Added sugar, artificial sugar, dextrose, fructose, lactose, sucrose…what does “sugar-free” and “no-added sugar” actually mean?
According to the CDC, added sugars are “sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared.” Think of the table sugars that is added to baked goods, syrup in your soft drink, and the glaze on your cereal.
Added sugars add calories without adding nutrients and we often miss how much of it is present in our everyday diet. Statistically, Americans are consuming more than the recommended added sugars, setting the stage for potential health complications such as poor nutrition, cravings, sugar crashes, weight gain, insulin resistance, heart diseases, and tooth decay.
On the other hand, sugars like fructose in fruits and lactose in milk, are naturally occurring sugars. Whole foods (plant foods maintained in their integral form), like whole grains, vegetables, dried fruits, often feature minimal processing and no added sugars!
A no-added sugar diet packed with whole foods empowers the body with nutrient dense calorie, packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. It also allows the liver to pace insulin production and reset cycles of cravings and crashes. Most of all, you will feel amazing with a stable, constant flow of energy and a much-improved, active mood.
It is not difficult to make steps towards a whole food, no added sugar diet! First, try swapping some of your sugary go-to items to whole food versions, such as adding real fruits to plain yogurt and opting for a seltzer instead of soda. Then, try building habits towards recognizing products with added sugars and taking a short abstinence from them. You will soon see the health benefits of a lower caloric intake, a stable insulin level, and a much sharper mind.