• NUTRITION

    Eliminating sugar from your groceries

Barbara Fedrigo

When we at Gift Diet say it’s important to eliminate sugar from your food we don’t just mean the sugar you put in your coffee, but all sources of sugar, including those hidden.

Eliminating sugar requires a lot of work and energy. People often confess that they ate a piece of chocolate in front of the TV, a piece of candy before dinner, a cookie here and there, a soft drink to quench their thirst and that they couldn’t resist the urge to indulge.

But all these sugary products shouldn’t even make it past the entry of your house. The first step towards leading a healthy life starts in the supermarket. It’s not easy to learn how to shop smartly for clean products. Supermarket aisles are filled with sugar and therefore all our meals and snacks are never completely free. Because of this, buying healthy products can be very difficult. The first thing to do is to read the labels with care. In this phase, it’s not necessary to study the nutritional labels to know the quantity and quality of the macronutrients. Instead, you should read the ingredients list of the product you want to buy. It’s useful to know what ingredients have been added. They are listed on the packaging in descending order, starting with the ingredient present in the largest quantity.

So, in a box of cookies, you will probably find flour listed first since it’s used in the largest quantity; after that there will be sugar and eggs, followed by butter or vegetable oil often of low quality, yeast, and a little bit of salt, conservatives, and flavor enhancers. These are ingredients that lower the quality of the product that we are about to buy to make it tastier and last longer.

Always remember that additives are added because without them the product is without flavor, color and consistency. Therefore, expect to buy a product that is refined, impoverished and changed. If this was not the case there would be no need to add all those additives!

If the flour used is not whole wheat you should put the product back. Even whole wheat cookies contain only about 30% whole wheat flour while the rest is refined flour.

The cookies should also be put back on the shelf if you find “sugar” listed in the ingredients, a word that by now appears first in the ingredients of almost all oven baked products.

Be aware however of the trickeries of the food industry. They hide sugar under various names such as dextrose, sucrose, fructose, glucose syrup, mannitol, barley or rice malt, etc etc.

Replacing sugar with glucose syrup, which has an even higher glycemic index, does not change anything because the two molecules have the same harmful effect on our blood sugar and pancreas.

It’s near impossible to buy cookies without sugar in the larger supermarkets so we have to find other ways. For example, we can choose not to eat them because completely changing our food habits is difficult but possible. We can change the way in which we eat our breakfast and use muesli, pancakes, and oats to make a porridge or use common whole wheat bread with butter and jam (without sugar). Nothing stops us from buying flour, eggs, butter and yeast to try to make our own cookies so that we can start tasting real natural flavors.

Searching for specialized stores that are sugar free can also be a winning choice for conscious and healthy shopping. There are many present now in our cities. I personally take care of those of La Maison Gift, but you can find others as well.

Healthy choices can also be made at lunch and dinner, at home or in a restaurant. Always start with choosing the proteins such as meat or fish, then add vegetables and then whole carbohydrates. If you still find yourself craving refined foods, choose potatoes or beans that allow us to fill up without weighing us down.

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