While you probably already know that a balanced diet and exercise can help prevent obesity and illnesses related to a poor diet, such as type 2 diabetes, what you may not know is that some food choices you make may raise your blood sugar levels without you knowing it.
If you are trying to reduce your diabetes risk, lose weight, or would like to lower the amount of sugar you eat on a daily basis, changing what you buy at the grocery store and when you eat out can help you do so.
A spoon full of sugar; image source: rd.com
Choosing the Right Bread Can Reduce Your Sugar Intake
There’s nothing like toast and jam in the morning or a savory turkey sandwich on white bread for lunch, but as you eat certain types of bread, it may be raising your blood sugar.
An average slice of bagged white bread may contain up to five grams of sugar, which means if you have two slices of toast in the morning and then eat a sandwich for lunch, you have already put 20 grams of sugar into your body.
If you simply cannot give up bread, switching from white bread to sourdough may help you regulate blood sugar. A 2008 study released by National Center for Biotechnology Information reveals that not only is sourdough low in sugar, the lactic acid and complex carbohydrates it contains can actually lower blood sugar as well. Other low-sugar bread options include rye bread and loaves made from sprouted and ground wheat kernels.
Beware Pasta and Spaghetti Sauce
While you may not think of sugar when you think of spaghetti or that heaping plate of ziti and sauce, there is a great deal of hidden sugar in both. Pasta contains a lot of carbohydrates, more commonly known as carbs, and when carbs enter your body, they break down into sugar (glucose).
In addition, many store-bought canned and jar sauces contain added sugar to cut down on the tartness of the tomatoes.
Some store-bought sauces may contain as much as three teaspoons of added sugar, and this can cause blood sugar spikes when combined with carb-heavy pasta.
The good news is that you do not have to give up pasta and sauce completely if you are trying to cut sugar from your diet. When shopping, consider a low-carb pasta or even making your own from spaghetti squash, which is flavorful and contains only about two grams of sugar per serving. Making your own sauce can also help you avoid the added sugars that many store-bought brands include.
Think Twice About Yogurt with Added Fruit
Some foods are naturally thought of as being good for you, even though they contain a great deal of sugar. Yogurt is one of the biggest offenders, which many processed brands including extras that can raise your blood sugar.
Some yogurt comes with candy or crushed cookies you mix into yogurt, which may already have added sugar. Yogurt with fruit on the bottom is not a much better choice, as even fat-free options can have over 20 grams of sugar. Most individuals should have no more than 50-70 grams of sugar per day.
To cut this type of sugar from your diet, choose plain yogurt and then add fresh (not frozen) fruit, such as raspberries or blueberries. Not only are berries naturally low in fructose, they contain antioxidants that protect healthy cells from free radicals, which may lower the risk of certain diseases. Greek yogurt is another viable option, as most brands only contain about five or six grams of sugar per serving.
Be on the Lookout for Low-Sugar Recipes
Sometimes cutting sugar from your diet can be a challenge because you need to also stop eating a lot of processed foods and switch to home-cooked meals instead.
However, you can find a variety of healthy, low-sugar recipes at the Hampton Creek Twitter, @hamptoncreek, as well as detailed information on the company’s products, which include dairy and egg-free products. You may find foods alternatives here that could be a good fit for your new reduced sugar diet.
Leave Water Additives and Enhanced Water Behind
Proper hydration is essential to any healthy diet, but a lot of people believe that you have to add flavor or carbonation to it in order for it to be palatable. Unfortunately, it is this belief that can raise the sugar content of something that is supposed to be healthy.
Flavor enhancers that you can squirt into water usually contain a list of artificial flavors, colors, and sugar. While there are some that are sugar and calorie free options, there are few benefits to using these products.
If you want to add a little flavor to your water without adding a lot of sugar, make your own infused water with lemon, kiwi, peach, and berries. Tossing a bit of fruit into your water and then letting it sit for about an hour will give plain or filtered water better flavor, and you will be more likely to hydrate more often.
While cutting sugar from your diet can be daunting, following these tips and making small adjustments to your eating habits can put you on the road to better health.