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Sugar has virtually no nutritional value, yet it is added to thousands of products. According to the University of California San Francisco, added sugar is present in 74% of the packaged foods in your grocery store. This isn’t just added sugar in obvious places like puddings or ice cream. Added sugar is present in breads, ketchup, yogurt, and even the organic salsa at my favorite grocery store. Many people are consuming far more sugar than they think they are because a large portion of the sugar is hidden.
“Healthy” Foods Still Have Sugar
Even products which are marketed as being healthier aren’t immune from this phenomenon. I recently picked up a box of Almond and Coconut Fruit Nut bars at my local Aldi, only to find that cane sugar was the second ingredient. You could argue that cane sugar might be better than its GMO counterparts, but cane sugar still spikes the blood sugar. When a person’s blood sugar spikes and crashes repeatedly, insulin resistance can develop.
Insulin Resistance Causes Health Problems
Insulin resistance is a condition that tends to lead to type 2 diabetes. Scientists have not established the precise cause of insulin resistance, but we know that lifestyle factors may help. What we do know is that being insulin resistant makes it more difficult for your body to maintain normal levels of glucose and insulin on its own. For a better and more scientific explanation, see this article from the National Institute of Diabetes and and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Please keep in mind that I’m not a medical professional. 🙂
Check Your Labels!
Label reading isn’t just for people with allergies. The ingredients are listed in order of amount from greatest to least. Therefore, if sugar is the second ingredient, it’s likely that there is a substantial amount of sugar in the food. Nutrition labels also list the number of grams of sugar per serving. Personally, I don’t stress out if it’s only 1 gram per serving.
Sugar goes by many names – and none of them are really great for you. There are at least 61 different names for sugar that appear on food labels. Some of the most common are sucrose, high fructose corn syrup (check out your labels – this is in everything!), dextrose, and maltodextrin.
In the 1980s, eating a low-fat diet became popular. Many packaged low-fat products became available, such as yogurt. However, removing the fat tends to leave the food with a worse taste than its full-fat counterpart. In response, food manufacturers began putting more added sugar in the low-fat versions of food. It’s understandable, but now we have products like Yoplait original strawberry yogurt, which has almost no fat…but 26 grams of sugar in a 6 ounce container. That’s more grams than a Twinkie.
We are not called to live with a spirit of fear, but we are called to be discerning. I don’t believe that there is any one diet that is perfect for all people. Someone who is active and has a high metabolism like my husband needs more carbs than someone who is diabetic can handle. Even so, most people benefit from lowering the amount of sugar in their diet. I hope this information has been helpful!