Sugar definitely has addictive properties, and we should be cutting down its consumption from our daily diet as high sugar consumption is linked to a lot of diseases.
The food industry uses many names for added sugars like brown sugar, dextrose, sucrose, maltose, etc, all these foods with high amounts of sugar should be avoided.
Total sugar intake in a day should not be more than 5% of calories (According to WHO) so cutting down on sweetened beverages like fruit drinks, soda, coffee, teas and snacks (ice creams, cookies, brownies, doughnuts, etc.) is very important.
Bread, fat-free yoghurt, granola bars, salad dressings, etc. also contain a lot of sugar, so it is important to read nutrition labels.
Added sugar is linked to several conditions like diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, etc. Therefore it becomes important to consume foods without sugars and opt for healthy alternatives like:
- Stevia: It is a natural sweetener with zero calories and no links to weight gain. It does not have any adverse health effects and is safe for consumption. It is also linked to lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Coconut Sugar: It includes antioxidants along with calcium, potassium, zinc and iron. It has inulin which is a type of fibre which helps to slow glucose absorption. It is considered “less bad“ than regular sugar, but it is still high in fructose so should be used sparingly.
- Honey: It consists of trace amounts of minerals and vitamins along with antioxidants. It helps to improve the risk factors related to many diseases. But it is still sugar and should be consumed sparingly.
- Maple Syrup: It contains antioxidants and minerals and is considered better than regular sugar but again as it is a type of sugar it should be consumed in moderation only.
Natural sugar from fruits comes along with fibre, and it naturally produces short blood sugar response. Also provides fullness in comparison to added sugar that is concentrated and refined.
Therefore, it is very important to limit the consumption of refined concentrated sugar and adapt our taste buds to accept less sugar.
It is not realistic to quit sugar completely, but we do need to change our lifestyle and avoid having sugar in such concentrated amounts on a daily basis to avoid various lifestyle conditions and health risks.