So what’s the deal with naturally occurring sugar? How much is ok? Does fruit have too much sugar? What about dried fruit?
Here’s the quick and dirty on added and natural sugars.
-Added to processed foods for flavor, shelf-stability or to make us eat more!
-Found in foods that nature meant to be sweet
-Contribute to development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes
-Found in fruits that also contain fiber that keep you satiated
-Contribute to central adiposity
-Fruits contain less sugar per serving than the usual sugary treat
Here's the scary part: food companies know we’re addicted to sugar, so they add sugar to their products knowing that they’ll sell more - so sweet of them. For instance, did you know that most tomato sauces sold in the grocery store have added sugars? Tomatoes are sweet enough, there’s no need for the added crap.
Bottom line: stick to the natural stuff.
So, what are you supposed to do when you’re craving something sweet, you may ask? Try one of these Euphebe-approved sweet snack ideas.
1. Banana & Nut Butter
Why? You’re less likely to eat 4 bananas than 4 chocolate chip cookies in one sitting, and that’s in part because fruit is a great source of fiber, which keeps you feeling satiated for longer.
2. "If You Have to Have it Granola"
3 C old fashioned oats
1 1/2 C almonds (chopped)
1 1/2 C pecans (chopped)
3/4 C coconut flakes (unsweetened)
3/4 C sunflower seeds
1/4C coconut oil
1/8 C maple syrup
1/8 C coconut/brown sugar
2 TSP vanilla
1 TSP cinnamon
3/4 TSP salt
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Mix and spread ingredients on a baking tray. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Why? The coconut and vanilla add some natural sweetness without the added sugar. The low amount of added sugar in this recipe will mean that you’re only having 1/3 tsp of added sugar per serving—just enough to hit the sweet spot! Try 1/4 cup of granola with some unsweetened almond milk for a snack.
3. Grown Up Ants on a Log
Slice celery intro 4-6 inch sticks and top with your favorite nut butter. Add raisins and unsweetened coconut flakes.
Why? The raisins and coconut add natural sweetness to this childhood classic. But go easy on that dried fruit! When fruit is dehydrated, the natural sugar is more concentrated because there’s no more water to dilute the sugar. Part of why fruit helps you feel full is due to its high water content.
By: Ximena Diz, Dietetic Intern and MS Candidate in Clinical Nutrition at NYU