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Hidden Sugar – How It’s Disguised And It’s Many Pseudonyms
When you start to analyse the typical diet of someone living in the Western World, the amount of sugar which is being consumed is staggering! A lot of them are hidden sugar – it’s not always easy to spot which foods contain them. If your goal is fat (weight) loss then you need to be able to control both the amount of sugar and when you have it.
Unfortunately, food manufacturers have taken to increasingly devious means to hide sugar under a variety of different names. Would most people know that agave nectar was a sugar? I suspect not, or how about hydrolyzed starch! Again, I suspect very few. So it’s no surprise that a lot of people are ingesting hidden sugars without even realising it. With a typical Western diet high in processed simple carbohydrates it’s easy for an average person to consume around the equivalent of 45-50 teaspoons of sugar per day! I am sure even the biggest ‘sugar junkies’ would consider this in-appropriate if a bag of the white stuff and a teaspoon were laid out before them each day.
So, how do we spot the hidden sugar, well here are some of the other names that sugar can hide behind:-
- Maple sugar
- High fructose corn sweetener
- Sugar beets
- Agave nectar
- Cane sugar
- Corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Hydrolyzed starch
And there are more…
An example of how easy it is to overeat sugars
Some typical everyday foods and the sugar teaspoon contents they can contain:-
- 2 slices of bread = 3 teaspoons
- 1 bowl of typical cereal = 4-5 teaspoons
- 1 can of soft drink = 9 teaspoons
- 1 bowl of ice cream = 20 teaspoons
- 1/2 cup of fruit juice = 3-4 teaspoons.
How to avoid eating hidden sugar
So a first step would be to check the ingredients list for any product you are considering purchasing. If you spot any of the above hidden sugar (s) in the list, consider how much of the end product it actually makes up i.e. where on the list is it sitting. If it’s toward the end you may find that acceptable. If it’s one of the first ingredients you may want to consider an alternative product.
Secondly, you can review the nutrition label on the food and specifically check the amount of carbohydrate that you will be getting. If it seems high (typically classified as greater than 22g per 100g) – it’s due to the sugars, whether they are natural or have been added. A key point to remember is that both natural and added sugars will both result in your blood sugar levels being elevated from ingesting it. Bear this in mind when thinking of supposedly healthy items such as pure fruit juicies etc.
Alternatives to sugar
There are now a number of natural alternatives to sugar. If you want to sweeten up any dish you are preparing the preferable options would be to use Truvia or Stevia – both natural sweeteners that do not have an impact on insulin levels.
Can I never have sugar again?
Now, depending on your dietary goals, taking in a certain level of sugar may not be completely off limits. Your nutritional coach will recommend the best strategy for your intake of carbohydrates and sugars as part of your overall FoodTheFacts nutritional plan. This will be in line with getting you to your overall goal.