When it comes to sugar, there are so many reasons why we need to cut it right down in our diets, but it's the effect on blood sugar that I’m going to focus on today.
Whilst it’s not easy to cut out sugar from your diet, it is definitely worth aiming for, or at least significantly reducing it. And that’s not too hard when sugar is listed as an ingredient. But what about hidden sugars?
When we see ‘No Added Sugar’ we can be forgiven for thinking that there are no sugars in the product. But is this true? Apart from the horrible sweeteners that are used in its place, often products are loaded with very high amounts of more ‘natural’ sugars from things like dates, raisins, and grape juice concentrate, and whilst they may sound healthier, they still have the same effect on your blood glucose levels. And this in turn has an effect on all aspects of our health.
Those who have worked with me know that I focus heavily on the GL or Glycaemic Load of foods, because it’s the easiest and most accurate way to calculate the effect of a food on your blood glucose levels. It’s not 100% accurate of course, as we are all biochemically individual so how one person responds to a sweet food will be different to another, but it’s a good gauge, nonetheless.
So, what should we look for on a label?
Firstly, be aware of hidden sugars in the ingredients list. Look for dried fruits like dates and raisins, grape concentrate, honey and syrups such as agave. But also look for sweeteners which can have a big negative impact on our gut health and metabolism, things like sorbitol, sucralose and aspartame.
In the images below you can see the nutritional facts for a Granola and Whole Rolled Oats. You’ll see that for a 40g serving of granola, there is 23.3g of carbohydrate and 7.2g of which are sugars. A teaspoon of sugar is 4.2g so a serving of this is just under 2 teaspoons, so fairly high. If you look at the ingredients, a large proportion is Oats which are actually fairly low GL.
Now take a look at the Oats. For a 40g serving, there is 26g of Carbohydrate but just 0.4g of that is actual sugars. Oats are high in carbohydrate but actually fairly low GL, so they release glucose slowly and steadily into the blood, making them a great choice for energy levels and those wanting to lose body fat.
A serving of this granola is going to definitely affect your blood sugar more than a bowl of porridge as it has more sugars in it, but not as much as some sugar laden granolas on the market. If I was going to have the granola, I would put a couple of tablespoons with coconut yoghurt and berries, rather than eating 40g with milk; this would keep the GL levels low.
If you were to compare this with the back of a corn flakes, coco pops or another granola, you will see the stark difference in the amount of sugar in the product. Start to look at the ingredients on packets before putting them in your basket and try to be mindful of how much sugar you, and your family, are consuming.
I teach much more about blood sugar balance and low GL eating in my Self Study, Group and 1:1 programmes.
If you’d like to find out if they a good fit for you, message me, or book in for a discovery call.
Helping people to achieve optimal health and wellness - sharing simple nutritious recipes, tips and advice on how to improve your health through food, without compromising on taste.