You may not be eating Oreos by the roll or guzzling cans of Coke, but that doesn’t mean sugar’s absent from your diet. You’re likely eating sugar throughout the day without even realizing it, says Amari Thomsen, RD, owner of Chicago-based nutrition consulting practice Eat Chic Chicago. Sugar is added to foods that don’t even taste all that sweet, like breads, condiments, and sauces. And it adds up: although the American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day (or about 100 calories), most of us take in double that. (One note: we’re talking about added sugar, not the naturally occurring sugars found in dairy and fruit.) A high-sugar diet boosts your odds of tooth decay, heart disease, and diabetes, not to mention weight gain. Slash your sugar intake now with these 10 expert tips
You’ll quickly realize just how often sugar is added to foods when you look for it on ingredients lists. “Even things that you don’t think are sweet, like tomato sauce, crackers, condiments, and salad dressings can be packed with sugar,” says Diane Sanfilippo, certified nutrition consultant and author of The 21 Day Sugar Detox. Ingredients are listed in order of how much exists in the product, so if sugar’s near the top, that’s a red flag.
When you read food labels, you’ll need to look for more than just the word “sugar.” Sugar hides under several sneaky names, including high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose (or any word ending in “-ose”), brown rice syrup, honey, and maple syrup. These can be listed separately on ingredients lists, so many foods, even seemingly healthy ones like yogurt and cereal, may contain three or four different types of sweetener. If several sugars appear on the label, it’s an indication that the food is less healthy than you may think.
Once you know where sugar hides, you can start making changes. One strategy: buy foods labeled “no added sugar” or “unsweetened.” You’ll find unsweetened versions of these common foods in most grocery stories: non-dairy milk like almond and soy, nut butters (look for those made with only nuts and salt), applesauce, oatmeal, and canned fruit (they should be packed in juice—not syrup).
Going cold turkey on sugar isn’t realistic for most people. Thomsen suggests cutting back slowly. If you normally put two packets of sugar in your coffee, for instance, try one for a week, then half, and finally add only a splash of milk. For your yogurt, mix half a serving of sweetened yogurt with half a serving of plain, and eventually move on to adding natural sweetness with fresh fruit.
Unhealthy carbs loaded with sugar can cause blood sugar to rise rapidly (and dive just as quickly, leaving you hungry again). To minimize this rapid rise and fall, pair protein, healthy fats, and fiber with your meal, all of which can slow down the release of blood sugar in your body and keep you full for longer. (At breakfast, that means adding almonds to your usual oatmeal or pairing eggs with your morning toast, and for your midday snack, a slice of turkey breast or cheese along with your apple, suggests Thomsen.) Fats are a key player because they help keep you fuller for longer, thus helping to decrease your desire for sugar, adds Sanfilippo. Focus on fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy oils like olive oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil.
When you’re reducing your sugar intake, you may be tempted to switch to artificial sugars for your sweet fix. But resist reaching for the diet soda, sugar-free candy, and packets of fake sugar in your latte. “These can mess up your taste for sweet,” says Sanfilippo. “When you eat something sweet, your body expects calories and nutrition, but artificial sugars don’t give your body those things.” That may be why fake sugars are associated with weight gain—not loss, according to a 2010 review in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.
Sanfilippo loves using vanilla bean and vanilla extract, spices, and citrus zests to add sweetness to foods without having to use sugar—and for zero calories. Order an unsweetened latte and add flavor with cocoa or vanilla powder. Skip the flavored oatmeal and add a sweet kick with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. One bonus for sprinkling on the cinnamon: according to a meta-analysis in the Journal of Medicinal Food, the spice has been shown to naturally regulate blood sugar, which helps control your appetite.
Avoiding soda is a good idea, but that’s not the only sugar-packed drink out there. Even drinks that are considered healthy can contain more of the sweet stuff than you’re supposed to have in an entire day. Case in point: “enhanced” waters (eight teaspoons per bottle), bottled iced teas (more than nine teaspoons per bottle), energy drinks (almost seven teaspoons per can), bottled coffee drinks (eight teaspoons per bottle), and store-bought smoothies (more than a dozen teaspoons—for a small).
You can still indulge in an occasional sweet treat after you resolve to slash sugar. The idea is to avoid wasting your daily sugar quota on non-dessert foods like cereals, ketchup, and bread. To avoid overdoing it, set specific rules about when you may enjoy dessert: only after dinner on the weekends or at restaurants as a special treat, Thomsen suggests.
At first, cutting down on sugar can feel like an impossible task. Eventually, though, your taste buds will adjust. Super-sweet foods like ice cream and candy will start to taste too sweet. When you could have a whole slice of cake before, now a couple bites will be enough. You’ll notice the natural sweetness in fruits and vegetables—and yep, they’ll taste better, too.
Getting into the right frame of mind to lose weight can be half the battle for some people. Get your head in good shape and allow the body to follow.
That way you will understand your risks and what you have to do.
Diabetes prevention starts with losing weight.
First things first, discuss weight loss and an individual program with your health care team.
Take things slowly at first, and take one step at a time.
The diet industry is huge, but how do you pick a sensible diet?
Many diets involve reducing or restricting certain foods which makes some diets more or less appropriate for certain types of people.
If you need help choosing which diet to pick, read the MATAIP booklet also a dietitian will be able to assist you in making a suitable choice.
There’s a long-running debate about fruit. Should people with diabetes eat it? If so, how much?
