One of the biggest topics in the health industry is sugar. The focus is on reducing sugar, either by completely removing it from your diet or reducing the amount of sugar you eat. It has become a hot topic because we have become more aware of how much sugar is in our diet due to processed foods, as well as the health risk associated with consuming too much sugar.
Sugar can be found in places we wouldn’t normally think of, like pasta sauce. This type of sugar is actually what we call added sugars. Added sugars are exactly what it sounds like, they are sugars that are added to foods to increase sweetness and give it more flavor. However, we have become very dependent on sugar to add flavor that it has become an ingredient you can find in almost everything! The other type of sugar is natural sugars. These are sugars that are naturally found in foods, like fruit.
Natural sugars from fruit do not affect our bodies like added sugars. Natural sugars are considered more complex because they are usually found in a structure that is high in fiber. Fiber causes sugar to be released slower when digesting. Added sugars normally don’t have the same structure and tend to be digested faster.
When sugar is digested, it goes into our blood stream, which causes our blood sugars to increase. With added sugars, they tend be digested quicker than natural sugars, which means they also get into our blood faster and causes our blood sugars to spike. When natural sugars are consumed they digest slower and go into our blood stream slower. This causes a slower increase in blood sugar and a more even one. These levels also decrease and when our blood sugars spike suddenly they also will drop suddenly. The more severe the spike the harder the fall!
The occasional blood sugar spike isn’t that bad, but the more often it happens the more our body gets use to it. It will end up adjusting to this type of diet and will cause issues later on, such as diabetes.
So how can we reduce our added sugar intake? One great way is focusing on whole foods! When you have a sweet tooth, reach for a piece of fruit instead, that contains natural sugars. Cooking from scratch also is a great option because you can control what you add to your foods! Also it is very important to read food labels. Look to see what are in the ingredients and how much sugar is actually in each serving. A great rule of thumb is to focus on foods that have less than 10% of the recommended daily calories in sugar.
As you reduce your added sugar intake your taste buds will change and you will begin to need less sugar and even find some foods to be too sweet! As you adjust to using less sugar, there are options like natural sweeteners such as monk fruit and stevia. Stevia and monk fruit are natural sugars and they are much sweeter than regular sugars, which means less can be used. ABS Protein Pancakes is actually made with stevia, which will help you reduce your added sugar intake while still enjoying pancakes!