How do we relate to sugar? Is it possible to drastically reduce our consumption of refined sugar? What are the long-term consequences of consuming too much sugar? Here are some questions we will try to answer in this article.
Why consume sugar?
Sugar is an inexpensive food that increases the taste of food and allows for better preservation. It therefore becomes difficult to market processed products that contain little or no sugar.
From childhood, we are used to ending the meal with a dessert or something sweet. The taste of sweet is innate. It is synonymous with carbohydrates and therefore energy. It is essential for the proper functioning of our brain and our muscles. However, you must know how to differentiate refined sugars from sugars naturally present in foods, such as fruits, vegetables and grain products.
Where is the sugar found?
When shopping, don't be fooled by the words "low fat" or "light" and instead take the time to consult the list of ingredients and nutritional values. For example, in a product where there is sugar as the second ingredient, brown sugar in 5th position and honey in 11th position, all the sweet ingredients will be grouped under the “sugar” banner and the position in the list of ingredients will be modified. depending on the importance they have in the product.
Sugar lurks everywhere, even in foods where you least expect it. The best solution to better control the amounts of sugar consumed daily is to cook as much as possible at home. Industrial sauces and grain products are two of the food categories that are not technically sweet, but contain significant amounts of sugar.
A few years ago the food industry waged a war on processed fat and we saw tons of low fat products appear. However, “low fat” often means adding salt and sugar. Indeed, by comparing regular peanut butter and low fat peanut butter from the same brand, we see that the sugar is much more present in the second, which is not a good thing.
What are the risks of consuming too much sugar?
If we are talking about diseases related mainly to too much sugar consumption, we are talking about diabetes, obesity, dental caries and cardiovascular disease. So this is not to be taken lightly. We're not talking about banning sugar at all costs. There's nothing bad about having a sweet dessert every now and then. You just have to focus on variety, not always get the sugar in the same place and vary the sources of the nutrients you ingest. This is true for sugar, but also for fat, salt, fiber, protein, etc.
How to reduce your sugar consumption?
First of all, halve the sugars present in a recipe. It will hardly change the taste or texture of the final product, but subconsciously, you get used to eating less sweet. The second step is to replace all white and refined sugars with natural sugars, such as maple syrup. Finally, the last step is to replace the natural sugar with dried fruit purees that contain more fiber, which allows better absorption of carbohydrates.
Vegetables are naturally high in sugar, such as carrots, zucchini, beets, and sweet potatoes. In a tomato sauce, you can add a few pieces of carrots that will naturally balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Dried fruits are good sweeteners, like figs, dates and apricots. In all cases, corn syrups or rice syrups should be avoided, which are overly industrialized products. Instead, use maple syrup for your baked desserts and unpasteurized honey for raw desserts.
To help you here are some easy tips to reduce your sugar consumption:
- Replace sugary drinks with water, homemade iced tea or soy drinks
- Choose fresh, non-industrialized foods
- Cook more at home and avoid prepared meals
- Dilute sugary drinks with water
- Favor products with a short list of ingredients
And you, what are your tips to reduce your sugar intake?
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