So, we all know sugar isn’t good for us but the problem is that sugar, often in large quantities is turning up in unexpected places, so it’s not always so easy to make the healthiest choices. Gudrun Jonsson, Author of the international bestseller, Gut Reaction and Dietary Advisor to Nibble Protein reveals how to cut back on sugar.
Banishing all sugar is not realistic, or indeed much fun. The key is knowing how to eat less sugar and knowing what to look out for. The occasional cheat is pretty fundamental, however, it’s important to know when you’re cheating, so that you can take control of your diet, and understand what’s in the foods you’re using to fuel your body.
To explain more, sugar expert Gudrun Jonsson, shares her top tips:
Check the sugar percentage of everything you eat
When you look at labels, always check the nutrition values per 100g since this will give you the percentage of each food group. So, if there is 45g of sugar per 100g, the food is 45 per cent sugar (sounds obvious but it is easy to forget it’s that simple). This is the best way to compare foods because most products have totally different serving sizes, and it means you are comparing all your foods like for like.
Know what high sugar content is
The NHS defines high sugar as foods that contain more than 22.5g of sugar or more per 100g. ‘This is a good rough guide to remember when checking those labels. Many snack bars/ balls are a staggering 40 per cent sugar! Knowing this means you can choose your cheats wisely.
Be careful of the word ‘energy’
When ‘energy’ is used to describe a product, it’s usually a code for high in sugar. Energy bars were originally designed to eat immediately before high impact exercise when you would be using up glucose quickly. But if you are eating these energy balls at other times (like while sitting in your office or chilling on the couch), you’ll just get a ton of extra sugar (i.e. carbs) that your body can’t use. Once your body maxes out its carb stores, your body will store the excess as fat.
Know that dates are not a superfood
Yes, they are all-natural and they’re in absolutely everything, but they’re still 65-80 per cent sugar (depending on variety). That means that ‘healthy’ date ball is probably close to half sugar. Watch out!
Be careful of claims of ‘no refined sugar’ or ‘no added sugar’.
Although whole food sources of sweetness are usually preferable to most refined sugars (because they add benefits like fibre which slows down the breakdown), it does not mean that the sugar doesn’t count. If a food is high in sugar, it is high in sugar. Many “no added sugar” snack bars and balls are higher in sugar than conventional chocolate bars. Also, many brands use ‘no added sugar’ claims very literally to mean that they just haven’t added table sugar- i.e. they are still adding sweeteners like agave.
Don’t get seduced by ‘all-natural’ claims
‘All natural’ doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Without a doubt, eat “all-natural” foods, but don’t assume that means they are healthy—particularly with processed snacks. Just because those millionaire bars are made with “all-natural” ingredients, doesn’t make them intrinsically healthy. Remember, the ingredients you use to bake at home are usually all-natural, but you’d never mistake a cake as being healthy. After all, table sugar is made from “all-natural” sugar cane (or beets)!
Check the amount and type of sugar in a food
The amount of sugar is the first priority, next is the type of sugar—i.e. how quickly that sugar will break down. Chose low Glycaemic Index options that break down more slowly, offering a host of benefits from providing sustained energy to improving mood and concentration. The Glycaemic Index rates foods 1-100, with pure glucose topping the scale at 100 and table sugar coming in around 60-70. The higher the GI number the quicker your body breaks it down, creating a sugar rush then crash. Many leading snack bars/balls are made with brown rice syrup which sounds healthy, but it has a GI of 98 so we’re talking serious sugar rush here.
And many popular nut bars are wrapped in pure glucose syrup. Nibble Simply, on the other hand, contains less than 10 per cent sugar and are sweetened only with low GI coconut sugar. This new, innovative range of all-natural, low-carb, keto-friendly biscuit bites have 60 per cent less sugar, 57 per cent fewer carbs and 170 per cent more protein than a regular biscuit, making them the ultimate guilt-free treat for those looking to satisfy a sweet craving (available to buy from www.nibbleprotein.com).