As Culinary Director at NuVista® Living, I am constantly scrutinizing ingredients for their nutritional value and it never ceases to amaze me how prevalent sugar is, even in the foods you think are sugar free.
In the U.S. we consume an average of 2 lbs of sugar every week, a fact that I find truly alarming. So in this weeks ‘Chef Table’ I looked at the best ways to cut unhealthy sugars out of our diets and replace them with healthier alternatives.
Added sugars such as table sugar, honey and syrups, shouldn’t make up more than 5% of the energy you get from food and drink each day. That’s about 28g a day for anyone aged 11 and older.
What Should We Look Out For on the Label?
If you see any of these listed in an ingredient, it means they contain sugar:
Sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, fruit juice, molasses, hydrolysed starch, invert sugar, corn syrup, honey
What is Classed as Low in Sugar?
Anything that contains more than 17.5g of sugar per 100g is considered as being high in sugar. So, like all things nutrition related read the labels so you can understand what you are really putting into your body.
What Can We Do to Reduce Our Sugar Intake?
– Remove sugar and honey from the breakfast table
– Read the labels and if you see anything with high volumes of sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, fruit juice, molasses, hydrolyzed starch, invert sugar, corn syrup or honey, put them back on the shelf
– Go “eau naturelle”, if you normally add sugar to your pancakes, cereals, tea or coffee try stopping. If you can’t stop it entirely, at least reduce the amount you take
– If you crave a snack, reach for some fresh or dried fruit instead of the cookie jar
– If you are used to eating sweetened yogurts, try swapping it for the plain yogurt and add fresh or dried fruit
– Replace sugar in recipes with extracts such as almond, lemon or vanilla
– Take your soda, sugar-free, (if you have to take a soda at all!)
– Don’t be fooled, many of the sauces we see on the shelves of the grocery stores are packed full of sugar! Go for homemade sauces made from fresh ingredients
– Instead of off the shelf salad dressings, go for a classic virgin olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinaigrette you can make yourself
In an attempt to make foods last longer and taste, well tastier, most of the large food manufacturers have turned to sugar as being the answer and while this works for their needs, it certainly doesn’t always work for ours.
Take the time to read the labels and where possible avoid ready-cooked meals and cook your own food with ingredients you can control. Above all try and make the right choices when it comes to eating foods that truly support a healthy and balanced diet.
You don’t need sugar, you are already sweet enough!