I never want to call people out on what they’re eating. I purely love to share what I’ve learned because it’s been so eye opening to me and how food effects the way you feel. I feel confident it will be for you too (if not already) as you learn more about highly processed foods and discover the feelings and long-term health problems that come from consuming them; especially over an extended period of time.
I chose this topic because I want to bring awareness to popular food items that are definitely not in the “healthy” category. Most of us eat these foods on a daily basis (including our kids!) without knowing they are loaded with sugar. So, let’s clear the air here on a few of these items that can sometime be termed “healthy”.
I’d like to point out, when I are referring to sugars, I am talking about added sugars (like white sugar, maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, and corn syrup); not natural sugars found in fruit, vegetables, and dairy products).
But, to even have a second thought to the amounts of sugar we consume, we have to know why is sugar a problem? Notice, I didn’t say “why is sugar bad?”. Because some sugar is okay. 🙂 Yay! (Don’t take my birthday cake from me!) But, it’s crossing the threshold to excessive sugar intake regularly, when serious problems can occur (and most of do!):
Short-term effects of over-consuming sugar:
- afternoon fatigue crash
- chronic fatigue
- makes you feel hungry all the time
- makes you feel like an energy starved zombie
- heightens ADD
- brain fog
- ages your skin and body quicker
- and so much more.
Long-term effects of over-consuming sugar:
- type 2 diabetes
- heart disease
- insulin instability (sugar cycle)
- chronic fatigue
- brittle hair, nails, and skin
- and so many more diseases and illnesses.
Let me share a truth bomb with you: None of us are excluded from the ill-effects listed above unless you take intentional action on your diet toward eating unprocessed real-foods as the foundation of your lifestyle. Most of us unknowingly consume WAY more than the Recommended Daily Allowance. This is simply because food is not what it once was 100 years ago.
There are so many reasons as to why the food we consume now is so different, but the single thing that can impact yours and your family’s health is paying attention to SUGAR CONSUMPTION. Because when you do this, you automatically eliminate a lot of the other highly processed ingredients that come in those foods. Kill two birds with one stone! (My kind of a win!) If this sounds like something you’re on board to action on, then, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to snatch my mini-guide: 5 Ways to Combat Sugar to Boost Energy.
Honestly, I don’t prefer the negative undertone of the above lists, so let’s quickly point out the beautiful things that happen when you don’t over-consume sugar:
- clear complexion
- flat stomach
- energy 😉
- insulin stability (no more energy, crash, energy, crash symptoms)
- mood stability
- healthy skin, nails, and hair
- happier kids
- mental clarity
- more confidence
- not being run by your food
- you’ll sleep better
- you’ll be able to work out more easily
- and WAY more I could list.
Gah! Where do I sign up, right!? 😛
Finally, let me share with you 5 “Healthy” Foods that are Loaded with Sugar:
1.) CLIF BARS/Z BARS
I remember always feeling like these were a health-nut’s snack. Well, that’s exactly what they want you to think. While they have some (not all) decent unprocessed ingredients, it does not make up for the level of added sugars. 12g for 2 bars? That’s 3 tsp of sugar just in a little granola bar. For women, that’s 1/3 the amount of sugar that’s recommended (9 tsp/day). I don’t know about you, but I’d rather my sugar in a treat than a snack. But, I’m not saying I’d never eat a Clif bar, I’m saying to pick your sugary foods wisely. Keep this listed in your head as a treat…not a snack. 🙂 Larabars are a great replacement item for these and have tons of flavors. Don’t love the flavor? Try another. You can also make your own so you can control the sugar amounts and include natural ingredients.
2.) TUBES OF YOGURT
Over the years, I’ve been blown away by all the sleazy ingredients they’ve put into yogurt. Especially kids yogurt…of all yogurts! Kids need real food more than ever! While there are so many things concerning about these yogurts, today we will stick to the one ingredient that topic focused. 8g of sugar in 1 tube. That’s 2 tsp of sugar with just that tiny amount of yogurt! For most little kids, that’s already more than half of the amount of added sugars they are having in a day. And, we all know that yogurt tubes are far from being the only thing they eat with sugar all day.
3.) STORE-BOUGHT WHOLE GRAIN BREAD
Really? Whole grain Bread? YES! And let’s be clear here…most breads that say “whole grain” on the front of the bag really mean: “We use some whole grains in this bread, but still include refined grain a lot too”. Sad, right? Almost all bread at mainstream grocery stores are refined, highly processed bread. You’re safest to make your own or find a local bakery that only uses entirely whole grains for real or buy Ezekiel bread in the refrigerated section at your grocery store. When I’m really rushed for time and money, I buy “Dave’s Killer Bread” at Coscto. You’ll see me doing all of these ways from time to time.
Let’s talk the sweet stuff. 3g for 1 slice. That’s almost 1 tsp per slice of bread. What do you think? Do you want 2 tsp coming from your sandwich bread? I don’t!
Side Note: While this may seem like a small amount, our sugars can add up quickly and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want me eating a sandwich to be 1/4 of the the amount of sugar I should have a in a day (to fee well). Not to mention, it’s almost tipping point for kids! GAH!
This one is a shocker! I love apple sauce cups for my kids (especially school lunches). So, we have them regularly. But, not all applesauces are the same! Let me share with you what I look for in order to buy quality applesauce that will be good for your kids and not be a total sugar rush.
Unsweetened, organic applesauce is the best (Coscto sells this). But “unsweetened” is the magical word to ensure your’e not buying sugar-filled applesauce. So, many of us think we are buying a healthy snack, when we are really buying a dessert. This popular brand below shows 25g in 1/2 cup! While a small portion of this is natural sugars, it is confirmed in the ingredient’s label with the second ingredient being high fructose corn syrup. WOW! In applesauce? Who would of guessed! I really want to trust these big name brands to be good food for my family, but boy are they losing my trust…what about you?
5.) SALAD DRESSING
We all try to include more salad into our lifestyle to be healthy and to feel well. That’s awesome! Leafy greens are a powerhouse for nutrients, fiber, vitamins, a whole lot more. But, don’t diminish their amazing benefits by smothering your salad with a crappy dressing! Not only are these bottles full of highly processed ingredients, they are filled with sugar. 🙁
Making your own salad dressing isn’t time-consuming or overwhelming as it can seem. Most of my homemade dressings consists of a bottle to shake up all the ingredients and 3-4 ingredients that I dump into the bottle. Real is my game, simple is my game. 😛
*KID TIP: If transitioning over to homemade dressings, add in 1-2 tsp. of 100% maple syrup so they still get that sweetness they’re expecting. Over time, you can pull back to help bridge the gap from sugary dressings to real dressings.
WHEW! Can you see how by just having every day items, our added sugars quickly can add up! This hasn’t been as big of a problem as it is now because processed foods are at an all-time high. Never in history has there been so much convenience-junk food. But, you can have some say in this….you can choose what you put in your body by getting the upper-hand on added sugars.
I hope you learned something new and can put it to use! Don’t forget to check out my mini-guide on 5 Ways to Combat Sugar Cravings to Boost Energy. Because who doesn’t need more energy?!
I hope you found this helpful! And if so, please share it….the more people know about this kind of stuff the better we can all feel. 🙂
What other healthy items have you seen that are loaded with sugars? <3
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