We all know that added sugar shows up in desserts like cookies and cakes, but what we may not realize is that sugar is also found in many other kinds of daily foods, such as bread, salad dressing, and pasta sauce. Some foods, like protein bars and energy drinks, are promoted as "natural" or "healthy" while being laden with added sugars. Talk about adding to our confusion! Even if we believe we are eating “healthy” it’s possible we are consuming a lot more added sugar than we think. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food producers to list all ingredients in their foods, but sugar comes in many forms – which is why it's so hard to find on the ingredients label and hidden sugars becomes dangerous.
Hidden in Plain Sight
There are at least 61 different names for sugar listed on food labels, and without knowing and understanding the ingredients, we may miss the sugars that are hiding in foods that are supposed to be healthy. Sugars like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup are very common in cereals and breakfast foods but can actually stimulate your appetite, causing you to overeat. Energy bars and yogurt that are made with "real fruit" may be full of sweeteners. Certainly, some of the sugar is naturally occurring, but we also need to be aware of the amount that has been added. When sugars are hidden unrecognizably in most packaged foods, it becomes a difficult to make healthy choices.
Making our healthy food decisions depends upon having complete information on the food label. Manufacturers are not required to say whether the total sugar content listed on the product label includes added sugar, making it more difficult to determine how much of it comes from added sugar and how much is naturally occurring in ingredients such as fruit. No wonder it seems very difficult to account for how much added sugar we're consuming. And unlike fats and salt that are added to foods, there are no daily reference values for added sugar!
Tackle the Sugar Craving
Sugar is quite addicting, and we tend to crave sweet things. An easy choice is sugar alternatives for low-carb and keto diets, which can impact your health in meaningful ways. For example, switching to stevia or monk fruit sweetener can cut back on the extra calories, sugar, and carbs that go into our body. Another way to tackle the sugar craving is ensuring that you are well hydrated, as it is easy to mistake thirst for hunger. Whenever we are craving sweets or feel like snacking out of boredom, we need to try taking a drink of water instead. Bala Enzyme, while having zero sugar, can provide a needed sweetness to satisfy the sugar craving while keeping you well-hydrated with electrolytes. Staying hydrated can help with a feeling of fullness and increasing our level of overall wellbeing.
Now that you are armed with new knowledge about the dangers of hidden sugar, we recommend that you take a deep dive into the foods you currently have and make adjustments to your next trip to the grocery store. It is always best to speak to a certified nutritionist or dietician if you need help removing excess sugar from your diet.