The nature of today’s food industry is that sugar hides in the most unexpected of places. It is our responsibility as consumers to be educated and to make wise choices. It might be impossible to cut out sugar completely from our diet, but it is possible to make smarter and healthier choices.
Besides the obvious suspects such as candy, ice cream and cake, here are some surprising high-sugar culprits:
1. Fruit Juice
Yes, that’s right! Fruit juice! Many people think that fruit juice healthy, but it really depends on how it is made. The boxed/bottled juices that line supermarket aisles are extremely high in fructose, even those labeled “No Sugar Added”. The main problem is this - these fruit juices contain a whole lot of sugar but with no fiber. It doesn’t matter if the sugar you drink comes from fizzy drinks, Boost smoothies or fruit juice. Sugar is still sugar.
A 250ml serving of common fruit juice contains just as much sugar as 4 Krispy Kreme donuts. 1
You are far better off eating whole fruits. The fiber slows down sugar absorption, and it is quite impossible to overeat because fruit is very filling.
Roleaf Apple Cinnamon Tea – a refreshing blend of apple, cinnamon, hibiscus and marigold.
Especially the flavored kinds! This so-called “healthy” food is loaded with sugar, coloring and other chemicals.
Alternative: Organic plain yogurt or low fat Greek yogurt. Add your own fresh whole fruit for flavor and sweetness.
3. Refined carbs
E.g. White rice, white bread, pasta, white potatoes. These get converted to sugar as soon as they enter your body.
Alternative: Wholegrain carbs like wholemeal bread, brown rice and beans. These carbs get broken down slowly in the body, so there will be no sudden blood sugar spikes and crashes.
4. Dressings and Sauces
Most mass-produced sauces and dressings often contain high levels of sugar, in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Teriyaki sauce and barbeque sauce has an average of 10 g and 9 g per 2 tbps respectively.
Alternatives: Pure herbs and spices. McCormick and MagicTime sell these in convenient little bottles. Use them to dress your salads or meats instead.
Other helpful tips
- Try dark chocolate as a small treat! It is a fantastic way to get a dose of antioxidants without overloading your body with sugar. Make sure you get 70% and above, and don’t overeat.
- At the mamak, ask for “kurang manis” or “kosong”.
Cutting out sugar is one of the best things you can do for your health. It gets easier when you understand what you are doing and why. The more control you have over your sugar cravings, the more control you have over your life and the quality of your body.