Starting on a weight loss journey can be really daunting. Your goal weight can seem so far in the distance that you feel that you will never be able to reach it. To help you stay on the path towards your weight loss goal, it is important to to educate yourself on what contributed to your weight gain in the first place. This will help you avoid falling into that trap again after you do reach your goal weight. They last thing you want is to put all the weight back on that you have lost.
The number 1 reason that people gain weight is that we as a society are consuming far too much sugar. To make it worse, most of the time we don't even know that we are eating a heap of sugar, because it is hidden in almost every food that we eat.
Lets look at some of the main culprits when it comes to hidden sugars:
1. Pasta Sauces
They taste savoury, not sweet -- but many have between 6 and 12 grams of sugar per half-cup serving! That’s what you would get from a chocolate chip cookie. The Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 100 calories of sugar per day (about 6 teaspoons' worth) and men consume no more than 150 calories of sugar (about 9 teaspoons). So that you are not consuming more sugar than you really want, be sure to check the nutrition label of your favourite marinara or Alfredo sauces for their sugar content. This will help you be more in control of what is in your meals, and will help you to better plan for yours and your families nutrition.
2. Granola/Muesli Bars
They sound like health food, but most of them have added sweeteners like corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, brown sugar syrup, dextrose, and fructose, which are not good for weight loss, and usually contain around 35% sugar content! Some even have a yogurt or chocolate coating, or chocolate chips, which can ramp up the sugars fast -- anywhere from 8 to 12 grams per serving. Just because it has oats or nuts in it, doesn't mean it's good for you.
You’ll get plenty of calcium and protein from yogurts, that's for sure, but even low-fat flavored yogurts can have 17 to 33 grams of sugar per 200gram serving (including those that are naturally found in the milk yogurt is made from). That’s about as much as 2 scoops (1 cup) of chocolate ice cream. Choose yogurts that are lower in sugar. Or, buy it plain and toss in the fruit of your choice for an even better alternative.
4. Salad Dressing
Sweet types, such as raspberry vinaigrette, French, and Catalina, have the most sugar -- about 5 to 7 grams in just 2 tablespoons of dressing. So watch how much you pour on your healthy salad. You may, inadvertently be loading it with sugar. A lower-sugar option is a light homemade vinegar and oil dressing, mixed with some lemon juice and herbs. It will have only about 1 gram of sugar in the same amount, taste great, and be better for you.
5. Breakfast Cereals
Yes, we all know that fruity kids’ cereals are high in sugar, but even healthier-sounding brands sneak sugar in as well. Many popular oat, corn, and bran cereals have 10-20 grams (or more) of sugar per cup. No matter what the front of the box promises, read the ingredients label and nutrition facts panel so you know exactly what you’re getting.
So, what is the answer? For most of us these foods are a staple of our diets, particularly if we have kids. But there are some good solutions and other alternatives if you are aware, and if you look for them. One trick to avoid the hidden sugars is to shop on the outside of the store (where the food is fresh and unpackaged). The more pre-packaged food you buy the more hidden sugars you are consuming. It's as simple as that.