Sugar Vs. Added Sugar

You may have been wondering, what is the difference between naturally occurring sugar and added sugar?  Naturally occurring sugar is sugar found in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and milk. Added sugar is sugar that is added to processed foods and drinks, such as breads, sauces, and sodas.

Nutrition

Nutritionally speaking, there is a vast and important difference between foods that have naturally occurring sugar and foods that have added sugar. Foods that contain naturally occurring sugar are often a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. These foods cause a slow and steady rise in blood sugar, which is ideal for sustaining energy levels. This is because the fiber helps slow digestion and extends the release of energy.

Comparatively, foods high in added sugar often lack fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and are laden with excess calories and saturated (unhealthy) fat. Eating foods high in added sugar and fat and low in fiber will lead to an energy burst followed closely by an energy crash. This is because with high levels of added sugar, blood sugar levels sky rocket. Without fiber (or protein) to help slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, digestion progresses quickly and a “sugar crash” is imminent.

Sources of Added Sugar

The major sources of added sugars in American diets are regular soft drinks, candy, cakes, cookies, pies, and fruit drinks (e.g. fruit punch, juices with added sugar); dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles). It can be difficult to know how much sugar is added versus naturally occurring. One rule of thumb is that if the food/drink doesn’t have a nutrition label (e.g. whole fruit), then it doesn’t have any added sugar. You will find foods like these in the produce section of the grocery store. Plain milk, plain Greek yogurt, cheese, and meat are examples of foods that may have a nutrition label, but do not contain added sugar.

Thankfully, the new nutrition label guidelines will make it easier to differentiate between naturally occurring sugar and added sugar. Most food manufactures will have until 2018 to comply with the new regulations. In the meantime, stick to whole foods if you want to avoid added sugar.

Moderation

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that provides energy to fuel the body…. Why does it have such a bad reputation if it is an energy source for the body? The problem with sugar in today’s world is that most people are consuming way too much of it. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. This far exceeds the 2015-2020 dietary Guidelines for Americans which recommends no more than 10% of daily calories come from added sugar. Notice the guidelines are for added sugar rather than naturally occurring sugar.

If you are interested in sweet alternatives to high added sugar foods, check out this Army H.E.A.L.T.H. blog.

5 Healthy Recipe Substitutions

Eating a healthy diet doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice taste or texture. Enjoying your favorite foods while also making some healthy swaps is possible! Cutting down on calories, saturated fat, and sugar, are just a few ways to tweak your diet. The best part is that most people (e.g. picky kids or spouse) may not even notice the difference.

1) Fruit or vegetable puree for vegetable oil

Swapping fruit or vegetable puree (e.g. unsweetened applesauce, pumpkin puree, mashed bananas, or mashed avocado) for vegetable oil in baked goods is one of the easiest ways to cut calories and saturated fat. This substitution works well with both homemade goods, such as zucchini bread, and box goods, such as whole grain blueberry muffins. The texture remains light and fluffy and the flavor remains sweet!

2) Unsweetened applesauce for sugar

This is a great one for people with type II diabetes or anyone who is looking to reduce the amount of sugar in a baked goods recipe. The applesauce adds just enough sweetness without adding all the extra calories that sugar contains. Just be sure to reduce the amount of liquid by 1/4 cup for every cup of applesauce you substitute. This will help the recipe to maintain the proper consistency. The substitution works greats for oatmeal raisin cookies

3) Rolled oats for breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs usually pack a hefty amount of sodium and added fat. Replacing breadcrumbs with oatmeal not only reduces the sodium and fat, but the oatmeal is a good source of fiber, iron, manganese, B vitamins, selenium, and tryptophan. Make sure to use rolled oats if you want to maintain the crunchy texture of breadcrumbs. Quick oats are more processed and, therefore, cook more quickly……which may lead to a soggy dish. This substitute works great for recipes like meatloaf and casseroles.

4) Mashed avocado for mayo

This recipe swap is a beloved one for many people who have already discovered how delicious it is! If you do a side by side nutritional comparison of avocado vs. mayo, avocado is clearly the champ! Additionally, avocado complements almost any dish!

 

 

5) Pureed frozen fruit for ice cream

Whether you’re looking to reduce calories or sugar, or add in more nutrients…frozen fruit ice cream has the same creamy texture as ice cream, without all the “extras”. Simply puree your favorite fruit (e.g. bananas, strawberries, blueberries, or mango). Add your favorite milk (cow, coconut, almond, cashew, soy, etc.) for an even creamier texture. Adding a little pure vanilla extract will make for an even richer, more full flavor. But, rest assured, your frozen fruit “ice cream” will taste delightful even without anything added to it.  

 

News Roundup: Added Benefit of Breastfeeding for Mom

The benefits of breastfeeding to both mom and baby have been well establish for some time. Benefits to the baby include improved immunity, decreased risk of obesity later in life, and higher IQ. Well established benefits to mom include faster recovery from labor (including weight loss and uterus returning back to pre-pregnancy size), bonding with baby, and reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. But, a new study adds solid evidence for another benefit to mom, reduced risk of type II diabetes later on.

This week’s news roundup brings to you a collection of articles related to the recent study that demonstrates additional benefits of breast feeding to mothers.

Breast is Best! Breastfeeding Found to Reduce Risk of Diabetes. Modvive. “As far as mom is concerned, breastfeeding has been found in some studies to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. An added benefit for new mothers is that, as breastfeeding burns calories, it may help new mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight. In a recent study, researchers investigated the link between breastfeeding and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

New Studies Show How Moms Also Benefit From Breast-Feeding. ABC News. “One study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine studied 1,035 women who had developed gestational diabetes while pregnant. The condition is associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes post pregnancy. The women in the study, however, were up to 50 percent less likely to develop diabetes later on if they breast-fed their child.”

Benefits Of Breastfeeding Are Not Limited To The Baby; It May Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk In Some Mothers, Too. Medical Daily. “"These findings highlight the importance of prioritizing breastfeeding education and support for women with gestational diabetes as part of early diabetes prevention efforts by health care systems," said lead author Dr. Erica Gunderson in a statement. According to Gunderson, both the level of intensity and the duration of breastfeeding could offer unique benefits to protect women against type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes.”

Two more reasons to breastfeed: It may reduce moms’ cancer and diabetes risk. The Washington Post. “Most of the focus on the benefits to mothers has been on psychological effects such as strengthening the maternal bond. But a growing number of new studies provide evidence that breastfeeding may have a strong physical effect as well by cutting the women's risk of diabetes and cancer.”