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Where sugar hides

Sugar is the generic name for every carbohydrate that leaves you with that sweet tasting, good feeling. This amazing additive is used to enhance a variety of foods and produce an endless list of sweet treats. Get sugar smart when reading food labels. Sugar aliases usually end in “ose” yet food manufacturers have broadened the ingredients to even more formulations of sweeteners.

Now contemporary sugar comes in various forms many times seemingly unnoticeable. Sugar is sugar regardless of the naming, production method or touted benefits. Whether your cutting out simple sugar (monosaccharides) or a more sophisticated version (disaccharide) made of glucose and fructose, or consuming longer chains of sugars called oligosaccharides or polysaccharides, sugar is the culprit most likely attributed to the obesity crisis, diabetes, tooth decay, insulin resistance, changes in gut bacteria, degrading cognitive functions, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease just to mention a few.

Look for these names like:

Glucose                                   Dextose                                   Fructose

Galactose                                Sucrose                                   Maltose

Lactose                                   Maltodextrin                            Cane Juice

Glycerol                                   Molasses                                 Turbinado

Sucralose                                Brown Rice Syrup                   Corn Syrup

Coconut Nectar                       Barley Malt                             Agave

Sugar is used to prepare many well-established natural and organic foods being marketed on the health food aisles. Manufacturers try to disguise sugar with names that seem sometimes beneficial and capitalizing on one’s health, happiness and state of well being.

Pay attention to the amount of sugar in these common products:

Whole Grain Bread                             Jerky                           Frozen Fruit

Nut Butter                                            Granola Bars              All Milk

Deli Meats                                           Salad Dressings         Tomato Sauce

Flavored Yogurt                                  Kombucha                  Flavored Kefir

Almond Milk                                        Green Juices              Flavored Waters

Fruit Juice                                           Frozen Yogurt             Peanut Butter

If your diet has limited sugar additives from eating whole foods and whole food products, then there is no reason for concern. But if your goal is to stamp out unnecessary calories, put the lid on a weight loss program, or reverse a pre-diagnosis then I would consider making the switch to “no added sugar.”

A researcher conducting a study in The Journal of Nutrition found that when people ate the same amount (2 tablespoons) of honey, white sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup every day for a two-week period, all groups experienced the same metabolic changes; increased blood triglycerides and markers of inflammation (Raatz, Johnson & Picklo 2015).

When does sugar make sense?

If a designer cupcake or Reese’s cup is your thing, the best time to consume these sugar calories is after a sustained intense cardio workout of at least 60-90 minutes. Why the green light? After an intensified effort your body is ready to absorb and reload its glycogen storage tanks. And glycogen just happens to be a major source of energy for both cardiovascular endurance and muscular training. Just a reminder that no amount of training makes up for overeating food sources especially food sources with added sugar.

Interesting Factoid: Agave has more fructose than high-fructose corn syrup

As a well coach I believe each person is different and every diet plan and program should be crafted to each individual’s specific needs, goals and objectives. Yet, generally speaking, most of the world’s population would greatly benefit from less sugar in their diets as well fats, salts, and sodium. The idea of less sugar or ‘sugar free’ is a nightmare due to the pervasiveness of manufacturers developing products with added sugar to everything they market. But “Free” is never really free.

For an extended list of ordinary sugar products visit http://www.sugar.ca/Nutrition-Information-Service/Consumers/About-Sugar/Types-of-Sugar.aspx

Schedule your appointment at coachmikeconner@gmail.com.