Hidden Sugars: Where You Least Expect Them

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It is fair to say, when we are trying to make better food choices, we are inclined to reach for things like fruits and vegetables? Perhaps without even considering that these are  where the hidden sugars are often found – and can actually work against what we’re aiming to do? It is a safe assumption that we’re aware that sugars in soda pop, candies and maple syrup is evident – but consider this, something as delicious as a 1/2 a cup of grapes contains up to 16% sugar! 

What’s interesting about these hidden sugars, or really sugar in general, is that they can take only 15 hidden sugarsminutes to absorb into our bloodstreams. What does this mean in laymen’s terms? It means, you reach for an banana and within 15 minutes the sugars (12g!) it’s absorbed into your bloodstream and you will likely see a spike in your blood sugar. 

So, for people who are looking to lose weight, or are watching their blood sugar levels as a result of diabetes, cancer or MS, these are things you want to be mindful of consuming in your diet. 

Hidden Sugars

Quick personal story for you – I used to fast for 9 days at a time, twice a month, as part of a cleanse that i liked to to.  During that time i would eat only fruit during the day, with nuts for a snack, and some steamed vegetables with no dressing for dinner.  Although I didn’t do the fast for weight loss, you would think that considering i wasn’t putting anything bad into my system, there would be some sort of weight loss. Truth is,  I didn’t lose a pound!

My weight stayed the same and my metabolism slowed down. It was years later I realized that the fruit, while necessary and important to my health was not beneficial to weight loss due to the unused sugars (what my body did not burn in the form of energy) was being stored as fat in my system. 

 

Say NO! to Fruits in Your Smoothies!

You might be thinking … ‘what?!?!’ And the answer is yes. Smoothies are excellent choices to obtain the nutrients and benefits of the vegetables added – and for some people the only way we are able to consume enough of them. But, do yourself a favour, don’t take that beautiful smoothie and turn it into a dessert with the hidden sugars found in fruits. 

Fruits should be eaten first thing in the morning, ideally, one hour after your lemon water – this gives your body time to process the water (room temperature is recommended) through your bladder and help with getting your bowels moving for the ‘evacuation’ process. 

So your typical American breakfast of orange juice paired with those bacon and eggs, or that yummy fruit smoothie you drink on your way to work is a complete no-no.

Five Fruits to Avoid as Often as Possible (highest sugar)

  1. Bananas
  2. Raisins
  3. Dates
  4. Figs
  5. Grapes

Five Fruits to Consume as a Treat (moderate sugar)

  1. Cherries
  2. Apples
  3. Pineapples
  4. Kiwis
  5. Mangos 

Five Fruits to Consume Most Often (lowest sugar)

  1. Avocados
  2. Grapefruit
  3. Berries (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries)
  4. Watermelon
  5. Lemon & Lime

hidden sugarsWhen fruits are eaten too close to a meal, especially right after a larger meal and combine with other foods, it’s held in the stomach too long along with other foods and will ferment in the gut.  

The same idea as well, that fruit should not be eaten with a meal – like a salad with sweet dressing – the sugars will process before the rest of the food and it will start to ferment.  That fermentation process will give off gas that will cause burping, indigestion and bloating

If you experience indigestion, heartburn, burping and and other digestive discomforts and you blame on the meal – it could be the combination of the food, the fermentation with fruit that causes your upset stomach. 

What is also important to consider about foods high in sugar is their Glycemic Load or how many carbs (in terms of sugar) your body is consuming by realistic portion size. There’s a great article I recommend that explains this quite well that you can find by clicking here

When fruits are eaten alone, your stomach can more easily process all of the nutrients, fibre and the simple sugars contained in the fruit. This is the optimal ‘proper way’ to benefit from the fruit you eat. 

Definitely avoid eating fruit close to the time you’re going to bed – as there’s plenty of hidden sugars in fruit to spike up your energy and keep you up when you need your sleep.
 
I wanted to briefly touch upon vegetables (and I will dive into this much deeper in the coming weeks) and hidden sugars as well. 
 
Top Five Vegetables with the Highest Sugar Content
  1. Beets (8%)
  2. Sweet Corn (7.7%)
  3. Sweet Potato (6.5%) 
  4. Peas (5.9%) 
  5. Sweet Onions (5%) 

Top Five Vegetables with the Lowest Sugar Content

  1. Summer Squash
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Eggplant
  4. Green Beans
  5. Turnips 

Of all food groups, vegetables are typically lowest in sugar (hidden sugars), while being a great source of healthy vitamins and minerals. Despite this fact, you want to be aware of how much sugar certain vegetables contain.

Overall, avoid added hidden sugar by reading the labels of the foods you buy, and start in your kitchen.

Do you see any of the following names for sugars on the labels of foods in your pantry or fridge? Brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, honey, invert sugar, malt sugar, molasses, raw sugar, syrup, or any word ending with “ose.”

When my husband and I began eliminating sugar from our diet, I have to be honest – I did go through what might be referred to as a ‘sugar withdrawal’. I felt angry and irritated, but the good news is after a few weeks this passed. It’s been suggested that sugar is an addiction, similar to that of nicotine – our bodies crave it once it’s had it, and once we are able to rid our bodies of it, and create new habits, the feeling passes, and we’re left feeling better than we had in probably a very long time. 

Lastly, fruits (and vegetables) are a necessity to our diets, and I am not suggesting you omit them from your life. What I want to do is provide you with the right information, to at the very least, make an informed decision when reaching for those tasty fruits!


Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have found some valuable information, if so, I’d love to hear about it! Please feel free to share this post with anyone who might benefit, and comments are always welcomed and appreciated. 

I look forward to connecting with you next time!

And be sure to check out why you should order your family’s next meal courtesy of Ki’s Kitchen  

From my kitchen to yours, 

Kiran Bissoon

 

1 Comment

  1. […] month, there was a post I shared with you about hidden sugars (click here for that post), and I know, based on the feedback, many people were shocked at where sugars are hiding! That […]

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