Sweet treats have a hold on you (a tight grip, even).
You're addicted to sweets and you reach for them when you're stressed, tired or emotional. You keep sweets in the home for your family, but you end up eating them yourself and never fully escaping sugar's hold over you. It's a never-ending cycle!
Continually feeding your body sugar (even without knowing it) only makes you crave sweets even more...
And your relentless sweet tooth is keeping you from losing weight, getting healthy and feeling comfortable in your own skin.
What do you do?
Well, understanding how sugar disguises itself in your everyday food and how it affects your body is the first step in getting rid of it for good!
In my 7-Day Sugar Detox for the 17 Day Diet, I go through the exact steps on how to get rid of your sugar cravings.
Sugar makes its way into our food using several different names. If you're not familiar with the sneaky tactics it uses to stay incognito, chances are you're eating more sugar than you care to.
Sugar is one of the leading causes for weight gain and one of the reasons you can't lose weight as easily and quickly as you'd like to!
If you're eating a lot of processed foods (including those pre-package frozen "diet" dinners, for instance), then chances are you're eating sugar!
Before we get into the sneaky names sugar uses in our foods, here's a quick lesson on what sugar is.
Sugars in all forms are simple carbohydrates. Your body converts these into glucose and uses it for energy.
How your body reacts to sugar largely depends on what type of sugar you’re consuming — natural or refined.
Natural vs. Refined Sugar
Natural sugars are present in fruits, vegetables, dairy products and other whole foods and plants.
Refined sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets and is processed to extract the sugar. Here’s a quick overview of the process of refined sugar by Livestrong.com:
Sugar manufacturing involves the process called refining, during which impurities and colored components are removed. The starting product, called raw sugar, is softened and dissolved, then the components are separated to yield the white, pure sugar recognized as table sugar, or pure sucrose. Although refined sugars are believed by many to be the basic table sugar that we add to coffee or tea, there are actually a number of different types. Granulated sugar is the most common type of refined sugar.
How Sugar is Metabolized in the Body
Natural sugars from fruits and vegetables metabolize differently than refined sugars found in processed foods.
Your body breaks down refined sugar pretty rapidly and causes blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. Because refined sugar has no nutritional value, these foods often do not fill you up, regardless of how many calories you consume from refined sugar.
Whereas, natural sugars found in foods such as cheese, fruits and non-starchy vegetables, are digested more slowly. These types of foods keep you full because of protein and fiber content. For example, the fiber in an apple slows down the metabolism of sugar, and the fruit expands in your stomach and keeps you fuller longer and therefore you don’t experience spikes in blood sugar.
Common Types of Sugar
Here are the most common types of sugar and where they are found:
- Fructose - found in fruits and honey
- Galactose - found in milk and dairy products
- Glucose - found in honey, fruits and vegetables
- Lactose - found in milk, made from glucose and galactose
- Maltose - found in barley
- Sucrose - made up of glucose and fructose and found in plants
- Xylose - found in wood and straw
Artificial Sweeteners (aka the other "stuff" to avoid)
We won't go into a lot of detail here, but be aware that there are some artificial sweeteners to watch out for. There are various reports you can find online that discuss the pros and cons to using artificial sweeteners. The 17 Day Diet does not promote artificial sweetener use. Here are the main types of artificial sweeteners:
- Sucralose - Sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than sugar and the most well-known brand is Splenda.
- Aspartame - Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and popular brand names include NutraSweet and Equal.
- Saccharin - Saccharin is 300 - 500 times sweeter than sugar. A popular brand made with Saccharin is Sweet'N Low.
Sneaky Sugar Names
Here are a few of the many sneaky names Sugar uses to infiltrate your food:
Brown Rice Syrup
RECOMMENDED DAILY SUGAR CONSUMPTION
Now while the 17 Day Diet doesn't give us a specific number, the World Health Organization recommends we keep any added sugars, or what they refer to as "free sugars" less than 10% of our daily caloric intake.
To fully receive the health benefits of a low-sugar diet, WHO recommends sticking to an even lower number below 5% (or roughly 25 grams of sugar which equates to about 6 teaspoons per day).
"Free sugars" are those found in processed foods that are added in by the manufacturers, as well as honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. This does NOT include sugars naturally occurring in whole fruits and vegetables.
Your Personal Sugar Challenge:
After you download your cheat sheet below, open a kitchen cabinet or peek inside your refrigerator and count the number of processed foods (anything with a nutrition label counts). Check the nutrition label to see if any of the sneaky sugar names are present!