In the 90’s we were told fat is bad and everyone became scared of it. The clever marketers got wind of this and jumped on the bandwagon. In a short amount of time, formulations were changed in products to lower the fat content, and to make up for this decline in flavor… they added sugar.
Now, there’s no denying fat is making a comeback – the good kinds found in foods like nuts and dairy – and sugar is our enemy. While you could argue that some people take the sugar thing too far, and while more research is definitely needed in the area, it’s clear that sugar is pretty damn bad for our bodies and everyday food products you find in the supermarket have sugar levels at an all-time high.
We all know chocolate, cakes and lollies have sugar. Duh. That’s why we label them as ‘sometimes foods’ and whether or not we actually follow this (I know my definition of ‘sometimes’ skews toward the ‘way too often’ a lot of the time) at least it’s clear what we need to do.
And yes, food companies add more sugar to everyday products and promote them as healthy. But don’t go blaming them for your weight gain or unhealthy lifestyle. If you educate yourself to make the right choices, you can avoid products with high sugar content without needing to rely on others. With that I give you… 5 ways to lower your sugar intake every day.
- Learn how to read labels. This image comes from the National Health and Research Council (you know, those people who are substantially more qualified to tell you how to eat than Shit-for-brains Evans). It’s a really useful guide for reading labels and understanding how much sugar is too much. See the full guide here.
- Understand different kinds of sugar. Sugar naturally occurs in foods like fruit and dairy. They’re ok to eat, as long as you don’t go overboard. For most people, 2 serves of fruit a day and 2.5 serves of dairy a day (4 for women over 50) is the perfect amount of sugar to naturally fuel the body (click here for recommended food group serves for adults).
Always eat real fruit instead of dried or juiced fruit (even if there’s no added sugar). Four apples will make a small glass of juice. Can you imagine yourself eating four apples in one go with your breakfast? The juicing process gives you all the sugar but not the fibre to fill you up. Same with dried fruit. Think about how many sultanas you could eat instead of grapes!
- Don’t fall into the trap of eating ‘natural’ or artificial sugars. Yes, Stevia is a plant. But eating it will only get your body used to eating sweet foods and make you crave it more. When you taste the sweetness, your taste buds tell your body there’s sugar coming so your body expects it and craves the sugar high. When it doesn’t come, you’re likely to crave sugar until your body gets it. So even though it’s not as bad for your body… best to stay away.
- Become accustomed to the taste of bland foods. Seriously, not every meal you eat has to taste amazing does it? If it’s just breakfast on a weekday, have natural or greek yoghurt with no added sugar on your cereal instead of the flavoured kind. It will only take you a couple of weeks to get used to the taste. Trust me this makes a HUGE difference! Watch the video below and you’ll see why.
If you’re interested in the topic, I recommend taking a look at ‘That Sugar Film’ a Supersize Me-style independent movie about an Aussie actor who experiments the effects of sugar on his own body. BUT – please enter with a critical mind. While some things are really interesting and demonstrate the effects of sugar well, I hate how he blames food companies instead of critiquing our own choices, and he definitely over-does the scare tactics (a whole scene of ripping a kid’s teeth out was too much). It’s also worth noting that nutritionists are disputing a couple of claims. I won’t go into exactly what but if you watch it and are interested, let me know and I’ll explain!
The way I see it, best weapons to stay healthy in today’s age are education and a critical mind. So educate yourself about what to eat, how much, and when… but be critical of where you get you get your information (ie. not Belle Gibson)!