You might not even realize you’re eating it
I can still vividly remember specific moments from my childhood. I don’t remember everything, but there are certain memories that still stand out to me, as if it were yesterday.
For example, in elementary school, I remember going to the grocery store with my parents and sisters just before classes started. We got to pick out a few special treats to pack in our lunches for the first week of school.
We always picked junk food, like packaged snack cakes, chocolate cookies, or potato chips.
All understood that these weren’t considered the healthiest choices, but they were a special treat that gave us something to look forward to during that rough adjustment period of heading back to school. Plus, it wasn’t like this was all we were eating each day.
We still got plenty of nutrients in our diets as well. My parents regularly cooked up fresh pasta with vegetables, made us avocado sandwiches on whole wheat bread, and served us baked potatoes with broccoli.
However, there was a single nasty ingredient hidden in some of my favorite “healthy” foods that even I didn’t realize was so prominent for many years.
And these are foods you are probably eating daily.
Foods like ketchup, peanut butter, bread, bagels, cereal, and much more, all contain it.
The ingredient is called processed sugar. And unlike donuts and cookies, where it’s easy to realize they contain a lot of sugar, the sugar in the common foods is sneaky.
At first, I didn’t realize my natural peanut butter actually had added sugar.
After all, the label did say natural.
I didn’t realize that my favorite blueberry bagels had almost 10 grams of added sugar, or that one of my go-to breakfasts, two packets of flavored instant oatmeal with a spoonful of peanut butter, added up to about 20 grams of sugar.
Thus, in a single meal, I was close to exceeding the American Heart Association’s recommended limit for daily sugar intake for women, 25 grams.
And the worst part is, I didn’t even know it.
Product labels have a way of disguising the foods as healthy. When the low-fat craze was around, everything was advertised as a healthier, low-fat option. But,
what was left out was the fact that the fat was replaced,
with added sugar and salt so that the products still tasted good.
So, it can be easy to buy something you think is pretty healthy, when the opposite is actually true.
Still, a little sugar isn’t going to ruin you. You just have to make sure to eat it in moderation. Unfortunately, that can be hard when it is hidden in so many products.
Here are some things I started doing that help:
- I check ingredients labels — The only way to know what is actually in a product is by looking at the label. If the ingredients list is a mile long, it might not be the healthiest option. If sugar is one of the first ingredients, then the food probably has quite a bit of added sugar.
- I mainly shop the perimeter of the store — If you focus on the perimeter of the store, you will be shopping the more natural stuff (fresh fruits, vegetables, and things like that). What lies within the isles is mostly junk food and packaged products. So, it’s best to avoid these most of the time.
- I make my own homemade desserts — When I make my own desserts at home, I can sweeten them naturally with fruit sugars and control the amount of added sugar that goes into them. Try these delicious high protein peanut butter chocolate chip muffins, and you might find that healthy desserts can still satisfy your sweet tooth.
Sugar is hidden everywhere, even in the most common foods that you probably eat daily.
Once I started paying closer attention to the ingredients lists for foods I was buying, I was able to choose healthier options, like natural peanut butter that is actually natural.
So, the next time you go to the grocery store, check the labels. It only takes a few extra minutes, but it truly could help you live a healthier life.