Recently the term added sugars has been showing up in articles, recipes, and soon it will be on food labels, but what does it mean?
Added sugars are sugars that are added to foods during processing to make foods sweeter. Another word you will hear is natural sugars, which are sugars naturally found in foods, such as fruit and dairy products. Added sugars are important to identify because they aren’t processed like natural sugars in our bodies. Added sugars are a simple form of sugar, which include high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, and sucrose.
Added sugars come from a simple form of sugar, such as cane sugar and when it enters our bodies it is absorbed faster, because it does not need to be broken down unlike natural sugars. Usually natural sugars are found in a more complex structure, such as an apple and the body has to break down these structures. As the structures are broken down the sugar is slowly absorbed into our blood streams. The slow break down and absorption of sugar from fruits means that it slowly raises blood sugar levels, unlike simple sugars, which are absorbed faster, since there is no complex structure to breakdown. This lack of structure means the sugar is absorbed faster and can cause spikes in our blood sugar levels. The fast spikes, also means fast falls in blood sugar levels and this will make you tired and can also damage cells in your body. If there are constant spikes in blood sugar from simple sugars, this can cause increased damage to your body and eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
So how can we reduce our risk of such a serious disease? The first step is cutting back on how much added sugar we eat. The new recommendation released by the Dietary Guidelines is that we should eat less than 10% of our calories from added sugars. This means if you consume 2000 calories a day, only 200 calories should come from added sugars. It is also important to space out these added sugars throughout the day. Right now it is somewhat difficult to tell how much added sugars are in our foods, but the FDA just announced that they are adding this information to our labels, so we can better identify what is high in added sugars and what comes from natural sugars.
In the meantime we can look in the ingredients list to see what sugar is added to our foods. If the foods contain ingredients coming from fruit or milk products, we know that it has some natural sugars. We can also tell if it has added sugars in it by looking for words like sucrose, sugar, cane sugar, malt syrup, and high fructose corn syrup. Another great option is to use natural sugar substitutes and products that have natural sugar substitutes, like stevia.
ABS Protein pancakes are actually made with all natural stevia, which helps to give the pancakes sweetness without spiking blood sugars. It also is low calorie compared to sugars because so little has to be used and it passes through our bodies without much absorption. It is also recommend to use unsweetened almond milk, because regular almond milk actually has sugar added to it to make it sweet like milk. Before milk and eggs are added to ABS Protein Pancakes, they only contain 3g of sugar, which equals only 12 calories from sugar. That is only 0.6% of a 2000 calorie diet from added sugars! It is a great way to keep your added sugar levels low and still enjoy pancakes!
Remember to read ingredients and to keep added sugars to less than 10% of your total diet to help decrease how much sugar you are eating in a day.