Wednesday, June 27, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Avoiding Added Sugars

"The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison."  
                                                                    --Ann Wigmore

When was the last time you read a food label to look for hidden sugars?  Food manufacturers are counting on the fact that most people don't read food labels to see what is in the food you eat.

Image result for sugar "org"

Sugar is either natural sugar and added sugar.  Natural sugar is what you find in fruit (fresh, frozen, and canned).  Use caution with canned fruit, however, because it may be in a syrup containing added sugar.  Most or all of the sugar we eat and drink should be natural sugar.  Fruit contains dietary fiber which slows down the absorption of the sugar in the bloodstream.  Added sugars are not the same as natural sugar.  High fructose corn syrup, considered one of the worst added sugars, is highly processed with "empty" calories, no nutritional value, and no dietary fiber.   

Local blueberries
Teaching kids (and parents) how to identify added sugars in processed foods like breakfast cereals, frozen foods, and drinks can improve health literacy and health status. 

Here are 5 steps to start eliminating added sugars:

Step 1:  Locate the “Nutrition Facts” rectangle on the food package or drink bottle. 
Step 2:  Look below the rectangle for the “Ingredients” list.  
Step 3:  Is high fructose corn syrup a listed ingredient? 
Step 4:  Do you see any other ingredients that end in “-ose”?   
Step 5:  If you answered “yes” in step 3 and/or 4, avoid that food in the future or at least cut back on how much you consume.  Look for a similar food with less or no added sugar.

All ingredients that end in “-ose” are sugars.  Excessive consumption of added sugars can result in an unhealthy weight or contribute to development of diabetes or cancer. 

With gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.