Eating less sugar is one of the best things for your health

Eating less sugar is one of the best things for your health

Many want a life that is healthier for ourselves and the environment, this journey often starts with food and drink. The most healthy food goes through your own hands. Even though Grandma's carrot cake may have more calories or sugar than you're comfortable with, you can adjust the recipe to suit your needs. In my kitchen I always start with the complete recipe and replace ingredients with others or remove ingredients that are not needed. Then I have the essence of the recipe and build on those flavors. The first thing I often omit or replace is sugar. You will be surprised that you can still enjoy great flavors and great tasting dishes with less sugar.

I've been experimenting in the kitchen for a long time and learned the connection between food and how you feel in my healthcare communications job. My thinking about health and the importance of prevention was formed there. It made me think about cutting down on the bad things in food and going all in on the good things. Reducing sugar consumption is high on my agenda. You just have to think about it - what do you use sugar for? For the coffee, to make cake, to sweeten your vinaigrettes, and so on. I eat all those things too, but my whole thing is to use natural sweeteners or sugar substitutes, not those processed white sugar stuff.

Sugar reduction is key for a healthy future

The impact of sugar consumption on our health remains a controversial topic. Consumption of too much sugar contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and tooth decay (1, 2, 3). The World Health Organization (WHO) has been advocating for years to reduce sugar intake in adults and children. Specifically, it is recommended to reduce the daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of the total energy intake. A further reduction to less than 5% or about 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

Free sugars?

Free sugars refer to monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. The WHO guideline does not refer to the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk, as there is no reported evidence of adverse effects from consuming these sugars.

Is sugar-free healthy?

It's healthier to cut back on sugar, but we all need some sugar in our diet to live a healthy life. The best way is to use natural sugar and avoid any type of processed sugar as part of a balanced diet.

Less sugar in desserts

Let's start with desserts. Fruit desserts are the best sugar-free desserts because fruits naturally contain sugar and are packed with fresh, juicy flavors. Would you rather not have a fruit dessert? As we do in our kitchen, try to make smaller portions, made with healthier ingredients. You often need very little sugar for it to still taste dessert and delicious. The side effect is that many of the other flavors come out to their fullest. Treat sugar like salt - in very small amounts. Making healthier recipes also comes with some challenges. In addition to providing sweetness, sugar provides texture and structure to desserts. Look for tasty alternatives such as honey, agave, fruit puree, pureed dried fruit. Or use "distractors," which are spices, herbs, and non-traditional syrups to distract from the lack of sugar. 

Flavored yogurt

If you like flavored yogurt like I do, you're probably also shocked by the amount of sugar you eat. Do like us and use natural yogurt and add your own fruit.

A few more tips from Jolliette's kitchen

  1. Avoid sugary drinks and choose water, unsweetened sparkling water, herbal teas, black or green tea, coffee (without sugar)
  2. Avoid sweet desserts and opt for fresh fruit, Greek yogurt with fruit, baked fruit, dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher). Swapping sweet desserts for fresh or baked fruit not only reduces your sugar intake but also increases fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  3. Avoid sauces with added sugar and opt for herbs and spices, chili, mustard, vinegar, pesto, mayonnaise and lemon or lime juice to flavor your dishes.
  4. Eat whole foods, they are not processed or refined. They are also free of additives and other artificial substances. These foods include whole fruits, legumes, whole grains, vegetables,…
  5. Limit sugary breakfast foods. Try these low-sugar breakfasts instead: oatmeal sweetened with fresh fruit, Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts, scrambled eggs with cheese and veggies, and avocado on whole-wheat toast. share sugar as salt - in very small amounts. Making healthier recipes also comes with some challenges. In addition to providing sweetness, sugar provides texture and structure to desserts. Look for tasty alternatives such as honey, agave, fruit puree, pureed dried fruit. Or use "distractors," which are spices, herbs, and non-traditional syrups to distract from the lack of sugar.
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