Prolonged, excessive sugar consumption leads to health problems like diabetes and obesity. Sugar comes in many forms, including table sugar, honey, maple syrup and high fructose corn syrup. It is often present in large amounts in processed foods like cookies, crackers and bread products. You can also find sugar in surprising places like canned soups, condiments and salad dressing. Because it is so ubiquitous in processed foods, avoiding sugar is often tricky; however, eating low sugar foods is worth the effort. You will reap the payoff in better health.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have some naturally occurring sugars; however, the benefits from the vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals in plant foods far outweigh the minor amount of sugar in them. Some fruits have a greater impact on blood sugar than others. Fruits with a high impact on blood sugar include watermelon, bananas, raisins and pineapple, while high sugar vegetables include beets and parsnips. If you are concerned about the sugar levels in fruits and vegetables, eat dark leafy greens, peppers and cruciferous vegetables, as well as berries and melons.
Whole grains contain valuable dietary fiber. According to the Joslin Diabetes Center website, fiber is a type of dietary carbohydrate, like sugar and starches are, but it has no effect on blood sugar. The body doesn't absorb fiber from whole grains, therefore, blood glucose levels remain stable when you eat fiber. When eating foods that contain whole grains, check labels for added sugar and opt for those that are sugar free and 100 percent whole grain. For instance, to reduce sugar in your diet, choose steel-cut oats over sweetened granola, or opt for whole grain toast as opposed to bran muffins.
Animal and Soy Protein
Most sources of animal and plant protein are either sugar free or low in sugar. Fish, eggs, beef and pork are all naturally sugar free. To reduce sugar in meats, select raw meats in their natural state that haven’t been marinated or injected with a plumping solution. Avoid cured meats like sausage or bacon, which may contain sugar. Deli meats are frequently injected with a sodium/glucose solution for flavoring, so if you are avoiding sugar it is best to cook and slice your own meats rather than purchase those that are precooked and sliced in the deli. Most unflavored sources of soy protein, like textured vegetable protein and tofu, are also low in sugar. Avoid marinated soy and sweetened soy proteins.