You have been working on your diet and doing well. You are working towards a healthy diet and clean eating. You are even working toward goals like 5k runs or fitness competition. The problem is, your blood sugar levels are still not in a good range. You are confused because you have removed soda, processed sugars, and sweets. Now you are left with wondering where the sugar is coming from. Here are a few hidden sources of sugar and what you need to do to remove them from your daily diet.
The Problem: You may not think about coffee when you think about hidden sugars in your diet. The truth is, your one packet of sugar that you do not think about adding, can add up during the day. You can end up with a large amount of sugar if you drink several cups of coffee a day. On top of that, coffee drinks that are specialty drinks may have much larger amounts of sugar than you think. A grande Carmel Cloud Macchiato from Starbucks has 39g of sugar in it ! That is more than the recommended daily value. Now you can see how your daily caffeine fix may be sabatoging your weight loss goals.
The Fix: Order a black coffee and add some nut or oat milk along with Stevia or monk fruit for some sweetness. I am not a fan of the sugar free syrups due to them being sweetened with artificial sweeteners like Sucralose, which could lead to imbalances in your gut microbiome, so I would recommend steering clear of them.
The Problem: You may think that you are being healthy by picking up a juice instead of a soft drink. The truth about pre-made juices is that many of them are loaded with sugar and little to no fiber. And a lot of them contain a small percentage of juice combined with a large amount of sweeteners and sugars. Let's take a look at the popular juice brand, Naked Juice. A 15.2 oz bottle of Green Machine has 53 g of sugar in it. While it is naturally occurring sugar from fruit, the problem is that there is hardly any fiber in the product. When you eat a piece of fruit you are getting the natural sugar from the fruit, AND the naturally occurring fiber that is in the piece of fruit. The fiber plays an essential role in weight management and helps to promote a feeling of fullness. Without fiber, you are just consuming a pretty pricey bottle of sugar.
The Fix: Eat whole fruit and vegetables. If your must have a juice, make sure to do so in moderation.
The Problem: Frozen dinners rarely come to mind as a hiding spot for sugars. In many cases, sugars are used as more than just a sweetener for the small amount of dessert. Sugars can be found in most frozen dinners, even savory ones. For example, dinners like lasagna and meatloaf or salisbury steak have sugars in them to help sweeten sauces and gravy.
The Fix: Make your own frozen dinners and that way you know what is going into your pre-made food. It also gives you the option of having food on demand instead of making the choice to get something quick that can be heated but may be loaded with sugar.
Pre-Made Health Drinks
The Problem: Health drinks, like smoothies, are like pre-made juices. They may seem like a healthy choice and good idea, but they are not necessarily a good choice. Some smoothies contain sweetened milk as well as sugar based yogurts or fruits with very high natural sugar contents.
The Fix: Make your health drinks like protein based drink as well as smoothie at home. You know exactly what is going into your drinks and you can control the fruits and natural sugars. My favorite smoothie is frozen berries, frozen cauliflower, unsweetened nut milk, chia seed, 1 Tbsp nut butter, and a scoop of Truvani protein powder all blended up nicely. It is filling, delicious, and the protein will help to keep you fuller longer.
There are always an alternatives to sugar that are healthy. You do not have to go with a chemical sugar substitute either, there are some great naturally occurring options. Try out some of our fixes today and let us know how it goes!