Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reading Food Labels to Avoid Too Much SUGAR!

We've already established that I'm a sugar addict. I tried to commit to a sugar fast. Don't ask me how it's going. After caving the first time, let's just say I haven't gotten back on the no-sugar-bandwagon.

I'm about to re-commit myself. Why? Because I'm convinced that the only way you can really "spot reduce" is by controlling what goes into the mouth. I'm often asked questions such as: "How do I lose my love handles?" "How can I get rid of belly fat?" etc. I've already ranted about certain workout myths, such as the myth that doing lots of crunches will give you a flat tummy. In my opinion, crunches are usually counter productive. But that's another post for another day.

Most of us just don't spend enough time working out, if we're to have the freedom to eat whatever we want all. the. time. (if we want to look how we want). This is where diet is crucial! Yes, exercise is a #1 priority. But we are normal people with normal lives. I'm one of those people who actually really loves working out. But I love spending time with people, doing other things even more. As a wife-baby mama-housekeeper-chef-chauffer-part time personal trainer-teacher-church-goer-friend- neighbor-blogger, I can't work out any longer than the time I've already allotted myself. In fact, if we're being honest, I probably am much less productive in other areas of my life because of my daily workout routine.

This is where diet really plays a major role. How you look is largely determined by what you eat. LARGELY determined. I'm going to go out on a limb and say PROBABLY more than exercise. I work out a lot. According to my Heart Rate Monitor (with which I'm obsessed!), I burned around 3,500 calories last week. But I probably ate enough junk to balance out the calorie deficit.
SO, if we mommies want to lose our mummy tummies for good, we have to be disciplined low-sugar-occasional-indulging eaters. Here are a few hidden sources of those darn sweeteners to watch out for:
  1. READ THE LABELS. You have to know what to watch out for! Sugar isn't JUST sugar. If the label says any of the following, watch out! Maltose, dextrose (glucose), fructose, fruit juice concentrate, corn sweetener, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, malt syrup, and brown rice syrup.
  2. FAT-FREE DOES NOT MEAN LOW SUGAR! If something is low fat or fat-free, higher amounts of processed sugar are often added to make up for the missing flavor created by the missing fat!
  3. EASY ON THE SAUCE! My husband loooovvvves sauce. He was leery when I first introduced him to Heinz Organic Ketchup. But once he tasted it, he could NOT tell the difference. So many sauces we eat on a regular basis are packed with sugar! Barbecue, spaghetti, hot sauces, ketchup, and relish to name a few. More than half of the calories often come with added sugar. Look for low (or no) sugar options, like my ketchup. Otherwise, lighten up, and always request sauce and dressing on the side!
  4. WATCH OUT FOR "ALL-NATURAL". This healthy-sounding terminology really doesn't mean jack! There are no guidelines for it's use, so READ THE LABEL. Many supposedly "all-natural" items are loaded with refined sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup.

So I'm re-committing to having a sugar-free month in April! Wanna join me? How do you control your sugar cravings and intake?


Michael said...

I think I'll put a little extra effort in that category. I'm not gonna go off, but I can definitely hold off on the Swedish Fish.

Evelyn and Art said...

Fine, I'll do it too, but it will start (for me) the day after Easter since I will be in NC up until that point. I can't resist Southern Food and that stuff is LOADED with sugar! I'll do it though! Good luck to me!

Erin said...

I thought I was eating healthy this week and opened a can of tomato soup to go with my salad and light vinegrette dressing. I started reading the soup label and discovered that Campbell's tomato soup has high fructose corn syrup!!! Really? Sugar in my soup? I guess I'm gonna have to go homemade....ugh....

Just wondering what you think of a diet with lots of lean protein and fruits and veggies. I have had 3 of my friends who I already thought were skinny drop 30 pounds each. It took them 6 weeks of strict protein fruits and veggies, but now they look amazing. Just wondering what you thought diet guru. I'm trying so hard to lose weight and have found the scale being not nice and actually gaining weight. I've been off of sugar for 2 weeks (well except for the 1 bowl of soup I didn't know had sugar!!!) and I've gained 4 pounds. I've increased my workouts from 30 minutes to 60 and I only eat fruits and veggies and 2 slices of whole grain bread per day. If you can't tell, I'm uh, a little bugged at my body right now!! ARGH!!! I'm 2 seconds away from throwing this diet out the window because I'm killing myself just to gain weight? And no, I haven't lost any inches either...I think my age might be catching up with me....whoa...sorry this is too long.

Bonnie and Brian Wayne said...

AMEN - this is seriously what I preach ALL the time. SUGAR is the all-time contributor to LOVE HANDLES, SPARE TIRES, THICK WAIST SYNDROME, etc...no matter how much you "work out" - especially once you get past a certain age.

And good for ME to know there is a Low-NO sugar Ketchup. I was NOT aware, but I LOVE Ketchup.


Aly said...

I think that it would be helpful if we could see an example menu of what you would eat in a day without sugar! I was able to stick to it for a couple of weeks (with free days), but I fell off the wagon big time! I NEED NEW IDEAS OF WHAT TO EAT!!!

P.S. I LOVE SUGAR!! But I would really like to be thinner:)

Diane said...

This was really a good post. I think we all just need to be re-educated about the foods we eat. I seem to be able to make it about 3 days on the no sugar thing. I'm a wimp!

Lindy Merkley said...

Hmmm, great topic ;) I'm lucky if I can go 3 hours without eating some form of sugar, but I really, really, really want a smaller waistline. . . can you send me a pic of your disappointed face and I'll tape it to my fridge, pantry, closet (where I hide the candy), car (where I keep even more candy) and my mom's front door, where lets face it. . . mom's cooking. . . full of delicious, not-so-nutritious, goodness!

Jill said...

I know I need to eat a lot less sugar. You sound a lot like me. I work out (pretty hard, if I do say so myself) for at least 45 minutes 6 days a week, and my weight is good, but I still have the belly fat. I know the only way to get rid of it is to eat less sugar. When I try substituting fruits when I get cravings for sweets, and I stick to it for a few days, I will lose a little weight and my belly will be flatter. I just can't seem to stay away from sugar for long though. I justify it because I work out so much, but I know I need to have a better diet. Thanks for the post. Maybe it will help me recommit myself to having a healthier diet.

Tami H. said...

Corn syrup is in everthing! Actually many people develop allergies to corn because it they sneak corn syrup in so much stuff and corn is in so many products (even shampoos etc), so its very hard to give the body a break. Bottled spahgetti sauce often has 10 grams sugar per serving, vinagarette's often have 7 grams of sugar.

Non -sugary snack ideas:

Hummus on plain rice-cakes,
Dip veggies in hummus (its super cheap if you make your own)

Natural no sugar added peanut butter on carrot sticks, apples or plain rice cakes.

String cheese

slice up tofu - place on skillet that has a layer of olive oil spray, add a little salt , satay on both sides, and mmmmm, its like chips but better for you!

So, reach for protien instead of sugar or drink a few glasses of water (which your body needs anyway)