The first step in fixing your relationship with sugar is knowing what contains sugar and what doesn’t. Most of us, though we mean well and plan on keeping sugar to a minimum, aren’t quite sure what we should and shouldn’t eat to get closer to our goals, be it elite performance or a nice looking body. And so we end up eating a few too many sweet things assuming they don’t contain sugar, probably because it is natural or because it says sugar free on the box.

Here are 5 simple points that will make you smarter about sugar.

  1. Whatever it may be, if it tastes sweet it contains sugar, or sweeteners. This applies to everything that is edible – cookies, cakes, ice cream, juice or even just fruit. The sugar contained may be natural or processed, but it is still sugar. Also, where do you think processed sugar comes from? From natural sources.
  2. If a food tastes very sweet, it contains a lot of sugar and vice versa. So if you have a super sweet apple on one hand and a tart apple on the other, they are both different foods and act differently in the body. The sweet one loads you up with sugar while the tart one doesn’t.
  3. As far as sugar is concerned, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. White sugar from sugarcane is the powdered sugar we’re all familiar with. But jaggery, honey or other sweeteners used instead of white sugar does not magically make the food healthful. It is just sweetened differently but still sweetened.
  4. A banana weighing 100 grams contains about 15 grams of sugar and 85 grams of other things (mostly water, some fibre and very tiny amounts of other nutrients). This ratio of sugar to other things limits the total consumption of sugar (i.e. you can only eat so many bananas a day). But once you start blending the banana into a shake, making dried or dehydrated fruit, creating recipes like banana bread, or extracting sugar from the fruit, you’re changing the ratio to more sugar and less of other things. This is why dried fruit, fruit juices, jams, pastes and concentrates taste much better (read: sweeter) even though they are made with just fruit. Same deal with the all natural no sugar added organic dried fruit balls or bars – They are all loaded with sugar.
  5. The sugar free foods you see – sugar-free biscuits, juices, shakes, ice creams – are all sweetened with artificial sweeteners which don’t help the cause. They confuse the body into releasing insulin without the presence of sugar and can have long term effects that are unfavorable to say the least.

If your goal is fat loss or performance, we strongly recommend that you stay away from anything and everything that tastes sweet. The only exceptions here are 1-2 medium sized fruits and a scoop or two of your preferred protein supplement (if you can go unflavoured, even better).

So, next time you eat anything and aren’t sure if it contains sugar (or sweeteners), ask yourself one simple question – Does it tastes sweet? If you answered yes, it contains sugar or sweeteners.

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