No Added Sugar – Middle of the Month – Challenge of The Month

More Facts on Sugar

In the last few weeks I have watched some insightful TED talks, youtube videos and read articles. Some of those that I want to mention are Laura Schmidt’s TED talk Why we can’t stop eating unhealthy foods in TEDMED, Sugar is Not a Treat by Dr. Jody Stanislaw in TEDxSunValley and also Secondary Sugar Kills by Laurent Adamowicz in TEDxYouth@BeaconStreet. All of these had good points and made me think about the food industry.

First thing that I would like to mention is the 80:20 rule that is a recommended way of eating sugars. This means, as Stanislaw mentioned in her TED talk, to consume 80 percent wholesome foods and for the 20 percent to have sugars and redefined carbs. I learned that the recommended amount of added sugar is 6 teaspoons in a day for the ages 2-19 children and women and for the men the daily limit is 9 teaspoons (in these limitations the natural sugars are not included).

And secondly, highly refined carbohydrates spikes up your insulin which is almost as bad for you as added sugars. This overworks your beta cells by alarming the insulin to use the sugars for liver, muscles or store them as fat. When the beta cells are overworked too much, it can cause pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

As we know, breakfast is one of the most important meals in the day. It’s better to start the day with protein or wholesome foods, e.g. eggs, oats, fruits, peanut butter or nuts. This will not only secure even blood sugar levels, but also you feel fuller for longer.

Banana Protein Shake
Banana Protein Shake for an easy breakfast. Check out the post!

Hidden sugars

Even more sugars are added to our foods and the consumer might not even realize it. These added sugars might be listed as unfamiliar words that normal consumer might not know. Food industry has been developing ingredients and processes to reflect to the future requirements. I think overall development is good but it comes with the negative. The food industry has overly engineered some foods and processes that makes the consumer to buy products over and over again.

As Schmidt mentioned in her TED talk, we can all change things with little effort. We could e.g. change the food marketing so that celebrities endorse more healthier choices, increase taxes for certain products and put unhealthy products to higher on the shelves (out of kids immediate eyesight).

Also Adamowicz mentioned that the low-fat foods are not any better. Sure they have lowered the fats, but it doesn’t taste good when all the flavoring has been taken out. So to make it tasty again they will add sugar to the products. I have known this for years and because of that I refuse to buy low-fat products. Something that was surprising and I haven’t even thought about was that gluten-free and organic products can often times have more sugar than the regular product.

Adamowicz suggested to add warning labels to the products that contains added sugar as you see in e.g. tobacco packaging. And adversely to add a green label for products that don’t contain any added sugars. What do you think about this warning and green label method? Could this be something that food industry could adapt?

Picture from Flickr by Melanie Tata.

Nutritional facts labels

Traffic light system in foods are used in e.g. UK to inform the customer about the nutritional facts. This system is great to get information about the product at first glance. Multiple products does have these nutritional information labels displayed in front of the package but the problem is that it might not draw the eye.

Other problem is giving the per portion facts, often times the portion size can be too small of a size. Who eats 6 pieces of chips or half a can of soup? – No one! Some products have traffic light label in the back of the package which isn’t in a visible place. You know the situation when you are in a hurry and you just get the product that looks best or that you are used to. When these nutrition fact labels are well displayed, you can make a better choice.

Wikimedia Commons

Challenge checkup – middle of the month

So it’s middle of the challenge and I’m still committed to this challenge. I have had some set packs and also victories. I learned so much more about sugar and found out that so many products contain added sugar in multiple forms. It feels as if every product in the grocery store has some kind of sugar.


Setbacks

I was in the grocery store and wanted to buy some cold cuts without added sugars. There are so many different cold cuts and I was in a bit hurry. I came across to one that at the first glance looked good, I bought it and at home I read the ingredients list again. Unfortunately it contained maltodextrin which is a carbohydrate and can be listed as an added sugar. Naturally I stopped consuming it and gave it to my hubby. 😆 It’s interesting to see that companies use these complex ingredients and other sugars that are hidden to our foods.

Another minor setback was that I had half of a mug of mulled wine! 🤫 I couldn’t resist and it has 3 teaspoons of sugar in 1 dl. That’s a lot sugar for that amount!


Victories

I noticed that I have had more energy and felt better during the day. I have enjoyed more fresh fruits or my lemon & ginger tea when I crave something sweet. Also my water intake for this month has been way better. I have been trying some recipes without sugar, e.g. I did waffle batter without sugar and it worked well. And as the Holiday season in upon us, I would love to try to create gingerbread cookies with little less sugar. This has been interesting so far and not too hard to manage. Something that I would love to find is cold cuts and ketchup that doesn’t contain added sugar.


 

Hope you have piqued your interest in sugar and refined carbohydrates. Have you any tips for reducing added sugars? Comment below! 🤓

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