Oh sweet, sweet sugar! Where do we even begin? You are like a ex boy/girlfriend. I don't want to like you, but can't stay away. You are everywhere I go. I have withdrawals when I am not indulging in your presence. You are sweet, but then make me feel guilty. You have caused me to dislike my body.
I have to admit, I did not realize how similar sugar and relationships were. I was picturing my high school years as I typed the paragraph above. Now it is time to get not so sweet with sugar facts.
The industry of "health" advertising has done a great job of scaring everyone with sugar, while at the same time hiding it. Fruit is apparently bad because it contains sugar, yet an ice cream that only has a few grams but is loaded with artificial sugar is okay!? Not only have we lost our focus on food quality, we also have also been misled on nutrition/ingredient labeling. We take our attention directly to the nutrition numbers and no longer look at the ingredients the product contains. Let's analyze the picture below.
This must be too good to be true. I can have a 1/2 cup of ice cream that is less sugar than 1/2 cup of strawberries! Oh, just wait. Take a look at the ingredient list below.
Here I counted 11 different forms of sugar alternatives, not counting the 3 that were used more than once. While the only 3g of sugars may be enticing to your blood sugar, the laundry list of ingredients is NOT enticing for your body. Don't get me wrong, having this every so often by no means is bad (nor will it cause cancer, for the record); we all love some tasty ice cream with ALL the sugar! If I am having ice cream, I am not getting sugar free. However, products like this are being consumed daily in large amounts in order to cut sugar and calorie consumption down. Most artificial ingredients/sugar contain little to no calories, but still lots of flavor. Products like this gain attention by fad dieters day in and day out.
While I am all about controlling your blood sugar and keeping daily grams to minimum, there are good foods that have sugar. For example, fruit. Fruit is not bad and contains essential vitamins and minerals that the body NEEDS. You can keep it in moderation by sticking to 2-3 servings a day. Yes, I am talking to you too diabetics.
If you are going to opt for something sweet, I urge you to pick the source that is NOT sugar free. At least the calories in the real sugar source will provide a satiating effect, unlike artificial ingredients. Take honey for example. 1 TBS container 60 calories and 17g of sugar. Artificial sweeteners leave you with no calories and no fullness effect. Disclaimer: This is not Nutrition Yoda Jourdan saying, "Crave sugar you do, now have it." Sugar, real or artificial, does have an addicting affect and should much be limited on a healthy diet.
**We will talk about sugar around workouts in a different blog post.
Below is a great list of sugars that you will commonly find on an ingredient label. If buying a product with added sugar, I want you to look at three things:
1. The source in which it is coming from. If I had to choose, I would stick with beet sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, honey, agave, stevia (not a stevia blend) and raw sugar
2. Then look at how much is in it per serving.
3. Where does it fall in line of listed ingredients.
Stay sweet my friends.