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Delete Sneaky Sugar from Your Diet

Delete Sneaky Sugar from Your Diet
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BY MARI S. GOLD

Try a little experiment.  Grab a bag of sugar, a measuring spoon, a plate and a can of regular soda. Then, dump one teaspoon of sugar onto the plate. Repeat nine more times.  What are you looking at? The amount of sugar in one twelve ounce can of soda.  If you are surprised, check the label on the can. Inside lurks about 41 grams of sugar which translates to about ten teaspoonfuls of the stuff.

 “Decreasing or eliminating liquid sources of added sugars makes a lot of sense,” says Lynn Grieger, RD, a health, food and fitness coach in southwestern Vermont and online at www.LynnGrieger.com . In addition to soda, energy and sports beverages as well as fruit juices are high in sugar.

One of the best ways to avoid sneaky sugar is to read the label on the product. But, even that is tricky.  Sugar often masquerades under other guises like syrup, sweetener, honey, fruit juice concentrate and any word ending in “ose.”

According to Greiger, a combination of habit and environment contributes to a higher-than-necessary sugar intake.  If you routinely keep a variety of healthy, good-tasting foods on hand and decrease the sugar-laden foods available, it is easier to change your habits.

When do you reach for sugary foods? Are you bored, angry or under stress?  If you can identify the emotion that leads you to choose a high-sugar food, you are on your way to making a change.

Sugar lurks in many places we don’t suspect including commercial salad dressings, pasta sauces, canned soups and cereals. Learn how to make a simple salad dressing with olive oil, vinegar, a dash of mustard and a little salt and pepper and store it in a jar. Your salads will be healthier, tastier and minus an enormous amount of sugar. If you must have ketchup on certain foods, limit the amount. Crave cereal for breakfast? Some cereals are more than 40 percent sugar and have 12 or more grams of sugar per serving.  Choose old-fashioned ‘real’ oatmeal, (not the kind in packets), or opt for whole grain cold cereal with no more than 25%-30% calories from sugar or slightly more if the cereal contains dried fruit.

Ditch granola and high- sugar protein bars.  For a more nutritious, less expensive pick-me-up, substitute a few tablespoons of nuts and an apple.

If you keep goodies like doughnuts and cookies around for visitors including grandchildren, rethink your plan. An occasional cookie is fine but better to stock your snack larder with fruits and vegetables. Offering fruit to kids is a healthy alternative to sweets and sends a message about enjoying natural, un-processed food.

Have you stopped eating fruit because of the sugar content? Not so fast. Fruit provides essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and other substances that are important for good health. Furthermore, most fruits are both low in calories and filling.

By limiting the amount of added sugar in your diet, you will cut calories and improve your overall nutrition.

Mari S. Gold is a freelance writer for magazines and websites. Much of her work deals with health, food,  travel and relationships. Her food and travel blog, But I Digress… is at www.marigoldonline.net.  She divides her time between New York City and Southern Vermont with her husband and their bi-state cats.

 

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