(Roll the eye.)
Samantha CassettiMD, MS, RD, says the demonization of sugar (and the many sugar myths that come along) is nothing new, but we’re seeing it on a large scale today because of social media. She explained that as the fat-free diet craze spread in the ’90s, companies needed to find ways to improve the taste of their products — because seriously, who wants a fat-free bun? “As a result, sugar has often been used in place of butter or oil to increase the flavor of canned foods without touching on any grams of fat,” Cassetti says. “Unfortunately, after five to 10 years of eating everything low-fat and increasing your sugar intake, research is starting to show that this kind of eating pattern can lead to a lot of serious health issues.” Some of these negative health outcomes, according to Cassetti, include increased inflammation, higher triglycerides, lower HDL cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, and more.
“Since then, we’ve seen a lot of research highlighting the fact that the types of fats you eat are important and can be very nutritious — just think about how important extra virgin olive oil is in a Mediterranean diet,” Cassetti says. “We’ve also started focusing on all of the Deceptive sources of sugar in our diets. In fact, the Nutrition Facts label was recently updated to reflect the amount of added sugars on food labels — and suddenly, you can see that there’s added sugar in everything. Think soup, ketchup, bread, and even foods we often head out with a healthy halo, like oat milk. “
This placement of added sugar content taking full effect in 2020 sent a new wave of sugar haters comparing bananas to cake and promoting low-sugar, low-carb diets. While Cassetty says we need to stick to American Dietary Guidelines which indicates that women consume less than six teaspoons (25 grams) and men less than nine teaspoons (36 grams) per day, it is important to develop a comprehensive understanding of sugar to make wise decisions about sugar consumption while feeling empowered. Always Enjoy guilt-free eating. Remember: an ingredient should never be considered “good” or “bad” – it’s just food. Here, we asked Cassetti to debunk some common myths about sugar to help you do just that.
Myth #1: Fruit contains sugar, which means it should be eaten in moderation
“I can’t stress enough that there is something enormous The difference between natural sugars and added sugarsSugar is naturally provided in fruit and comes packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Then when you think about how eight out of every ten Americans don’t eat enough fruit, this myth is pretty bad because so many people are missing out on a lot of their beneficial nutrients.”
Cassetti says all fruits are delicious and rich in nutrients. Her personal favourite? “First love ever Zesbury Songold Kiwi. This fruit is delicious and sweet while meeting 100 percent of your daily vitamin C needs in one serving. “Skin care experts know that this vitamin is essential for collagen production and skin glow, and it’s also (as we well know) essential for a strong immune system.
Cassetti also says that watermelon gets a bad reputation in some toxic diet culture circles for its place on the glycemic index, but says it’s 90 percent water, which contributes to the proper hydration needed to maintain good energy levels and focus. “It also contains a unique compound called L-citrulline, which has been linked to reduced muscle soreness after exercise,” Cassetti says. Really, the list goes on and on for every type of fruit – yes, even the other “high sugar” ones like grapes and bananas. “I am very pro-fruit, and I never worry about consuming it,” Cassetti says. “I always add that carbs are team players, and I love pairing roasted walnuts with fruit. You get all that vitamin C and fiber from the fruit, plus a few grams of protein and fiber, plus magnesium and omega-3 vegan ALA from the walnuts.”
Myth 2: Artificial sweeteners are the best substitute for real taste
Since artificial sweeteners like Splenda and aspartame are relatively new to the culinary and food science scene, research has taken some time to catch up. While a food label might make diet soda or packaged sugar-free candy seem like a healthy option, Cassetti says she’s not sure. “I tend to avoid artificial sweeteners most of the time, including the stuff in blue-yellow-pink packages that are often in diet drinks,” she says. They cut out added sugar for now, but over time, studies have indicated that It may actually undermine the body’s response to insulin Which may lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.”
