by Wendy Humphris, ROHP
You have been working on your diet and doing well. You are working towards a healthy diet and clean eating. You are even working toward goals like 5k runs and exercise groups. The problem is, you have been told by your nutritionist or doctor that your sugar levels are still not in a good range. You have removed soda, processed sugars, and sweets. Now you are left with wondering where the sugar is coming from. Here are a few hidden sources of sugar and what you need to do to remove them from your daily diet.
You may not think about coffee when you think about hidden sugars in your diet. The truth is, your one packet of sugar that you do not think about adding, can add up during the day. You can end up with a large amount of sugar if you drink several cups of coffee a day. On top of that, coffee drinks that are specialty drinks may have much larger amounts of sugar than you think. Though you can request the nutrition facts, there may be artificial flavors that have sugar in them that are not listed separately.
You may think that you are being healthy by picking up a juice instead of a soft drink. The truth about pre-made juices is that many of them do not contain real juice. Most of them contain a small percentage of juice combined with a large amount of sweeteners and sugars. This is something that many people do not consider. Instead the thought of drinking a healthy fruit juice is the only thought that comes to mind. To avoid this issue, consider getting a juice that is organic and full juice and check the grams of sugar on the nutrition facts before you buy.
Frozen dinners rarely come to mind as a hiding spot for sugars. In many cases, sugars are used as more than just a sweetener for the small amount of dessert. Sugars can be found in most frozen dinners, even savory ones. For example, dinners like lasagna and meatloaf or salisbury steak have sugars in them to help sweeten sauces and gravy. To avoid this, you can make your own frozen dinners and that way you know what is going into your pre-made food. It also gives you the option of having food on demand instead of making the choice to get something quick that can be heated but may be loaded with sugar.
Pre-Made Health Drinks
Health drinks, like smoothies, are like pre-made juices. They may seem like a healthy choice and good idea but they are not necessarily a good choice. Some smoothies contain sweetened milk as well as sugar based yogurts or fruits with very high natural sugar contents. Instead, make your health drinks like protein based drinks as well as smoothies at home. You know exactly what is going into your drinks and you can control the fruits and natural sugars.
There is always an alternative to sugar that is healthy. You do not have to go with a chemical sugar substitute either. Keep that in mind when you begin to remove sugar in these hidden sources before you jump to the conclusion that there is no replacement option and that these hidden sources will just have to stay in your diet.
Wendy Humphris, ROHP
I’m a holistic nutritionist and I transform health for a living.