Replacing Hidden Sugar in Your Diet
In a bid to cut down on sugar, we dutifully avoid sweets, candies, cakes and biscuits. However, we overlook the fact that most packaged and processed foods are chock-full of various added sugars -that includes savoury items like sauces, crackers and bread. This is because sugar is used both as a preservative and as a feel-good factor to keep us coming back for more.
Here’s a list of common foods that might be housing unhealthy amounts of hidden sugar.
1. Flavoured Dairy and Faux Dairy
Yogurt and milk might seem like healthy foods because of their calcium and protein content. However, flavoured yogurt and milk and even flavoured non-dairy milk is packed with sugar. It’s best to skip these altogether, choose the plain versions and flavour them at home by adding some fresh & seasonal fruits like mango and strawberries
2. Instant Breakfast Cereals
We know that cereals targeted towards kids are extremely high on sugar. However, even the ones that seem low on sugar and the ones marketed as healthy have more sugar than you would want to consume. Instead you could have plain oats with a bowl of milk and add some fresh fruits and healthy nuts. You can also add some dates for sweetness.
3. Soft Drinks
You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that your favourite juices, sodas and colas contain unhealthy levels of added sugar. After all, it’s quite apparent from the taste itself. However, most sports drinks and energy drinks are not only high on caffeine but heavy on sugar too. If you’re looking for refreshment, choose a glass of chilled water or a homemade juice instead. You can also try infused water by infusing fruits/ veggies of your choice like watermelon, mint leaves, lime and lemon slices, celery, cucumber slices.
4. Dry Fruits
Natural fruit sugars are healthier than the usual sucrose. You can use fruit as a sweetener for desserts or smoothies. You could even try roasting or grilling fruit for a healthy dessert option as this brings out their natural sweetness. But remember, fruit sugars can be bad for you too when had in excess. It is also worth noting that due to the removal of water, dry fruits contain more sugar by volume than fresh fruit.
The fact that there’s sugar in chocolate is far from a secret. However, this is for those who simply wouldn’t dream of cutting out chocolate from their diets. Swap out white chocolate and milk chocolate for dark chocolate. Its sugar content is much lower - rich in antioxidants and in controlled portions, it can even help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Excessive consumption of sugar has been related to obesity, type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Remember to check the nutrition labels of food when shopping and be on the lookout for terms like corn syrup, corn sweetener, dextrose, maltose and molasses. While jaggery is a more nutritious option than white sugar, it is still high on calories and on the glycaemic index. Raw honey falls relatively lower on the glycaemic index and is a good alternative. If you’re trying to cut down your sugar intake,Tata NX Zero Sugar is a healthy substitute. It is made from 100% natural ingredients including stevia herb extract. Reduce sugar, not sweetness!
- What are the health benefits of dark chocolate? [Medical News Today]
- The Nutrition Source [Harvard]
- Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy. [NCBI]
- Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. [NCBI]
- The relationship of sugar to population-level diabetes prevalence: an econometric analysis of repeated cross-sectional data.[NCBI]
- Sugar, meat, and fat intake, and non-dietary risk factors for colon cancer incidence in Iowa women (United States) [NCBI]
- Dietary sugar and colon cancer.[NCBI]
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