Have you been thinking about going sugar free?
Cutting out refined sugar is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. That high you get when you initially consume sugar is caused by a sudden release in dopamine making you feel great…but the effects on your body aren’t quite as satisfying.
With long term sugar consumption your initial dopamine high soon diminishes. Much like drug addicts, over time it takes a higher dose to reap the same rewarding sensations. Without it, you’ll notice a change in mood. You’ve become addicted.
Studies have linked high sugar consumption to weight gain, a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease, type II diabetes, an increase in bad cholesterol.
Fructose is especially harmful as it metabolizes in the liver and in excess can lead to non alcoholic fatty liver disease. In some cases this increases your risk of heart disease.
On the bright side, your decision to go sugar free will increase your energy, and enhance your quality of life, making you happier and healthier than you’ve felt in years (you may even lose a few pounds too). It may take a bit of hard work, but it’ll be worth it.
When choosing to go sugar free, don’t let your good efforts go to waste. Be aware of these healthy foods that have high amounts of hidden sugar. For a general guideline, it’s recommended you consume 25 grams of sugar or less in your day.
These 7 healthy foods have hidden sugar – so make sure to avoid them in your sugar free plan!
1) Tomato Sauce
It’s the staple of your spaghetti sauce and a must-add to your chilli but many tomato sauces can be packed full of sugar .One cup can yield 13 grams of sugar.That’s over half your daily recommended limit.
Luckily not all tomato sauces are equal. Take a close look at your brand’s ingredients. If sugar is in the first three ingredients on your label, then find another brand.
2) High Fibre Muffins
When you hear the words “high fibre” understandably you think it’s a healthy choice, but a high fibre muffin can hold up to 29 grams of sugar.
If you’re in a bind and coffee shops or take out restaurants are your only choice, pick half a bagel instead. While bagels have been getting a bad rap for being calorie dense, one serving (1/2 bagel) yields only 122 calories and 3 grams of sugar. When comparing that to your muffin, it’s by far the better choice.
3) Canned Soups
Most tomato soups should be avoided. One can of tomato soup has has 25 grams of sugar. that’s your entire recommended limit for one day. When possible choose vegetable only soups. One bowl still holds about 30 percent of your daily sugar limit, but it beats tomato soup every time.
4) Vegetable/ Fruit Infusion Juices
If you hate the taste of vegetables but your trying to be healthy, you may have opted for a vegetable/fruit infusion to mask the taste. But is it better to go without instead?
One vegetable/fruit cocktail holds 25 grams of sugar. While the sugar comes from natural fruits, the fibre is stripped away leaving you vulnerable to sugar overload. Also, many cocktails add extra sugar for taste.
So what should you do? Make your own veggie/fruit smoothie. Home made smoothies include the skin and/or pulp of your fruits and veggies, turning a high sugar drink into a lower glycemic, nutrient dense cocktail. You still won’t know your eating your vegetables.
5) Dairy-Free Products(i.e soy milk, almond milk)
If you’ve swapped out dairy for a non-milk alternative make sure your dairy-free option is low in sugar. Flavoured dairy-free options such as Vanilla almond milk tend to be popular choices as they hide the bland taste of their not so sweet counterpart. Yet one glass can hold up to 13 grams of sugar.
If you don’t have time to make your own almond milk, choose unflavoured alternatives. Always read labels as some brands contain only high sugar options.
6) Balsamic Vinegar
It’s one of the main types of vinegar you put on your healthy salad and probably one of the first healthy condiments you’d choose when you go sugar-free, but not all balsamic vinegars are low in sugar. While healthier options only contain 4 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons, others contain as much as 5-7 grams for the same quantity.
If you’re looking for an easy to prepare oil and vinegar dressing, use red wine vinegar instead. Most red wine vinegars contain zero grams of sugar. Now that’s hard to beat.
7) Fat Free Milk Products
When delicious fats are taken out of your food items, something else has to replace the good taste. Sugar often replaces fat in your fat-free milk products. Instead of going fat-free, choose 2 percent milk or greater. It’s better to watch your portion sizes with full fat than unintentionally eat large amounts of sugar.
Bonus: Breakfast Cereal
Your easy to prepare healthy breakfast option has the potential to hide an astonishing amount of sugar. Some of the most popular healthy cereal brands are just as bad as the unhealthy alternatives. Take Raisin bran It contains 18 grams of sugar per one cup serving.
When opting for a healthy cereal, choose 8 grams of sugar or less. Most unflavoured oatmeal still fits this profile and provide slow releasing carbohydrate energy for your busy morning.
Not all healthy alternatives are bad for you.
All it takes is a few seconds to read labels,ask questions and stay informed.