70% of foods have hidden sugar:
how i gave it up
and what advice from a nutritionist helped me
If my family needed a code phrase, it would definitely be “Buy something for tea.” You could forget about bread, butter, even tea itself in the store. But not to take sweets, profiteroles, or at least halva is a bad omen. To a bad mood and a feeling of incompleteness. As if something was missing. I grew up with the idea that three tablespoons of sugar in my coffee was the norm, and cakes after dinner were a tradition. Fortunately, genetics was on my side. My friends called me a witch and joked that they get fat when they look at chocolate. I didn’t have such a problem, so it was more difficult to refuse temptations in the confectionery department.
Everything has changed thanks to … drug addicts.
Once we discussed addictions with friends: gambling, alcoholism … And I somehow smugly declared that it’s all about willpower: whoever wants, he can. And suddenly she caught herself thinking: but addiction to sugar is almost like addiction to drugs. I know for sure that cheesecakes every day are not good for my health, but I continue to eat them. And although this has not yet led to weight gain, I still know about the risks of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, insulin surges and glycation. And premature aging and “sugar face” (drooping eyelids, loose skin, grayish color, early wrinkles) were not part of my plans at all. So I decided to see if my willpower was as good as I thought it was.
Preparation: everyone lies
The fewer temptations at home, the easier it is to refuse them. So I started with grocery shopping. All added sugar was blacklisted: galactose, fructose, dextrose, levulose and other “oses”. But in the supermarket, it turned out that Dr. House was right: everyone is lying. And the inscription “Sugar Free” on the package does not guarantee anything. The prohibition may be hidden under other names. For example, corn or invert syrup, barley or rice malt, sorghum, glycol, molasses, molasses, maltodextrin. Over 60 options in total! And they add it to almost everything.
According to international studies,
74-75% of packaged foods sold in the US contain added sugar
The same statistics in Australia. In Russia, no counts were made, but, apparently, the situation is not much better. I have found sugar in regular loaf, diet yoghurt, baby food, canned fish, fitness crispbread, protein bars, traditional sauces, and even ham. Surprised, I googled right in the store why dextrose is a meat product. It’s simple: to enhance the taste. And it is also added to sausages, sausages, dumplings for thickening minced meat and better preservation. Empirically, it turned out: the shorter the composition, the higher the likelihood that the product is really natural and without hidden sugar.
Another unpleasant discovery: most syrups and powders for coughs and sore throats also contain the same ingredient. It is added to sweeten the medicine or to give the desired structure.
What do doctors think about this?
WHO recommends eating no more than 50 g of sugar per day (6-9 teaspoons), and ideally no more than 25 g. The UK Ministry of Health has similar recommendations: no more than 30 g. Domestic doctors are more loyal: 65.5 g. even such generosity does not suit us. On average, Russians eat 107 g of sugar per day. This is 39 kg per year. And basically all this is added sugar, which we often do not even suspect. One teaspoon of ketchup, for example, contains 4 g of sugar, a jar of yogurt – 20 g, a glass of soda – 30-40 g. And the more often we eat “sweets”, the higher the level of glucose in the blood. It leads to a surge in the production of insulin, a hormone that tells the body to store fat. High insulin automatically causes a quick attack of hunger, which again needs to be satisfied with something tasty.
The proportion of sugar should not exceed
10% menu calories per day
This is the time to recall the study of Professor Bart Hobel and his team from the Department of Psychology at Princeton University. They gave rats sugar and then watched their behavior change. The animals demanded more and more, they were ready to attack their relatives and go through the most difficult tasks in order to get the next dose. If there were no sweets, the rodents experienced withdrawal symptoms, became nervous, behaved even more aggressively, and searched everywhere for “their charm”. According to the scientist, the changes in the brain that occur under the influence of sugar are very similar to those that occur due to drugs. At the same time, dopamine is less and less each time, and appetite is more and more.
Well, I haven’t even given up the junk carb yet, and my anxiety has gone up. Instead of the usual 20-30 minutes in the supermarket, I spent three times more there. I studied labels, looked on the Internet, which means an unfamiliar ingredient on the package, was annoyed because of manufacturers who lie to customers. What’s next?
1-2 weeks: how to become stuffy
Doctors say that the body feels the first discomfort within 6-8 hours after the last use of sugar. And they advise you to eat something really tasty in order to deceive the brain. I had enough poached eggs and salmon with avocado. But I knew that withdrawal would reach its peak in 36-72 hours. Among the symptoms, doctors list anxiety, muscle tension, irritability, chills or sweating, and muscle tension.
And so it happened: on the third day I could not think of anything but chocolate. It seemed that the productivity is lower, the mood is worse. And in general, everything infuriates. When I had a free minute, when I poured tea, watched a movie, a reflex worked: I must definitely eat something. I found a way out: carrots, cabbage, nuts. Just keep your hands and mouth busy (but at the same time keep an eye on calories: I didn’t want to get fat because of peanuts either). If I really wanted something sweet, I took a banana or an apple, a couple of dates (the main thing is to choose non-sticky and shiny ones, they are processed with sugar syrup).