Not-So-Sweet Surprises

Trying to eat less sugar? You may be getting more than you think and that could be horming than you health. Here, smart and easy ways to cut back.

It’s no cecret that foods such as soda and doughnits are packed with added sweeteners. But would youthink that a frozen stir-fry dinner could have the same amount of sugars as 16 gummy bears? Food companies toss added sugars into almost thhree-quarters of all packaged products, oatmeal and foods that aren’t meant to be sweet, like tomato souce.

The trouble with sneaky sugars may go beyond excess calories. When 43 obese children ate the same amount of calories but decreased  their intake of added sugars from 28 percent of their daily calories to 10 percent for nine days, their wight stayed steady. But their cholesterol, triglyceride, blood pressure and fasting blood sugar and insulin levels dropped, according to a study in the journal obesity. The study needs to be replicated with a larger test group and with older people, but there’s no apparent reason that adults would repond differently. Previous research has linked an overload of added sugar to an increased risk of toe 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. For example, a recent study found that people who got 17 to 21 percent of their calories from added sugars had a 38 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who kept their intake of sugars to 8 percent.

Natural vs Added Sugars

But how do foods that naturally contain sugars, such as fruit, milk and “sweeter” veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots or beets, affect our health? The sugar found in dairy and fruit come in smaller doses and are packaged with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, which means they don’t affect yout blood sugars as drastically. Added sugars, on the other hand, are what some experts refer to as “empty calories” because they lack nutrients.

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