The Sugar Lurking In Your Favorite Healthy Snacks

The Sugar Lurking In Your Favorite Healthy Snacks

If you’re curious how your favorite “healthy” snack bar stacks up to a serving of your favorite treats, this side by side comparison is going to be a rude awakening.

There are more than 100 different names and types of sweeteners and sugar sources out there.  Many of them are foreign to even the best trained RD’s, and there’s no doubt you are confused as well.

Most can’t believe that many of the top-selling “healthy” snacks have a similar sugar profile as a dessert. We’re talking about:

  • Energy and snack bars
  • Yogurt
  • Cereal
  • Granola
  • Juices
Added sweeteners are masters of disguise and we consume too much from all the various forms. But at the end of the day, sugar, whether organic or not, is sugar.

Why you should care

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sweeteners that may be chemically derived but may also be derived from “natural” sources. And they can be as much as 20,000 times sweeter than sugar but contain few or no calories.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding artificial sweeteners, but what we do know is this:

  1. We have a natural ability to regulate calories and weight based on taste and texture of food. Ingesting artificial sweeteners can interfere with this signal loop and cause overeating. Eating foods or drinks that are sweet but contain no calories “tricks” the brain into thinking that they should keep eating.
    • Diet Coke’s, calorie-free foods, Vitamin Water, anything labeled “sugar free” or “low-fat”, pasta sauces, salad dressings, ketchup, and the list goes on and on.
  2. If you eat something with artificial sweeteners, the body releases insulin but then doesn’t have any sugar to sweep away. This can cause low blood sugar. In turn, low blood sugar causes sugar and simple carb cravings, which takes you on the blood sugar roller coaster.
  3. Gut health is incredibly important to an overall healthy well-being. Artificial sweeteners increase the amount of specific gut bacteria that has already been linked to obesity in humans.
What you can do

There are a lot of things you can do to trick the body to get around the sugar addiction.  Here are some basic ways that are actually sustainable:

  1. Cut sugar cold turkey – sometimes you just have to yank the bandaid off.
  2. Get enough sleep – anything less than 7 hours and your body starts to crave sugar regardless your strong and determined nature.
  3. Become sugar aware – become skeptical about any “healthy” promise on the front of a package or labeled indirectly:
    1. Honey, agave, organic cane sugar and coconut sugar
    2. Sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, dehydrated cane juice, glucose, fructose, syrup, raw sugar
  4. If sugar and it’s extended family, is listed within the first 3 ingredients, run away.
  5. Daily Sugar Intake:
    1. Men: 37.5 grams
    2. Women: 25 grams
    3. Kids: Less than 25 grams.
      1. Even though they bring the true southern charm, you’ll have trouble eating a single one meal at Chick-fil-a under 25g!
Above any step you can take to adopt a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, this could be the most significant.
Brent Gallagher


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