January 20 - 26 is Sugar Awareness Week, which is a great opportunity to talk added sugars and reducing them in your diet. One very clear way to reduce Type 2 diabetes and improve gut health is by reducing your sugar intake. But what are reasonable and effective goals for doing this?
First you need to understand the types of sugars:
Naturally-occuring sugars present in whole foods, such as fruits, dairy and grains.
Added sugars such as cane sugar, honey and high-fructose corn syrup.
The threat to our metabolic system comes mainly from the intense dose of glucose and fructose we get from the items in number 2 above. Intake of those items are what we need to be the most careful.
To help, here is a great infographic provided by Action on Sugar (www.actiononsugar.org) and provides some guidance in making choices about sugar consumption.
A word about some “natural” sweeteners
Honey, molasses and maple syrup ares comprised of glucose and fructose, just like cane sugar. You should definitely monitor your intake of these like you would white sugar.
However, these sweeteners do come with additional beneficial nutrients that cane sugar does not have. For example, honey (especially raw, unfiltered honey) contains antioxidants — including phenolic acids and flavonoids.
Studies also suggest that using honey instead of table sugar may decrease triglycerides, as well as total and “bad” LDL cholesterol to support your heart health.
Honey makes a better nutritional choice than cane sugar, but should still be consumed in moderation.
Overconsumption of added sugar, especially in liquid form, is linked to a range of health conditions, both immediately and in later life. Some of the health effects of overconsumption are:
- Tooth decay
- Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes
- GI and gut issues
- Lack of satiety (making you crave more sugar and calories)
One easy thing you can do to help yourself is to remove sugary drinks from your diet and add more probiotic foods instead. Check food labels carefully - some products that seem like they would be good additions to your diet may have many more added sugars than you might suspect.
Grab a delicious can of Pfizz™ the next time you’re looking for a replacement for a sugary carbonated drink. It is truly bubbles with benefits!