It seems today there is a lot of confusion surrounding the good old white sugar…or wait…maybe brown sugar, or sugar in the raw? OOH I must be mistaken for the thing people used before they discovered honey and agave.
Sugar has becoming a complicated issue, with much confusion over differing types, and which ones are the best and worst for your health. This issue has been compounded by the lack of clarity on nutrition facts tables, and differentiation between natural sugars and added sugars.
Natural sugars- natural sugars are what they sound like- the sugars that can be naturally found in food. This could include the lactose naturally found in milk products, or the fructose found in your favourite fruits.
Added sugar- are sugars added to sweeten a product. this could include sucrose (Table sugar). glucose-fructose (another name for high fructose corn syrup), brown sugar, honey, molasses, agave, the list goes on! The c
Without distinguishing, it is challenging for canadians to know how much sugar they are consuming from each source, and therefore difficult to reduce consumption of added sugars . How much lactose are you really consuming in your fruit bottomed yogurt? How much of the sugar in chocolate milk was there before the flavouring was added? And even further by the fact that sugar is allowed to be labelled as “natural” because it occurs in nature even if it was added table sugar.
So as Canadians where does that leave us? Is it a good idea to cut out total sugar intake? USe only natural sugars? What about healthy food items like fruits, sweet vegetables, low fat milk and whole grains?
Though it may sound a little counter intuitive, the answer to the complicated question of reducing added sugars is…..GO SIMPLE! Choose plain unsweetened yogurts, apple sauces, and packaged products with simple ingredients remembering that all sweeteners such as agave, honey, and sugar all break down in the same way!
When enjoying yogurt, choose plain yogurt and sweeten with fruit, honey or maple syrup. This allows you greater control over the sweetness.
Choose plain oats, or a whole grain cereal without sugar in the first five ingredients for breakfast and add your own unsweetened cocoa powder to milk for chocolately goodness without the added sugars!
The fact is, sugar and carbohydrates are found in many healthy food items, so rather than eliminating them all, maximize your intake of fruits, whole grains and low fat milk products to achieve your carbohydrate requirements for the day.