensure you’re not unknowingly eating more of it.
- By spending the majority of your time in the store on its perimeters, where most of the whole foods are, you aren’t subjecting yourself to walking down aisles of cookies and chips and other stuff you probably shouldn’t be eating.
There is no dispute about the fact that Sugar is a huge part of the reason there is such an epidemic of obesity among Americans and also Europeans from the industrialized countries.
Ultimately, cutting out sugar is almost impossible – there are so many foods that contain added sugars and carbohydrates that convert into sugar after we consume them. In addition,there is also no hard and fast rule for the amount that you should consume in the run of a day although the standard recommendation is six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men.
When choosing food, choose options that have the least amount of added sugar to them and eat whole fruits instead of fruit juices because the fiber in the whole fruit will help you break down the sugars in the fruit more effectively.
To get off to a good start, why not …..
- Eliminate table sugar altogether, and if you do use it, use raw sugar which is less processed and healthier, but remember moderation is key!
- Drink water instead of soda and stay away from processed foods whenever and wherever possible to help minimize the effect sugar is going to have on your waistline.