We all have to be careful when it comes to the amount of sugar in our diet. It can be hard to avoid because it sneaks it's way into most packaged foods like baked goods, bread, crackers, granola bars (some brands of "healthy" snack bars have 20g of sugar! That's almost all your recommended sugar per day: 24g or 6 tsp.) and condiments.
When you eat sugar, your pancreas secretes insulin to manage the glucose so your body can use it as energy. Excess glucose that isn't used for energy is stored as fat. When diets are high in sugar, insulin is constantly being released, which can eventually lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and other health issues (1). Also, insulin is a hormone, which in excess can cause other hormones like estrogen to become imbalanced (2). Too much sugar can also affect our mood, energy levels and sleep quality (3).
If you feel like something sweet, add natural sugar from fruit with the skin on. The skin of fruits and vegetables are a source of insoluble fibre. This type of fibre sits in our intestines, ferments and promotes the growth of probiotics. Also, anytime you pair sugar with fibre, it slows the release of glucose into blood, keep it more stable. Using small amounts of natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or monkfruit in your baking, coffee or tea is also a good choice.
If you’re in a pinch, there are certain packaged foods that are health (ier) choices:
Hungry Buddha snack bars are gluten-free, a source of plant-based protein (10g pea protein), fibre (11g), and only have 2g of sugar (from monk fruit sweetener) per bar and include MCT oil (no vegetable oils or aspartame). MCT oil, is a type of saturated fat that the body uses for energy instead of storing. It also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and boost metabolism.
Simple Mills Fine Ground Sea Salt Almond Flour Crackers are gluten-free, include 0g of added sugar, and are made with a flour blend of almonds, sunflower seeds and flaxseed - all awesome sources of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. They taste great and pair perfectly with guac, hummus, or cottage cheese.
Chickapea pasta is made from organic chickpeas and lentils. It's high in plant-based protein (23g per 3.5oz. serving, which is as much as a 3oz. serving of chicken or salmon!), a source of fibre and has a low G.I. (glycemic index) value, meaning it won't spike your blood sugar levels.
Milkadamia nut milk is a source of healthy fats, low in calories and unlike dairy milk has 0g of sugar.
Crepini egg wraps are a source of protein with 0g of added sugar. Add your favourite wrap ingredients like tuna, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and hummus.
Silver Hills Sprouted bread is made from whole sprouted grains. Sprouted grains are easier to digest and high in fibre, which slows the release of sugar into the blood providing you with steady energy.