Tips for reducing the Hidden Sugar in your diet

By: JonRPatrick | Posted: 23rd December 2009

Sugar has a well earned reputation for being 'bad', and unfortunately for most of us, it's use in drinks and processed foods keeps it's impact on our health hidden from us.

But, with a little knowledge, we can help protect ourselves, our health, and our diets from it.

First, how does sugar impact us. I'm ashamed to admit, Dr. Adkins book provides the best and clearest explanation for us. In short, when you eat a food, the sugar (in whatever form) is absorbed into the blood stream. The body detects this, and releases insulin. This not only helps the body to process the sugars, but also triggers the production and storage of fat.

See the problem?!

Now, with normal foods, the sugar release is controlled by fats and, more specifically, fiber - providing a slow and steady release of sugars as blood glucose.

When we eat candy bars, etc., there is no fiber to 'control' the release, so the sugars are basically 'dumped' into the bloodstream.
Your body is not made to handle this, so it over compensates with insulin. This eats through the glucose, however, because there is too much insulin, you now begin to crave even more sugar. Thus, when you snack on a candy bar or similar, after the initial rush, you end up hungrier than before!

But more often than not, when we're watching our health, we're not eating candy. Our problem is more hidden. drinks - seriously, next time you grab for a Gatorade or similar, look at the sugar and carb content. You'll be shocked. You might as well be drinking sugar water, and you're loading up on carbs in the process! Switch to water, or water you flavor yourself with lemon, etc. and save yourself hundreds of calories a day! Oh, and don't forget that frequently on the labels, you're reading the 'per serving' quantities, and often 1 bottle is much more than a single serving.

2.Granola bars - eating these as a snack or meal substitute? Check out the label. This 'health food' is loaded with sugar. If you really need these (as I use them after biking), buy with the lowest sugar content you can find, and/or switch to a product like the Adkins Advantage bars

3.Salad Dressings - acetic acid (like in pickles) helps you feel full and crave empty carbs less. Most salad dressings are loaded with sugars to make them more desirable and encourage you to use more. Switch to a vinaigrette and get the benefits of lower sugar AND a natural option to help you feel more full.

4.Pastas and white bread - this is frequently mentioned everywhere, but it bears repeating. White flour has most of it's natural fiber removed, and thus has the same effect on your bloodstream as pure sugar (broadly speaking). Use whole-grain and give yourself a fighting chance!

5.French Fries - duh. Should be obvious, but why? Turns out, when you take a starchy product, like a potatoe, and fry it, it converts to a sugar. Wanna know why people crave french fries so much? Because it has the same effect on their body as eating pure sugar sticks!

6.Canned goods - we all get in a rush and grab canned veggies. Again, check the labels and you'll be shocked at the sugar content in most - they're packed and loaded with sugar to help them taste good after the factory process. Take the few extra minutes to use fresh veggies and you'll be eating the way nature intended.

With a little knowledge, and a bit of self-control, you can remove some of the hidden sources of sugar in your diet and help your body stay in balance and in peak fat-burning mode!

If you'd like to find out more about how people have successfully changed their lives and their bodies, check out my FREE blog on Healthy Weight Loss Diets:

Jon Patrick
Engineer, Husband, Father, Lover
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Tags: little knowledge, sugars, fats, carbs, blood glucose, bloodstream, health food, blood stream, candy bar, insulin, processed foods, candy bars, snack, energy drinks, sugar water