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Could hidden sugars be sabotaging your health?


You probably already know how bad sugar is for you. However, it is likely you are having more sugar than you think thanks to sugars sneakily being slipped into our everyday foods right under our noses.


It is easy to over look these added sugars as they are typically hidden in products under a variety of tricky scientific names (fear not I will cover these soon). You would be shocked to know that I have found added sugars in things you would never think to look such as frozen chips!


So why is sugar bad for you again?

Sugar has been shown to contribute to the following health conditions:

- non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

- cardiovascular disease (CVD)

- type 2 diabetes (T2DM)

- obesity

- cognitive decline, and

- some cancers.


It can also affect your mental health. A diet high in added sugars has been found to exacerbate depressive behaviors and affect the way the body and the brain respond to stress.


Sugar also impairs the immune system and makes you more prone to falling sick with ills and chills.


So why even add sugar to food?

A lot of the time it is essentially down to making food taste more appealing. Sugar also is addictive as it acts on many of the same processes in the brain as hard drugs. So for many manufacturers this is an unspoken bonus to adding sugar to their products. Why wouldn’t they want you hooked on their foods.


Sugar can also act as a preserver or help in the fermenting process of breads etc. However, a lot of the time there really is no need for sugar to be added.


What can you do to avoid these hidden sugars sabotaging your health?

The first step is to become a bit of a label reader and hunt down those pesky added sugars.


Here are some of the names used for ingredients that are effectively just sugar:

  • corn sweetener

  • corn syrup

  • fruit juice concentrates

  • high-fructose corn syrup

  • invert sugar

  • malt sugar

  • molasses

  • maltodextrin

  • ethyl maltol

  • juice concentrate

  • rice syrup

  • barley malt

  • dextrin

  • maltodextrin

  • syrup sugar molecules ending in "ose" (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).


Some other steps I have found that have worked to help avoid unnecessary added sugar are:

  • avoiding processed foods

  • make your own flavourings at home, and

  • drinking water instead of flavoured drinks.


It is worth taking the time to actively look out and avoid these hidden sugars to help ensure you really are keeping your sugar intake in check and avoiding the dire consequences that too much sugar can have on your health.


Have a look in your pantry and let me know if you find an item that contains a hidden pesky sugar? You will probably come away surprised.


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