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Thread: Sugar?

  1. #1
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    Sugar?

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    Can anyone provide input on how to factor sugar content into making food choices? What is an acceptable amount of sugar in a day (for non-diabetics)?

    I loosely follow Weight Watchers, which factors Fat/Carbs/Fiber/Protein into food choices. I can for the most part gauge appropriate values for these, but I wonder how the sugar content factors in. Obviously, I know high sugar is not good...but if the sugar content is high, and all the other values are reasonable, is the sugar counter-productive to all this?

    THe best example I can use is Greek Yogurt. I have tried plain Greek Yogurt and just can't do it...even with some fresh fruit.
    So, i have been trying to find a low sugar content Greek Yogurt, but that is tough. SOme of them have low fat, low carbs, high protein and little to no fiber (I get fiber in my other foods), but over 20g of sugar! What is the sugar doing to me in this situation?

    Here is the one i have been eating lately (Voskos Greek Strawberry Yogurt, 6oz):
    -0g fat
    -18g Carbs
    -12g Protein
    -0g fiber
    -15g Sugar

  2. #2
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    Last March I decided to give up sugar, bread, pasta, potatoes, rice--basically all that white stuff. I went cold turkey and it was very difficult for about two weeks, maybe a bit less. I had headaches and cravings and all I wanted was angel food cake and mashed potatoes. It was terrible because I had such a long-term addiction to sugar.

    Once I got past those two weeks, however, wow my whole world blossomed. I had more energy and lost weight and didn't have slumps in the afternoons. I slept better and focused more. I've modified things a bit, but I still shun sugar. I got used to it. I don't particularly like plain yogurt, but I do like making smoothies with fruit--either fresh or frozen (no sugar added berries and peaches). I eat lots of greens and sweet potatoes, avocados, fish, turkey, and chicken and occasionally beef. I used to love making and eating my own bread, but I don't miss it now.

    What I'm saying is that you might really want to give yourself a break from sugar. I gave myself a 30-day trial period at first, thinking that I would just make one day, sometimes one hour, at a time. Of course, I never kept (or keep) sugar in the house. It didn't take 30 days; by 12 I was feeling great and at the end of 30 I had lost five pounds. Losing weight wasn't my intention, but it is a welcome benefit. I was more concerned with my health. If you do it, it's important to remember that giving in to sugar during that hard period will just set you back. A drastic change like that might not work for you, but I wanted to share my story in case you were interested sometime down the road.

    My trouble area is breakfasts. I still need to figure out breakfasts without cereal or bread. Smoothies usually work great, but I get hungry again by 10, so I think I need something more substantial. I never liked oatmeal so I'm just as happy to not have to eat it.

    ETA: fats are good. I eat avocados, as much olive oil as I want, a bit of butter (but since I don't eat bread, what's the point?), cheese, and cream in my coffee. And 2% or whole milk and yogurt.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    My trouble area is breakfasts. I still need to figure out breakfasts without cereal or bread. Smoothies usually work great, but I get hungry again by 10, so I think I need something more substantial. I never liked oatmeal so I'm just as happy to not have to eat it.
    I have had good results with using coconut milk (for fat) and pasturized egg whites (for protein) in my smoothies to give them more staying power. Then again, I've also eliminated dairy, so I have to be a little more creative.

    I also like making a sweet potato, apple, and sausage hash for breakfast. I found the recipe online and cook up a huge pan to last the whole week. Sometimes I'll shred the fruits and veggies, sometimes I cube stuff. Either way, it tastes good and keeps me full.

  4. #4
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    I would agree that "low-fat" foods, as advertised, may be loaded with sugar to provide palatable taste.

    There is a book in low glycemic diet/foods that is backed by medical research that my sister (a physician) recommended to me a few years ago. It's helpful how to assess certaint types of food that have high sugar or GI index.

    I looked into it because I had a near diabetes 2 reading a few years ago.

    No, I have not sworn off sugar. But in the past few years I'm just eating WAYYY less of:
    *white rice, I don't even have brown rice. I just haven't spent time/effort experimenting with the latter.-- I have white rice 4-5 times ....per yr. This was a drastic change to my 40+ year long diet!

    * No heavier pastas and rice vermicelli. I now eat lighter wheat, not egg based Asian pastas or pasta made from egg white. Works best for me.
    * Bread-- Only 3-4 times per month.

