4 Simple Ways to Avoid Processed Sugar

Do you know that 75% of the food products you buy has added processed sugar in it? From spaghetti sauce to bread it adds up in your diet without you even noticing. You can change this and take control of what is in your food. Let’s talk about 4 simple ways to avoid processed sugar.

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The Negative Effects of Processed Sugar

First, let’s talk about why eliminating processed sugar from your diet is so important.

Immune system: Consuming sugar effects your white blood cell’s ability to fight off infections such as head colds and the flu. After eating sugar, you are more susceptible to getting sick. It is interesting that flu season is always around the holidays when everyone is consuming the most desserts.

Imbalanced gut: As a human your gut is made up of trillions of beneficial bacteria. Sugar throws this balance off which creates favorable conditions for unhealthy bacteria to populate. If you don’t have a healthy gut, you don’t have a strong immune system.

Inflammation: Sugar causes inflammation in the body usually in the back and joints. It can also irritate old injuries or arthritis that is already present in your body.

Addicting: Eating sugar causes your body to release the feel-good chemical called dopamine into your bloodstream activating the reward center of the brain. The more sugar you eat the more your brain wants the reward feeling. It becomes a cycle that is very hard to break.

4 Ways to Eliminate Processed Sugar

Changing your diet may seem overwhelming at first but educating yourself and following these 4 simple ways to eliminate processed sugar will help you achieve your goal in no time.

1) Become a Label Checker

To start, learn to be a label checker. On the back of the product there is a Nutrition Facts Label. This label lists the Total Sugars, and also Includes _g of added sugar. These two sections of the nutrition facts show you how many grams of naturally occurring sugars are in the product along with any added sugar. The added sugar is processed sugar (be aware that 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon)

Always read this label and the ingredients list to find the added sugars. If you want to learn more about how to understand and use the nutrition label, follow this link.

Note: The list of ingredients is ordered by the largest amount to the smallest amount used in the product. So, if sugar is the first or second ingredient you automatically know that there is a lot of sugar in this product.

2) Learn how to identify the names of Sugar

Sugar goes by many names on the ingredients list of food products. Some of the most common are:

  • Dextrose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Brown Rice syrup
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • High fructose corn syrup

Note: Any ingredient that ends in “ose” is usually another name for processed sugar.

3) Drop the Sugary Drinks

This is a simple concept but may be the hardest to put into practice. Many people are hooked on sugary drinks such as soda, juice, or specialty “coffee”. Yes, I put quotations around coffee because is it really coffee anymore with all of the added sugar?

Another example is fruit juice. Don’t be fooled by the front of the juice bottle telling you it is 100% juice. Turn the bottle around and read the nutrition facts label. If from juice concentrate is in the ingredients, your children are drinking sugar with fruit flavors.

Although water may seem boring at first, once you start drinking it regularly you will notice your taste buds change. Not only your taste buds change but your energy level will go up and your mind will sharpen. Your body NEEDS water and not all of the manmade drinks.

4) Find Alternatives or Make Your Own

While some foods are marketed as healthy, they are actually full of added processed sugars. Find brands that do not contain added sugars or learn how to make your own.

Yogurt: Flavored yogurt, especially low fat, can have up to 45 grams of added sugar which is 11 teaspoons! Choose whole milk plain yogurt instead or better yet learn how to make your own. Add fresh fruit and enjoy a delicious treat.

Salad Dressing: Salad dressings can contain 13 grams of added sugar (3 tsp) per serving. Learn to make your own salad dressing at home or check the labels at the store to find a low sugar version.

Breakfast Cereal: Breakfast cereals can have as much added sugar as a doughnut. It is no wonder children have trouble focusing on school when they started their day with a bowl full of sugar. Choose healthier versions with less added sugar or ditch the cereal altogether and make a high protein breakfast instead.

Juice: An orange only contains about 2 oz. of juice, which means a small 8 oz. glass of orange juice uses the juices of 4 oranges. The problem with fruit juice is that it is missing the fiber that the whole fruit provides. Because of this the juice spikes your blood sugar. Instead of a glass of juice try eating the whole fruit instead.

Our Story

I can personally attest to several positive results from eliminating processed sugars out of my life. Before I quit processed sugars, I would have sugar crashes in the afternoon. I was always exhausted come 2:00 pm and I did not have the energy that I needed to continue the day with small children, one which was autistic.

Also, I suffered depression and brain fog. My mind was not clear, and I would always push off activities because I just could not handle it mentally. I also had heartburn all of the time no matter what I ate, I was miserable.

When my youngest daughter turned three years old, she developed eczema. I figured out, by trial and error, that when she ate items with processed sugar in them, she would have a flare up. I started to change our diet little by little by either making homemade versions of our favorites or finding alternatives from the store.

Fast forward to the present time. We only use honey and maple syrup in our baked goods, and I have seen a huge difference. I have much more energy, no brain fog, no depression, and no more heartburn. My youngest daughter no longer has eczema. All the work to change our diet has been completely worth it.

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