With Halloween just past and the holidays and all the sweets they bring us just around the corner, it's a good time to take a look at how much sugar is in your diet. You may be surprised at how much sugar is "hidden" in the foods you eat, and it all ads up to increase your calorie intake and waistline.
Start reading labels to find out how much sugar is in the foods you eat, and don't be fooled by the words "no sugar added." Sucrose, dextrose, and fructose (watch for the "ose" ending) are all natural forms of sugar that aren't labeled "sugar" yet make foods sweet and fattening. Other forms of sugar include honey, corn syrup, malt syrup, and maple syrup.
Look for hidden sugar in processed foods like bread, ketchup, salad dressings, canned fruits, applesauce, peanut butter, and soups. And limit the foods that we all know are filled with sugar like candy, soda pop, baked goods, ice cream and sweetened breakfast cereals. Replace these sugary treats with healthy snacks like fruit slices, veggie sticks, air-popped popcorn, or a small handful of seeds or nuts.
As you decrease the amount of sugar in your diet, you'll be surprised how quickly your taste for it diminishes. The first few days of sugar "detox" may be less than sweet, but the desire for sugar quickly lessens. Give it a try -- all you stand to lose is weight!
Megan Porter, RD