Sugar, a carb of many names

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November 2, 2015

November is National Diabetes Month. Why is this important? Well more than 60% of Canadians are overweight or obese, thereby increasing their diabetes risk. Moreover, not only have diabetes rates doubled over the past decade, it’s been estimated that diabetes and its health impact will cost our nation about $16 BILLION dollars by 2020.

Diabetes can occur due to various reasons and can have various health impacts on the body, but studies have shown that the best way to prevent and treat diabetes is through diet and exercise. So before you get up to take a walk and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather, let’s talk about sugar – the seemingly biggest perpetrator of this disease.

Sugar, a carbohydrate, can come in many forms, and go by many names – 56 in fact. Oftentimes it’s one of the top 3 ingredients in processed foods – and will occur more than once on food labels. One of my family members started to change their diet (which is wonderful), and proceeded to purchase products that where advertised as healthy. However, a simple look at the ingredient list was shocking as sugar (in its many names) was found multiple times in the list.

I’m privileged to have sat through many hours of nutrition class to learn about vitamins and minerals, types of fat, optimal proteins, and the different names of sugar. Many people don’t have that luxury – making it incredibly important to learn about what you are buying and eating to help make the best and healthiest choice for you and your family.

My primary message is this: Question what you eat and drink – is this something you can reproduce at home? (where you have better control over the ingredients). Analyze the ingredients list (if there’s one readily available). I like to indulge in a sweet treat (read: chocolate + peanut butter), every now and then – but I try to do so in moderation. Have you though of incorporating more whole foods into your diet – since added sugars can be found in so many forms in packaged and processed foods.

For more information, please watch this video below. I personally love TED videos, and this educational piece is no exception. And if you love to read, may I suggest this article that breaks down the various forms of sugar.

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