These days, sugar is everywhere. So why should we pay attention to sugar intake? By maintaining a low blood sugar level, you maintain low insulin levels. Insulin is the major regulator of metabolism and by controlling insulin you stop fat from being stored, lose weight, allow fat to be utilized as fuel, improve your blood lipid profile, increase energy, reduce hunger, reduce risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and most importantly reduce inflammation that leads to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, cancer. When we eat any type of carbohydrate it is converted by the body to glucose which stimulates insulin to be released. It doesn’t matter whether it is a fizzy drink, sweets, table sugar or a complex carbohydrate such as wholegrain bread, pasta, rice or potatoes. It also doesn’t matter if it is ‘natural’ or ‘processed’. Honey, raw sugar, medjool dates, fruit etc all raise your blood glucose levels equally as processed sugars. So if we want to really read and understand labels so we can avoid sugar, we need to know how to identify the hidden sugars.
Food manufacturers are getting savvy, knowing if sugar is high on their ingredient list, their product isn’t going to fly off the shelf. Instead, they disguise it under other names for sugar. Secondly, they use multiple versions of sugar. Ingredients are listed in order of the quantity present in that product so to make them as far down the list as possible, they use multiple types of sugar and suddenly each type of sugar is individually smaller and will now appear further down the ingredient list, giving consumers the impression sugar is no longer the number 1 ingredient. So watch out for all the names of sugar and look at the nutrition label for total sugar per serving as well as the ingredient list.
Also don’t be fooled by “no added sugars” which means it may still be high with naturally occurring sugars or “refined sugar free” (generally means it’s packed with coconut sugar, dried fruit or some other sugar). Sugar is sugar no matter what you call it!
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