As we get closer to the holiday season, we’re getting ready to celebrate with lots of sweets and delicious food. This means lots of tasty treats and food that we usually don’t eat year-round - and we can’t wait! But what impact do all these treats have on our health? Well, that depends on what ingredients go into them. When it comes to sugar intake, its important to be aware of how much we are putting in our bodies! Let’s dive into the science behind this..
How much sugar should I consume in a day?
When considering daily sugar intake, it's important to distinguish between added sugars and natural sugars found in fruits and whole foods. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men. Consuming excessive added sugar can lead to various health issues like obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. It's crucial to read food labels for hidden sugars, especially in processed foods. Opting for a diet rich in whole foods can naturally reduce your sugar intake and promote overall health. Remember, moderation is key in maintaining a balanced and healthy diet. Read about sugar intake recommendations for kids in our blog here.
How much sugar is in everyday foods?
Understanding the sugar content in everyday foods is essential for maintaining a healthy diet. Common foods and beverages often contain surprisingly high amounts of added sugars. For example, a single can of soda can have up to 40 grams of sugar, while flavoured yogurts often contain about 19 grams per serving. Breakfast cereals, even those perceived as healthy, can contain 10-20 grams per serving. Packaged snacks, salad dressings, and even some breads can also have high sugar levels. Natural sugars are present in fruits and some vegetables, but these are generally considered healthier choices due to their fibre and nutrient content. To make informed choices, it's crucial to read nutrition labels carefully and be aware of terms that indicate added sugars, such as corn syrup, fructose, and sucrose. Moderation and awareness are key to managing sugar intake from everyday foods.
What is blood sugar?
Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is a crucial energy source for the body, derived primarily from the carbohydrates in our diet. It is essential for maintaining healthy body functions and is a key focus in managing conditions like diabetes. After eating, carbohydrates break down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream. The body uses insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, to help cells absorb glucose and use it for energy. Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels is vital; too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) levels can lead to serious health issues. Normal blood sugar levels vary throughout the day and are influenced by factors like diet, physical activity, and overall health. Regular monitoring and a balanced diet with controlled carbohydrate intake are recommended for managing blood sugar levels effectively. Understanding blood sugar and its impact on health is crucial for a holistic approach to well-being.
What leads to high blood sugar levels?
High blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia, can be caused by a variety of factors, often linked to how the body manages glucose and insulin. The primary cause is diabetes, where the body either doesn't produce enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or is resistant to insulin (Type 2 diabetes). Dietary habits play a significant role; consuming excessive carbohydrates, sugar-rich foods, and drinks can spike blood sugar levels. Lack of physical activity also contributes, as exercise helps the body use glucose efficiently. Certain medications, like steroids, can increase blood sugar. Stress, both physical and emotional, triggers hormone release that can raise glucose levels. In addition, illnesses, especially infections, can affect blood sugar regulation. For those managing diabetes, incorrect or insufficient use of insulin or other diabetes medications can lead to hyperglycemia. Understanding and addressing these factors are crucial for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and preventing the long-term complications associated with high glucose levels in the bloodstream.
What are some easy low-sugar swaps I can do?
Making low-sugar swaps in your diet is a smart way to reduce sugar intake and improve overall health. Here are some effective swaps to consider:
- Fruit Infused Water instead of Soda: Replace sugary sodas with fruit-infused water or herbal teas for a refreshing, low-calorie alternative.
- Greek Yogurt instead of Flavoured Yogurt: Opt for plain Greek yogurt instead of flavoured varieties, which are often high in added sugars. Sweeten it naturally with fresh fruits.
- Natural Sweeteners: Use natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit in place of sugar in recipes or your morning coffee.
- Whole Fruits instead of Fruit Juices: Choose whole fruits over fruit juices, which lack fibre and can have added sugars.
- Dark Chocolate instead of Milk Chocolate: For a sweet treat, dark chocolate typically has less sugar than milk chocolate. Alternatively, you could check out a low sugar chocolate brand such as Chocxo.
- Homemade Smoothies instead of Store-Bought: Make your own smoothies with fresh ingredients to control the sugar content, unlike store-bought versions which can be high in sugar.
- Whole Grain Products: Switch to whole grain bread, pasta, and rice, which have lower sugar content and more fiber compared to their white counterparts.
- Opt for low-sugar candy instead of regular candy: check out Herbaland’s Oh My! Gummies, which only contain 2g of sugar per 50g pouch. You can also try other low-sugar candy companies like Smart Sweets.
- Vinegar-based Dressings instead of Creamy Dressings: Salad dressings like vinaigrettes are generally lower in sugar compared to creamy dressings
Incorporating these swaps into your diet can significantly reduce your sugar intake while still enjoying delicious and satisfying foods.
What are Herbaland’s Oh My! Gummies sweetened with?
Our Oh My! Gummies are sweetened with a blend of stevia and monk fruit and 2g of sugar. Made with all natural flavours, plant-based ingredients, and with 25g of fibre per pouch, Herbaland’s Oh My! Gummies are a great healthy alternative to traditional gummy candy! This line of gummies comes in tasty Sour Watermelon, Pineapple, and Peach flavours, with many more flavours coming soon.
What is Stevia?
Stevia is a natural, calorie-free sweetener derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It's much sweeter than sugar but doesn't raise blood glucose levels, making it ideal for weight management and diabetes. Used in various foods and beverages, stevia is safe for general use and widely accepted by health authorities.
What is monk fruit?
Monk fruit, also known as Luo Han Guo, is a natural sweetener derived from a small fruit native to Southeast Asia. It's known for its intense sweetness, which comes from natural compounds called mogrosides. Unlike sugar, monk fruit sweetener contains no calories and doesn't affect blood sugar levels, making it a popular choice for those looking to reduce sugar intake or manage diabetes. It's widely used in various foods and beverages and considered safe for general consumption.
Read more about what goes into creating our low sugar and sugar-free gummies here.
This Holiday season, give these low sugar swaps a try! You can also check out Herbaland’s low-sugar and sugar free options - we’re sure to have a flavour for you! Check out our Holiday Gift Box here for a trial pack of some of our favourite flavours.
From the team here at Herbaland, have yourself a happy and healthy holiday season!