Welcome to another 2 part series. I am finding there are lots of things that simply cannot be squeezed into 1 week.
I am trying to cut down my intake of sugar. Ugh! Hello, my breakfast of choice is cake, how is this even going to be possible? It’s going to be possible by knowing exactly where my sugar intake is coming from. I started looking for it. Yikes, it’s everywhere! This week I am going to help you find it and then next week I will show you how to cut down or even quit altogether if you are brave enough!Where is my sugar intake coming from. I started looking for it. Yikes, it's everywhere! Click To Tweet
I think this quote from Dr Michael Mosley says all we need to know about the dangers of sugars. Now we just need to find them! Those pesky sweetnesses are hiding everywhere and just where you would least expect them. Bread (and I love bread!), in particular Hovis I am looking at you here!
“If we consume more sugar than we need, our liver converts the excess into fat. Some of this fat is stored around the body.
This is why repeatedly eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain and even obesity, leading to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and liver disease.
Tooth decay is also more likely, as bacteria in our mouths feast on the sugary foods we eat and produce acids that dissolve our tooth enamel.” Dr Michael Mosley
To Begin, A Few Sugary Snippets
- The general chemical symbol for the sugar family is CnH2nOn. n can be 3-7 depending on the type. For example glucose is C6H12O6
- It is a soluble carbohydrate
- It is extremely flammable near naked flames
- The word sugar comes from the Arabic word Sukkar and probably came to England via Italian merchants
- India was the first country to produce sugar crystals
- In the 15th century Venice was the chief refining and distribution centre for Europe
- The first sugar cane grown in the New Worlds came via Christopher Colombus who received some plants as a gift from Beatriz de Bobadilla y Ossorio from the island of La Gomera, The Canary Islands, with whom it is rumoured he was romantically involved
- Until the late 19th century it was bought in loaves and had to be cut using sugar nips
- In the UK there was a sugar tax until 1874 when Primister Gladstone abolished it making it more affordable
Now That Sugar Is Very Affordable Where Is It Hiding???
It ‘hides’ in our food, particularly processed food and in various guises. We need to recognise what sugar actually is on the long long list of ingredients on food labels.
Look for ingredients ending in ‘ose’ as these will be a form of sugar. If you see any of the following words – it means sugar!
If you like to check your food labels, as a guide, 15gms/100gms and above is a very high sugar content whereas 5gms/100gms and below is considered low. A level teaspoon of sugar is approximately 4gm and contains 16 calories.
I used the Ocado Online Supermarket to source the information in the list below. I found their website really clear and concise. I cannot possibly bore you with every product by every brand. But believe me I have spent hours looking at ingredients and nutritional values of hundreds of products. Some of the products have lower than the 5gms/100gms sugar levels. Even though some of the values are low its still added sugar hiding in an unexpected place. It is worthwhile checking the label on different varieties of the same product. Pasta Sauce, Baked Beans and Peanut Butter are good examples of this.It is worthwhile checking the label on different varieties of the same product for sugar content. Pasta Sauce, Baked Beans and Peanut Butter are good examples of this. Click To Tweet
Processed Foods are likely to be ‘hiding’ added sugar content so it is up to us to know where to look for them.
Salad Dressing –
Mary Berry Salad Dressing – 2nd on the list of ingredients – 26.1gms/100gms
Pasta Sauce –
Lloyd Grossman Tomato & Basil Sauce – 5th on the list – 4.8gms/100gms
Jamie Oliver Tomato & Basil Sauce – 8th on the list – 3.3gms/100gms
Waitrose Tomato & Basil Sauce – 11th on the long list – 6.oogms/100gms
Dolmio Bolognese Chunky Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce – 7th on the list – 6.5gms/100gms
White Bread, Brown Bread & Wholewheat Bread –
Hovis Good Inside Wholemeal – 3rd on the list – 4,2gms/100gms
Hovis Soft White Rolls 6 per pack – 8th on the list – 3.6gms/100gms
Baked Beans –
Heinz Beans originals – 4th on the list – 5gms/100gms
Waitrose Essentials – 4th on the list – 4gms/100gms
Breakfast Cereal & Cereal Bars –
Kellogs Special K Original – 3rd on the list – 15gms/100gms
Jordan’s Apple & Cranberry Frusli Bars – 3rd on the list – 34.7gms/100gms
Peanut Butter –
Waitrose Essentials Smooth Peanut Butter – 2nd on the list – 5.1gms/100gms
Waitrose Essentials Wholenut Peanut Butter – no added sugar* – 3.1gms/100gms
Flavoured Water, Fizzy Drinks, Fruit Juice, Energy Drinks & Smoothies, Low Calorie Varieties of Drinks –
Volvic Touch of Fruit Cherry – 2nd on the list – 5gms/100gms
Yoghurts including Fat Free Varieties
Rachels Organic Low Fat Raspberry Yogurt – 2nd on the list – 14.9gms/100gms
Dried Fruit, Packaged Fruit & Canned Fruit –
Waitrose Whole American Cranberries – 2nd on the list – 65gms/100gms
Crazy Jack Organic Dried Apricots – No added sugar* – 60gms/100gms
Crispbreads and Crackers –
Ryvita Fruit Crunch Crispbread – 2nd on the list – 19.6gms/100gms
* – high sugar levels, but it’s not added sugar
Alcohol – Do we call that a processed food? Hmmmm! Anyway it must be mentioned. Levels of sugar in alcohol vary widely. Baileys Irish Cream contains five teaspoons per 100ml. Wine has approximately (depending on the brand) half a teaspoon per 175ml. Drier varieties of wine will have less than half a teaspoon. Bulmers Original cider, contained 20.5gms of sugar, or five teaspoons, in a 568ml bottle.
There are, of course sugars that are natural. Yet, consumed in large quantities these can be just as damaging as refined sugars. Maple syrup (yummy!) and honey (not so keen myself!) contain the same amount of calories as sugar. On the plus side both contain many many beneficial antioxidants. Use only the natural varieties and use them sparingly. Natural fruit contains fructose which is a sugar. Fruit varieties are now grown specifically for their sweetness. Apple varieties Jazz, Pink Lady and Fiji are created specifically to appeal to our love of sweetness. The advantage of natural sugar in fruit is that it contains fibre. This type of fruit fibre slows down the absorption of sugar thus reducing the high/low sugar cycles in our bloodstream.
A great way forward is to avoid processed food. Yet eating more homemade food using natural ingredients is not always a practical option. By being aware and conscious of where those sugars are we can start to take control of sugar.
Start to take control this week. Next week I will share with you how to cut your sugar intake down or give up altogether. Plus there is no need to deprive ourselves of the sweet treats we all love!
PS. I came across this very interesting book whilst working on all things sugary!