Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I have Celiac Disease, and I eat gluten-free.
These days, it’s much easier to eat gluten-free than it ever used to be, thanks to ready-made meals and snacks. You can find a lovely section of gluten-free items in almost any grocery store, and the convenience is certainly welcome!
There’s just one problem I continually find with gluten-free foods: sugar. The sugar content in gluten-free foods is typically higher than in normal foods.
As we all know, sugar has become the new fat, meaning that more research into nutrition has made us realize that ingesting too much sugar is just as bad, if not worse, than consuming fatty food. Sugar in its natural form, found in fruits and in starchy vegetables, is fine and an important nutrient in brain development. What is problematic is our sugar-filled highly processed diet. Look at the labels! Everything we consume has ingredients that end in “-ose” or contain corn syrup. We are ingesting far too much sugar in one day, most of it the product of chemical combinations that are not very healthy for our body.
The problem with consuming so much sugar is that it raises our level of insulin in the blood, which will have long-term damaging effects such as diabetes, slowed metabolisms, hyperactivity, and over eating. Let us not forget the epidemic of obesity in our society, a phenomenon that people could turn around if they reduced their daily intake of sugar.
A couple years ago, I eliminated all high fructose corn syrup from our home. As I come across more and more items that are “bad”, I continue my journey of elimination – searching for better alternatives and altering our eating habits, bit by bit by bit. Because doing it all at once can be overwhelming!
Like most people, you probably feel like you are addicted to sugar and eliminating it from your diet is a threatening endeavour you are not ready to take. After all, you do not smoke, you drink in reasonable amounts and you exercise. Why can you not enjoy a little sugar? Your reasoning is good. Then again, did you know that we should limit our daily intake of sugar to 5% of our diet? That is significantly lower than what most of us get and this is why we need to cut back. Here is how to do so gradually and successfully, so as not to become totally overwhelmed in the process:
- Cut your liquid sugar: eliminate soda, high sugar drink, and fruit juice from your diet. Replace them with freshly pressed fruit juice, plain carbonated water or just plain water.
- Avoid artificially sweetened products like premixed yogurt. Instead, buy plain Greek yogurt and add your favorite fruits to it.
- Make your own baked goods yourself and reduce the amount of sugar or replace sugar with honey. This way, you will not feel deprived and will have a better control over the amount of sugar in your diet.
- Use lettuce and other green leaves to wrap your sandwiches instead of bread and pita. You will greatly diminish the amount of sugar you ingest and still filled satiated from eating a sandwich.
- Finally, read the labels on the food you purchase. You will be surprised to see how many of them contain fructose, glucose and other “–ose” ending elements that all mean ‘sugar’. Some of the biggest culprits are granola bars, ketchup, salad dressing, spaghetti sauces, and protein shakes.
If you do not think you can restrain yourself at parties or birthdays, avoid temptation until your taste buds adjust to your new diet. It will not be long before you feel the benefit to your health, waist size, energy level, and even your general dentistry. As we know, less sugar equals less cavities! And it also equals less cravings, which means this is a change you can totally get on board with!
How much sugar does YOUR family consume on a daily basis?
Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!