For years, fat was considered diet enemy number one. Those days are over. Sugar and other carbohydrates are now considered by both researchers and doctors to be the primary drivers of obesity.
But reducing sugar is not as easy as simply cutting sweet foods from your diet. Sugar hides in many foods you would never imagine, says Joe Colella, M.D., a leading bariatric expert and surgeon. He is author of The Appetite Solution, which reveals stealth sugar lurking in many of our favorite foods.
“We are consuming far too many simple sugars,” Dr. Colella tells Newsmax Health. “They’re in just about everything we eat that comes out of the package.”
By eliminating simple sugars and adding protein, we combat hunger and support muscle repair, both of which lead to permanent weight loss success.
“Simple sugars not only add pounds, but they trigger food cravings so you end up eating more of them,” explains Dr. Colella.
“Simple sugars are health saboteurs. They don’t have to travel through the intestines to deliver glucose to your body. They go right into the bloodstream and for the first few moments, you feel great.
“But then you crash and eat more sugar to get that high again. It’s a terrible rollercoaster that is devastating to overall health.”
Dr. Colella recommends consuming no more than 5 grams of sugar at each meal and no more than 20 grams per day. Check labels and you’ll be shocked at how many grams are hidden in your favorite foods.
Here are eight examples:
1. Pasta Sauces
They taste savory, not sweet – but many pasta sauces have between 6 and 12 grams of sugar per half-cup serving. “Make your own sauce with freshly chopped tomatoes, herbs and olive oil,” advises Colella.
Yogurt is full of healthy calcium and protein, but even low-fat flavored yogurt can have 17 to 33 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving. It’s better to buy plain Greek yogurt and add your own chopped fruit.
3. Instant Oatmeal
Oatmeal is full of healthy fiber and many people eat it for its cholesterol-lowering properties, but flavored instant oatmeals have between 10 and 15 grams of sugar per packet. Stick to plain oatmeal and add apple slices or berries for flavor.
4. Salad Dressing
You eat salad because it’s healthy, right? Now so much when you pile on bottled dressings, many of which are packed with sugar, up to 7 grams in a two-tablespoon serving. Make your own dressing with olive oil, herbs, vinegar or lemon juice.
5. Energy Drinks
Many people think the life from these drinks comes from caffeine, but many of them are also filled with sugar to the tune of 25 grams per 8-ounce serving. That’s more than a whole day’s worth of sugar. Stick to coffee or tea.
If you think coleslaw is a health alternative side dish to fries, think again. One regular-size side of coleslaw at fast-food places will bring you 15 grams of sugar or more.
Check labels closely when buying bottled teas. The sugar content varies tremendously among brands. Some have virtually no sugar, while others have as much as 32 grams per bottle. That’s the equivalent of shoveling 8 teaspoons of granulated sugar into your mouth.
A squirt of ketchup adds about 4 grams (the equivalent of 1 teaspoon) of sugar, a surprising amount when you consider how little of the condiment you use. Stick to yellow mustard, which contains only 1 gram per serving.
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