Does your 'healthy' food contain more sugar than a Krispy Kreme?
We're living in a nation obsessed with fat. Low-fat this, fat-free that - now, we're not saying there's anything wrong with reducing the levels of saturated fat in your diet, in fact, it's a healthy move. But there are other things we need to be aware of when it comes to healthy eating, and sugar is most definitely the enemy. Refined sugar can cause blood sugar levels to spike, and can lead to long-term health problems such as obesity and diabetes, so we should all we be reducing the amount of refined sugar we eat.
We all know that a fresh fruit smoothie is a healthier option than a fried, sugary, fat-laden doughnut. But we think you might be shocked to learn just how much sugar is in some of our favourite foods and snacks. With an original glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut containing 7g sugar and 222 calories, we take a look at a few foods which contain more sugar than you might expect.
A refreshing drink
Whilst there are healthy options on offer at Costa Coffee, their range of fruit coolers aren't making our hot list this summer. Yes, they might be a great way to cool down, but with a Peach Berry Cooler (Massimo size) coming in at 98g sugar, the same as in 14 Krispy Kreme doughnnuts, you might want to look for a healthier alternative! Make your own healthy shake or smoothie, top up with crushed ice and take it with you to the gym or to the beach.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that opting for an Innocent Smoothie is a healthy alternative to making your own at home, but their Pomegranate, Blueberry and Acai smoothie has 34.4g sugar (that's 4.9 Krispy Kremes!) in a 250ml bottle, even if much of that comes from natural fruit sugars.
A healthy lunch
How about a healthy bowl of soup for lunch at work? Easy to prepare and available in a wide range of flavours, New Covent Garden Soups are a popular choice. But half a carton of their Plum Tomato and Mascarpone Soup has 15g sugar (that's 2.1 Krispy Kremes). Making your own vegetable soup couldn't be easier, and we have some super-healthy, vegetable-packed recipes for you to try!
A lighter option
Hmmm, maybe a salad would be a healthier option? Surely you can't go wrong with a supermarket seafood salad that's packed with omega-3s? You'd be surprised. Waitrose Good to Go Love Life Crayfish and Mango Salad contains a whopping 11g of sugar per serving - the same as in 4.8 Krispy Kremes! It's easy to prepare a healthy salad yourself at home the night before and our gluten-free salad recipes are perfect. Just make sure you pack the dressing in a separate pot to avoid soggy salads come lunchtime!
A speedy dinner
There's nothing better for dinner than some pasta and lean beef meatballs with tomato sauce, or zoodles, if you're carb-cycling! Making your own tomato sauce is the healthiest option, but if you really must grab a jar of sauce at the supermarket, chances are you'll pick up some Dolmio, the UK's most popular choice. Unfortunately, that could be bad news when it comes to sugar levels. A 125g portion of Dolmio Original Bolognese Sauce contains 8.4g of sugar, the equivalent of 1.2 Krispy Kremes. A healthier ready-made choice would be Sainsbury's Basics pasta sauce, which contains considerably less sugar. Or just make your own, it couldn't be easier - find a healthy recipe here.
Cutting your sugar levels
It's important to check out the sugar levels in ready-made food on your weekly shop, and it should be fairly easy to find this information on the packaging. It's these hidden sugars which can damage our health, as you're unaware of how much sugar you are actually eating. Our bodies do need some sugar, but natural sugars from fruit and unrefined sugars are far healthier options. You don't need to load your baking and cooking with processed white sugar - there are alternatives out there which could be better for your health, such as coconut sugar, sweeteners and even organic honey. Many recipes use ingredients such as sweet potatoes or dates to add sweetness and a sticky texture - great for cakes and brownies!
The best way to cut your sugar levels is to stick to unprocessed, raw and fresh food. Cook meals from scratch - if you need inspiration, we have plenty of recipes to help out - and eat fresh produce wherever you can. If you're cooking from scratch, you can control the sugar, salt and fat levels, and you'll know exactly what's in your food.