I rarely go to the ‘big box’ pet food stores; but we found ourselves in there recently. It’s what happens when you have two new kittens, I guess. As we approached the check stands, I noticed some open bins of bulk pet food – something I had never seen in a pet store. It caught my eye because it looked like cookies.
What would you say is the worst addiction in America?
- Would you say alcohol abuse?
- What about marijuana or other drug addictions?
- What about sugar addiction?
I LOVE sugar. That sweet, sweet taste is hard to beat, isn’t it? Yet I encourage everyone to watch out for sugar in all of its forms and to also cut it out of your food supply. And, just for the record: I’m not the food police and I’m even known to be caught eating sugar occasionally. I just try to keep it in moderation.
We all know that sugar can be bad – it causes weight gain and can lead to diabetes. But what you really need to know is that sugar is highly inflammatory and is a leading cause of heart disease.
Lately, I’ve been talking about the various sugar substitutes on the market. Most recently I told you about stevia and agave nectar. Recently, I stumbled upon the newest sugar substitute on the block – Nectresse™ – brought to you by the wonderful folks that brought us Splenda®!
It seems that most of the people I know are on a constant search for a healthy, no-calorie sweetener. Rather than give up that sweet taste, they are looking for an alternative to sugar. This post will put stevia under the microscope to see how it shapes up.
This post was inspired by a request from a mom wanting to know how to painlessly cut down sugar in her kid’s diet. The first thing I will say is to tackle this one step at a time. Slowly begin removing sugar sources from the diet, don’t do it all at once!
I’ve written before about some of the reasons to cut back on sugar. You can read them here: Sugar, Sugar Everywhere!
The fact is, we consume way too much sugar. You would probably be surprised at how many foods contain sugar, especially processed foods. Another source is fast food restaurants – which are all processed foods. Check the ingredients list of your favorite fast food restaurant, if you can find it. But you’ll need to know all the names for sugar first because sugar has many names. I’ve created a PDF that lists all the names for sugar.
Here are 5 suggestions for reducing sugar painlessly.
- Go easy on the processed foods. Read labels for hidden sources of sugar.
- Skip the fruit juice and serve whole fruit instead. With juice you get much more sugar because it’s from several pieces of fruit. Plus you lose the benefit the fiber in fruit has in slowing down sugar absorption.
- Serve sweet vegetables: cooked onions, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Read all your labels. Even ketchup has sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Check the list of sugar names.
- Make sweets an occasional treat, not a daily habit.
One more thing, I don’t recommend using sugar substitutes in place of sugar for a number of reasons:
- They really aren’t good for you.
- You’re still eating sweet, which just feeds the addiction.
- They don’t satisfy like sugar so you still have that sweet craving.
As a nation, Americans are addicted to sugar. Estimates are that each one of us consumes over 100 pounds of sugar per year. And it’s really no wonder because it is found in so much of our food today. You expect to find sugar in cakes, cookies and candy. But you can also find it in some canned vegetables, baby food, cereals, peanut butter, bread and tomato sauce. Even some so-called healthy foods contain sugars.
We all know that we shouldn’t consume so much sugar. Sugar has been implicated in obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression, headaches, migraines, and many more illnesses. For a comprehensive list, see Nancy Appleton’s 141 Reasons Sugar Ruins Your Health.
One problem with sugar in foods is that it is often disguised by using some fancy term – such as corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose, fructose, etc. In fact, below you will find a list of the many names of sugar. Read the ingredients on the label of foods you buy to see how many you can find.
Barley Malt Extract
Brown Rice Syrup
Cane juice crystals
Corn syrup solids
Dehydrated Cane Juice
Evaporated Cane Juice
Fruit juice concentrate
High-fructose corn syrup
Photo Courtesy cbgrfx123 via Flickr