What do we mean by hidden sugar?
Most refined and highly processed foods have a lower nutrient value. As they typically are low in protein (essential amino acids) and micronutrients they have low satiety.
These foods (and drinks) are high in carbohydrate and/or fat.
All carbohydrate containing foods and drinks break down in your stomach and release glucose into your blood stream. Insulin is required to move the glucose to your muscles or cells.
Constant blood sugar spikes and high insulin levels can lead to insulin resistance, weight gain and other metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
To improve insulin sensitivity swapping the intake of highly refined carbohydrates for more nutritious foods is essential.
Eating highly processed or refined foods can also lead to other poor health outcomes such as:
- cavities forming, tooth decay and gum disease
- inflammation of organs and joints
- over-eating stimulated by carbohydrate response
- increased waist size or muffin top
- gaining weight
- wrinkles and aging of skin
- fluctuating energy levels
There are many foods found on supermarket shelves that we may not be aware aren’t healthy.
Let’s look at some of the most common foods and drinks:
- Breakfast cereals including granola and muesli – make your own from nuts and seeds.
- Mass produced breads, cakes, cookies, pasta – try home-made low-carb versions.
- Fruit smoothies and fruit juices – eat fruit, don’t drink it.
- Flavoured yoghurts – try natural Greek yoghurt and add a few berries. Yoghurt is considered weight-loss friendly so many over-eat.
- Veggie chips are often deep-fried in unhealthy vegetable oils – make your own baked chips from sweet potato.
- Salad dressings are loaded with sugar – make your own by mixing olive oil, lemon juice and minced garlic or dried herbs.
- Trail mixes may be considered a healthy and popular snack but have dried fruit which turns into a sugar pill – swap for hard cheese or celery sticks with peanut butter.
- Pasta sauces may taste savoury – try passata sauce instead.
- Energy drinks are sugar bombs – swap to water with lemon and lime.
- Packaged or cartons of fruit juice – eat fruit, don’t drink it.
- Sushi – make your own.
- Anything with a label that says: Fat Free, Low Fat, Reduced Fat – fresh is best.
You can also assume from the list above all are a poor source of protein.
Imported granola, muesli and many “protein” bars have misleading labelling – Australian and New Zealand made have much higher labelling standards.
Refined foods and drinks have many additives including sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Making small changes to what you eat and drink can not only be beneficial for your weight but also for your general health.
There is new research linking fresh and un-processed foods with better mental health outcomes as well. Remember the old saying “We are what we eat”. It’s hard to maintain good mental health and stable moods on a nutrient-poor diet.
Do yourself, your body, your mind, and your health a favour. Choose some of the foods above that you find yourself eating or drinking and remove them from your eating plan. To make this easier, remove them from your food environment, if you can. Clean out the fridge and pantry. If you can’t throw food away then regift it to someone.
Start by making small incremental adjustments to how you fuel your body and develop some new healthy habits.
Our habits shape our lives (and our bodies).
If you would like some help with making changes our coaches would love to help you. Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.