The Blog

General Health and Wellness | May 27, 2015

You’re Sweet Enough Already (Without all the Sugar)!

Sugar was a rare find in pre-modern times, and now it’s nearly impossible to avoid. It’s no wonder sugar consumption has skyrocketed over the years, and with it, the prevalence of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Depression has even been linked to the overconsumption of refined sugar, and according to brain scan studies, sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Need more convincing? This infographic should do the trick.

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Most food and beverage labels aren’t helping us detect added sugar, they’re hurting us by purposefully masking it. For example, you’ve heard that cutting sugary drinks out of your diet is the best place to start, and we totally agree. The tricky thing is, this doesn’t just mean soda. It means sports drinks, juices, and even many smoothies labeled ‘natural’ and ‘made with real fruit’.

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Giving up sugar completely is unrealistic for most of us, so here are some tips to avoid sugar when you can:

  1. Sugar is hidden in many foods and drinks that are not as obvious, such as ketchup, salad dressing, pasta sauce, orange juice, cereal, granola bars, even our toothpaste. Adopt the habit of comparing labels for grams of sugar in addition to calories, sodium and calories from fat, and be especially wary of processed sugars and high-fructose corn syrup:

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2. Be skeptical of labels that say “no sugar added” and “fat-free”. A product with no added sugar can still contain a large amount. The low-fat or fat-free label can be misleading, because the lack of fat is often compromised by high amounts of sugar instead. Reduced-fat peanut butter, for example, often has more sugar and sodium added to compensate, so your best defense is to look at calories from fat, sodium and sugar on nutrition labels, and to go with the brand with the least added ingredients (the shorter the list, the more natural it truly is).

3. When you have a sugar craving, reach for a piece of fruit, raw almonds, or a plain yogurt with a little bit of honey added. In other words, go for the foods that are naturally sweet, like you!

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