Have you ever taken the time to examine the food labels of packaged and processed foods you can find at most grocery and convenience stores? By simply taking a look the carbohydrate and sugar content, it is easy to see that sugar is everywhere. Of course, we all know that sugar is contained in items like candy bars, cookies, snack cakes, donuts, and the like. Naturally occurring sugars are present in fruits and most root vegetables. These are things that most of us know. However, when you take a look at labels it is shocking to see just how many products contain sugar. For example, you can find added sugar in canned pasta sauce. Salad dressings, flavored yogurt, even whole wheat bread contain added sugar. You try to eat clean healthy foods, but if you are not careful, sugar sneaks in without any warning.
We have all been told time and time again to avoid processed foods and the excess sugars that come with them. Sugar, it turns out, could be a health crisis of its own. We already know that it contributes to the obesity epidemic faced by our country, however, emerging science suggests that added sugar has a profound effect on cardiovascular health. A 2014 article published in JAMA Internal Medicine
found that there is a link between excess processed sugar consumption and cardiovascular disease resulting in death. The statistics show that the sugar calories consumed by the average American make up ten percent of their daily caloric intake. Ten percent of the population consumes even more than this. Because of the ways food companies include sugar in foods that most of us assume are sugar free, it can make it harder for the population to differentiate between foods that contain sugar and foods that don’t.
So, how can you be an informed consumer? First, try to eliminate as many packaged and processed foods from your diet as possible. This may seem like a daunting task but it is well worth the effort. You do not have to make sweeping changes all at once. Try going through your pantry and refrigerator and reading labels first. Get an idea of what you are currently consuming and use that knowledge to help you the next time you visit the grocery store. Perhaps one week you eliminate chips and crackers. Once you get accustomed to this way of eating, get rid of the sugar snacks and sweet treats. This is a process that will take time, but you can do it!
Next, be an informed consumer. Did you know that sugar has many different names? The American Heart Association has a great article on what to look for when it comes to decreasing the amount of added sugar you consume. Be on the lookout for terms like: high fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, honey, malt sugar, and corn syrup, just to name a few. Once you are familiar with the terminology it becomes easier to spot added sugars in the foods you eat every day.
You do not have to be a victim to the food industry. You can make wise choices when it comes to the foods you consume with a little effort on your part. Advanced Surgical and Weight Loss Institute wants to see our patients live long and healthy lives. Knowledge truly is power, especially when it comes to your health. If you have questions about permanent weight loss via bariatric surgery in Melbourne, FL, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.