Once the Christmas season has been and gone, most of us will be tutting exasperatedly at our swollen tummies and vowing to lose a few pounds in the New Year.
The importance of following a healthy diet and keeping our weight in check goes well beyond fitting into our favourite jeans, though. As we all know, too much sugar in our diets can wreak havoc with our blood sugar levels and eventually lead to life-changing conditions like diabetes.
While it is possible to keep the disease under control – especially with the support of our orthotic insoles for diabetics – diabetes needs to be taken seriously, as it can lead to serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, retinopathy and a whole host of foot problems.
The hidden sugars in common foods
The first step to making better lifestyle choices is to educate ourselves on the amount of sugar that lies in our favourite foods. Cakes, biscuits, chocolate and fizzy drinks do of course contain alarming amounts of the white stuff, and these foods are all too often the main culprits for the development of diabetes – but many other common products contain astonishing amounts of sugar and are contributing significantly to our overall sugar intake.
Which foods contain surprising amounts of sugar?
According to the NHS, shop-bought red sauce contains 27.5g of sugar per 100g on average – something that fans of this popular condiment definitely need to be aware of! Opt for low-sugar versions where possible, or, better still, make your own tomato-based dip from scratch at home.
You may already be aware that natural fruit juices are packed full of sugar – but did you know that many of the best-known branded cordial products also contain up to 25g per 100g? There are plenty of sugar-free squashes on the market now, but it’s worth checking the label before you pick up your favourite brand!
Those innocent-looking morning cornflakes, crispies or pops could be a source of unnecessary sugar, warns Diabetes UK. As these products are targeted heavily at younger consumers, it’s important that parents and guardians look beyond the bright, eye-catching packaging to see whether or not these breakfast staples are simply delivering an unhealthy sugar spike to their little ones.
Plain, organic and Greek-style yoghurts tend to have the least sugar – but always check the label to make sure your preferred choice isn’t crammed full of ‘free’ sugars. If sugar is listed as second or third on the ingredients list, you’ll know that quite a lot has been added.
We all love a quick, easy dinner from time to time. But that cheeky microwaveable Chinese or pasta bake could contain up to 50% sugar! Most of the UK’s major supermarkets have implemented a handy traffic light system on their ready meal packaging, so you can make a more informed choice about how much sugar you put into your system.
Due to the way that the liver processes alcohol, beers and wines can cause our blood sugar levels to spike and drop dramatically. To keep your system on a more even keel, choose light beers, and favour drier wines over sweet varieties. Spirits such as gin, vodka, whiskey and rum are highly distilled and should not contain sugars – unless you mix them with sugar-heavy soft drinks, of course.