Cassetti says that while these drinks have been promoted to help manage blood sugar and overall health, emerging research shows they may do the opposite. She points out that most of the research that’s done is epidemiological, meaning that the links show association rather than causation — and adds that there are many studies pointing in the same direction at this point that the links may be true. While Cassetti says that for some, choosing one diet drink per day for a certain period may be beneficial if you’re trying to cut out soda and usually consume several servings a day, it’s best to avoid artificial sugars entirely. Plus, there’s a lot of satisfaction to be found in your favorite candy made with real sugar, right?
Myth 3: Natural sugars in foods like honey and maple syrup do not count toward your total sugar intake
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest myths about sugar – there is a lot of confusion surrounding natural sweeteners other than fruit. Maple syrup, honey, and date syrup have recently been touted as “healthy alternatives” to refined sugar. Cassetti says these types of sweeteners are what you reach for in person most often with your morning cup of coffee or give your oats a boost, because they’re healthier. to me some degree Due to its content of antioxidants and the presence of biologically active substances. However, according to Cassetti, these sweeteners still count toward your daily intake of added sugars and should be consumed in moderation.
“I pay more attention to the overall ingredients on a food label about where the sugar comes from,” Cassetty says. “I’m looking forward to seeing that it’s mostly made with whole foods and how many added sugars.” She is a great example of this This is fruit bars. While the sugar content may seem high, it is made without any sugar added The sugars and the only ingredient is fruit, so it’s a great option for an on-the-go snack that won’t count toward your sugar intake. However, a packaged cookie—yes, even if it’s vegan and/or gluten-free—will count toward the amount of added sugars if there’s sugar, maple syrup, honey, or any other sweetener.
Cassetti also mentions that people often forget a common thing about natural sugar: lactose, which is found in all dairy products. (And similar to the natural sugar found in fruit, lactose is not associated with the negative health outcomes caused by added sugar.) also Being one of the biggest offenders in terms of added sugars, so be sure to check the label for products low in added sugars. Her favorite brand is Siji Because it says it’s the only major brand of yogurt known to have a range of options where the intake of added sugars is controlled. There should only be a few extra grams above the lactose, so watch labels with as much or more sugar as a scoop of ice cream.
Myth 4: Consuming anything that contains sugar will send my blood sugar into a roller coaster
incorrect. “First of all, blood sugar responses vary from person to person,” Cassetti says. “Regardless of your personal body response, I will say again that carbohydrates are players on the team. Whether it’s oatmeal or a piece of fruit, pairing it with other whole foods—particularly those with protein, fat, and/or fiber—is a great strategy if you’re You’re trying to control your blood sugar.”
How to manage your sugar intake without becoming obsessed
If you haven’t been advised of the need to be concerned about your blood sugar by a healthcare professional but still think you may exceed the daily recommendation for added sugar too often, Cassetti believes in a simple (but personalized) approach to sugar management. “My business is very much customer-centric, so people decide for themselves how much sugar they want to consume. However, excessive sugar intake can be linked to everything from mental health conditions to stomach aches.” “I would suggest a tiered approach where people think about the foods they consume most often that contribute to higher intake. These are usually sugary drinks like soda, iced tea or fancy coffee as well as desserts, granola bars, cereal, and flavored yogurt.”
From there, Cassetti suggests alternatives to some of these foods, such as replacing fruit gum with a serving of dried fruit without added sugar a few days a week to give you that sweetness and texture without adding sugar, or mixing 75 percent of your favorite sugary cereal with 25 percent of your grain free. of sugar until you can reach a ratio of 50-50 or less. Your taste buds are adaptable, she says, and a step-by-step approach can help make managing added sugars a less difficult task.
“Also remember that your health is never about one thing,” Cassetti says. “It is never just about sugar. Eating balanced meals at routine times to conserve energy and prevent early hunger is essential, as is listening for your hunger and fullness cues to stay present throughout your meal. Also, it is about getting moving, assessing your sleep, and practicing stress management because it will be of great interest to you. It’s really hard to manage your sugar intake if you’re not sleeping well or you don’t have the tools to deal with stress.” Talk about the words to live by.
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