The short answer is: Yes, a bit. Fruit is full of vitamins and minerals. It provides nutrition that’s essential for anybody, diabetic or not. Don’t leave fruit out of your diet altogether.
That said, fruit tends to be quite high in sugar. Too much, and you may find it difficult to keep blood glucose levels under control.
But which are the best (and the worst) fruits for people with diabetes, in terms of sugar? Let’s take a look.
(Next to the sugar content, we’ve listed the total carb content of each fruit, per 100g. In this case, total carbs includes sugar, but also some other stuff.)
Bananas are pretty high in sugar content. They contain 12g of sugar per 100g of fruit. The average banana weighs roughly 120g, so people with diabetes probably shouldn’t eat more than one a day.
More positively, bananas contain a whole host of good stuff: vitamin C, potassium, protein, magnesium and dietary fibre.
Pomegranates contain 14g of sugar per 100g, but don’t let that put you off too much. 100g of pomegranates also contains 7g of fibre, 3g of protein, and 30 per cent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. Just don’t eat too much.
The average mango weighs around 200g, so one whole mango contains about 28g of sugar. Despite its health benefits – one mango contains all of the vitamin C you need in a day – you might consider avoiding mango if you struggle to control your blood glucose levels.
In short: moderate your mango.
100g of grapes contains 16g of sugar. That’s about 10 red grapes. Grapes are absolutely chock-full of sugar.
However, if you have a bit of a weakness for grapes, you’ll be consuming a lot of goodness: red grapes contain anthocyanins, which have been linked to lower levels of “bad” cholesterol, higher levels of “good” cholesterol and a lower risk of insulin resistance.
100g of dates contains 63g of sugar. Bad news for your blood sugar. Despite their health benefits, people with diabetes should only consume a few dates in one go. Those who aren’t confident in their blood glucose control might want to avoid them altogether.
Cranberries, everyone’s favourite fruit of Christmas, are one of the least sugary fruits. 100g of cranberries contains just 4g of sugar. The benefits pretty massively outweigh the drawbacks. Cranberries are linked to lower risk of urinary tract infections, preventions of certain types of cancer and lower blood pressure.
Limes aren’t renowned for their sweet, sugary taste. This is reflected in their sugar content: 1.7g per 100g. Like lemons, limes are good for weight loss, skin care, eye care and improved digestion. You can hardly go wrong.
Technically, cucumbers are fruit. The seeds run through the middle. That’s not the only surprising thing about cucumbers: they also contain only 1.7g of sugar per 100g. That’s about the weight of an individual cucumber.
We love avocado. It strengthens your heart, protects your vision and provides high levels of vitamin K.
As for its sugar content? 0.7g per 100g. You’d have to eat more than 10 avocados to get the sugar hit of a single banana.
NAFLD often occurs in people who are overweight or obese, including people with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, NAFLD can increase the risk of a heart attack and stroke, which makes the condition dangerous for people with type 2 diabetes who already have a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Unwin has previously highlighted the benefits of a low-carb diet for people with type 2 diabetes, including improved blood glucose control, decreased waist circumference and reduced blood pressure.
In his new study, published in the specialist journal Diabesity in Practise, Dr. Unwin selected 69 patients in his practice who had very high levels of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT). When GGT levels are high, it suggests the liver is under pressure and could be indicative of drinking too much alcohol or NAFLD.
Dr. Unwin put his patients on a low-carb diet for 13 months. They mainly ate green vegetables, fish, nuts, eggs and meat; reducing their intake of starchy carbs and increasing their healthy fats from olive oil or butter.
“The results were striking,” said Dr Unwin. “The first thing that happened was their GGT readings dropped by an average 47 per cent. That makes sense because the liver is the first destination of new glucose supplies.”
Currently, the NHS advocates a low-fat diet to treat NAFLD, but The British Liver Trust (which supported the trial) hopes a low-carb diet could cut premature deaths from NAFLD and believe these findings provide a “very useful insight on how liver function can improve.”
Holiday food and busy schedules make it too easy to gain weight. Follow our suggestions to stick to your meal plan this season without feeling deprived.
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The links between obesity and type 2 diabetes are firmly established – without the intervention of a healthy diet and appropriate exercise, obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes over a relatively short period of time.
The good news is that reducing your body weight, by even a small amount, can help improve your body’s insulin sensitivity and lower your risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and types of cancer.
According to the NHS, a 5% reduction in body weight followed up by regular moderate intensity exercise could reduce your type 2 diabetes risk by more than 50%.
Wednesday Clayton Village Hall and Sunday Workshop increasing Boosting the Metabolic factor to speed up weight loss.
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More Essential Mindful tips to Power you through your day Wednesday Clayton Village Hall and Sunday Workshop increasing Boosting the Metabolic factor to speed up weight loss.
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Healing sessions with the Mataip Formula inc Mataip Pilates and Yoga. You can heal your spine in a controlled setting with the guidance of your Master Coach Mark Thomas Monday Queensbury Vic hall 18:15 – 19:15. Key points before you get there ensure you keep hydrating on clear filtered water and berries to boost the immune system. More essential tips in sessions and in one to one consultations.
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Get in Shape for a fabulous festive period and look fabulous with our Nutritional Booklet to lose half a stone two to three inches off the waist line in four weeks. You can collect your booklet when you sign up for Monday night Bootcamp 7:30 Queensbury Vic hall, upstairs in the council chamber . Complete with the essential method and form required to lose those unwanted inches. £30 for booklet and four weeks sessions. [/one_half_last]