We already know that processed sugar is the enemy, but what makes it so hard to give up?
There are a couple of reasons why sugar is such a hard habit to kick.
For starters, it can be more addictive than some illegal drugs.
Another reason it’s so hard to rid our lives of this sweet seduction is because of all the weird places sugar hides.
Let’s examine 5 places where you would never expect to find sugar lurking.
Without a doubt, the low fat craze of the last few decades has really made a mess out of things. What started out as a good intention really has made a mess of our American Diet.
When the fat is sucked out of food, something has to be added in so we can tolerate the bland, tasteless Franken-food that’s supposed to be good for us.
Sodium is one of the additives, but so is sugar, and plenty of it.
Do this simple, eye opening exercise the next time you’re in the kitchen or grocery store. Grab a bottle of any low-fat salad dressing and read the list of ingredients.
Remember that the list is ordered by amounts from most to least. If you see anything like sugar or high fructose corn syrup in the first few ingredients, put it back on the shelf.
Don’t despair, however. It’s pretty easy to fix this one.
Ditch the store bought variety and make your own!
Try this simple recipe for a healthy, tasty treat.
Pasta is one of my all-time favorite meals. Lately I’ve switched over to whole wheat pasta because I like the taste and texture better, and I’m still enjoying it.
One of my pet peeves, however, is pasta sauce. The sauce makes the whole meal, if you ask me.
I’ve done my time with jarred sauces of all varieties, and to tell you the truth, I’m pretty much over that now.
When I started to eliminate as much processed sugar from my life as possible, this is one of the areas that hurt and surprised me the most.
I think we all know that the sodium in this type of packaged food is through the roof, but I was surprised to find out how much sugar is in some of the jarred pasta sauces I was buying.
In some cases there are 11 grams or more of added sugar, and please remember that this means PER SERVING.
The typical serving size is 1/2 cup, and a typical serving size for ME is well over a cup, so that means along with my pasta, which is already carbohydrate-dense, I was getting over 6 teaspoons of added sugar, without really realizing it!
Fortunately this is easy to fix, and homemade sauce can be every bit as delicious as the store bought variety.
And just think of the good you’ll be doing your body!
Try this easy and quick recipe the next time enjoy pasta.
Time out for a quick, informative video. Great information here!
Who among us doesn’t love convenience? We’re all addicted to speed these days, and anything that can save us a little time is obviously a plus.
Because of that, we keep looking for ways to save time on everything we do; commuting, working out, sacrificing sleep, and even mealtimes.
In my opinion this can be a bit of a disaster where your health is concerned. Shortcuts for meals usually mean hastily dialing takeout or cruising through the fast food drive-thru on the way to and from work.
In other words, a recipe for disaster!
The same is true with the convenience of prepackaged foods, and what I want to talk about specifically is breakfast items.
Let’s start with one of my favorites, yogurt.
I love yogurt and I eat it almost every day.
I used to eat the hell out of some of those famous brands, you know the ones, with the fruit already inside.
It’s really yummy, I have to admit, and tastes almost like eating ice cream for breakfast.
Who wouldn’t want that?!
As I started to become more aware of where sugar hides, I did a little research on my favorite yogurt.
What I discovered was shocking.
It had more added sugar than a Twinkie!
Seriously, yogurt can be a real sugar bomb. And the fruit-on-the-bottom variety, with all the syrupy goodness, is the worst offender.
Some of them have as many as 26 grams of sugar, and although a portion of that is naturally occurring sugars from the lactose in yogurt, it’s totally unacceptable to start your day with this type of sugar rush.
Fortunately it’s a quick and easy fix.
Switch to Greek yogurt, which has lower sugar content, and also cut up your own fruit to toss in.
Strawberries, blueberries, mango, grapes, and just about any fresh fruit you can think of will make a great addition to your morning yogurt, and will be a much healthier alternative for you.
Start your day off on the right foot and trim added sugar from your breakfast.
Almost any type of canned food, and especially canned soups, are known for having high sodium content.
What most people don’t realize, however, is that plenty of these conveniently packaged soups also have added sugar, and it counts towards your daily recommended limit.
As we touched on before, these products fall into the category of fast and convenient, but that doesn’t always mean better for you.
What I found disturbing is foods that are advertised as “convenient” don’t always make the best choices for optimum nutrition.
Like this, for example.
I think we all grew up on good old fashioned Campbell’s soup. I know it was a staple in our pantry during my formative years.
I can recall it being a tasty treat that was very easy to break open and heat up.
But we really pay for that convenience, don’t we?
If you followed that link above, you probably noticed the nutrition facts associated with this soup.
It’s hard to imagine that it contains 20 grams of sugar.
That’s 5 teaspoons, and it flies under the radar for most of us.
There are two points I’d like to make regarding this example.
1. If you’re going to rely on the convenience of packaged foods, be sure to read the label carefully. It pays to become acquainted with the sugar aliases and lingo manufacturers are using these days. And remember that the amounts for each ingredient are PER SERVING, and it’s difficult to limit yourself to just one serving sometimes.
2. Why not make your own soup? You can prepare a huge batch and freeze containers of it so all that’s required is thawing and heating. That’s convenient for both lunches at work and also last minute dinner ideas.
Here’s a great, healthy recipe that takes no time to whip up, and it’s economical and tasty, too!
People are hooked on fancy coffee drinks these days, and why not? Even though they can be a bit pricey, they are trendy, tasty, and ubiquitous.
They also seem to be a part of everyone’s morning routine, and I admit that they once had a place in mine.
Until I started eliminating hidden sugar, that is.
I’ll use a few examples here.
One of my favorite coffee places is Dunkin Donuts, and I’ve had more than my share of beverages of all types from them over the years.
Like all great companies these days, they publish their nutritional information online.
For instance, check out this page for their Frozen Butter Pecan Swirl Coffee Coolatta®
It clocks in at almost 1000 calories and a shocking 128 grams of sugar! And remember, 4 grams of sugar are equal to 1 teaspoon.
I’ll do the math for you – that’s 32 teaspoons!
No wonder it tastes so great!
How about another favorite of mine, Starbucks®.
One of their White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino® coffees has 67 grams of sugar.
Again, the math, even though it’s not my strong suit, breaks down to almost 17 grams of sugar in this one drink.
Either of these will put you way over your limit for the day.
To be fair, these companies have drinks that don’t have nearly as much sugar as the ones we’ve highlighted here, but they aren’t nearly as sexy, are they?
The solution for this would be to make your own coffee before leaving the house so you’re not tempted by any of these tasty treats.
You’ll be saving plenty of money and plenty of empty calories.
Remember that you can look up almost any type of restaurant or fast food nutritional information online so you can be better educated about what’s going in your body.
We’ve really just scratched the surface here, but I hope it’s opened your eyes a bit about where sugar can be lurking in your everyday routine.
The more armed you are with knowledge, the better prepared you’ll be to make better decisions about what type of nutritional path you’ll take.
To your optimum health!
Ted is a writer and avid researcher on the subject of nutrition and general wellness. He has recently published books on Sugar Detox as well as the inflammation epidemic, and continues to improve his knowledge by constantly remaining up to date with the latest news and trends in the nutrition world. When not busy writing, you can find him playing banjo and guitar, or outside fishing.