    But I haven't cut out desserts yet. (Bad) I tend to prefer less sweeter white wines --I seem to get a sugar crash vs. red wine.

    Yes, I do feel better overall if I don't indulge. But I'm not perfect. Yes, most likely it is helping me control weight overall since I'm cycling less annually (because I now live in a city that has snowier, icier winters) now compared to 5-10 yrs. ago.

    I have sugarless cornflakes with skim milk and fresh fruit. Works for me. Or microwaved oatmeal. I consume 2 litres of skim milk per wk. Usually in cereal and tea. I see it as a good thing for me. I don't equate skim milk at all with sugar/high glycemic. Where did that idea come from? (And my doctor-sister never recommended I eliminate milk from my diet.)

    I didn't exactly go cold turkey. Just .....lost interest in certain foods. That tactic seems to work best with me --especially when one has an arsenal of other delicious alternatives.

    Other tactics: I only eat rice...at restaurants. I don't buy it to stock home pantry.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 10-03-2012 at 10:35 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penny4 View Post
    Can anyone provide input on how to factor sugar content into making food choices? What is an acceptable amount of sugar in a day (for non-diabetics)?

    I loosely follow Weight Watchers, which factors Fat/Carbs/Fiber/Protein into food choices. I can for the most part gauge appropriate values for these, but I wonder how the sugar content factors in. Obviously, I know high sugar is not good...but if the sugar content is high, and all the other values are reasonable, is the sugar counter-productive to all this?

    THe best example I can use is Greek Yogurt. I have tried plain Greek Yogurt and just can't do it...even with some fresh fruit.
    So, i have been trying to find a low sugar content Greek Yogurt, but that is tough. SOme of them have low fat, low carbs, high protein and little to no fiber (I get fiber in my other foods), but over 20g of sugar! What is the sugar doing to me in this situation?

    Here is the one i have been eating lately (Voskos Greek Strawberry Yogurt, 6oz):
    -0g fat
    -18g Carbs
    -12g Protein
    -0g fiber
    -15g Sugar
    I would think the sugar is a subset of carbs.

    How many calories are in the yogurt? I would expect either 120 or 180, most likely 180.

    18*4= 72
    12*4= 48
    total 120

    or

    18*4= 72
    12*4= 48
    15*4= 60
    total 180

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by shootingstar View Post
    I don't equate skim milk at all with sugar/high glycemic. Where did that idea come from? (And my doctor-sister never recommended I eliminate milk from my diet.)
    If you're referring to my post, my decision to eliminate dairy was based on allergies, not sugar or the glycemic index. It's not for everyone, but I've felt better since I've mostly eliminated dairy. I do still indulge upon occasion, like the fantastic creamy cauliflower bisque that I had while dining out last weekend.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becky View Post
    If you're referring to my post, my decision to eliminate dairy was based on allergies, not sugar or the glycemic index. It's not for everyone, but I've felt better since I've mostly eliminated dairy. I do still indulge upon occasion, like the fantastic creamy cauliflower bisque that I had while dining out last weekend.
    I definitely have not eliminated dairy; I like milk and cheese and yogurt. I just despise skim milk. My grandfather used to call it Blue Death because it just tastes so bad and has a blue tint to it. I prefer 2% or whole milk, and half-and-half in my coffee or tea. No ice cream, though.

    I could probably do fine with cereal in the mornings (it won't kill me), but I'm going to try the other ideas mentioned, too.

  8. #8
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    Good math NYBiker...the yogurt in question has 120 calories.

    I guess it is hard for me to break away from low fat foods, because that is a big part of WW, and I have been successful iwth WW in the past. I do try to eat healthy fats....avocado, olive oil, etc. I guess i am just confused about trade offs between fats, sugars, etc. I don't really have a sweet tooth, and I try to keep an eye on sugars in other foods such as yogurt, bread etc. I also try to keep carbs from things like pasta, bread and rice limited. Eliminating all sugar is not really my goal, but just to understand the role of it in a seemingly "WW approved" food (meaning low carb/low fat/high fiber/high protein).

    I am a terrible cook, and I dislike cooking immensely, so it is really a struggle for me to keep a balanced diet with more natural, unprocessed types of foods. I try...I really do....but ugh...it's a struggle.

    Thanks for everyone's input.

  9. #9
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    Is WW really low carb, low fat, high fiber and high protein? I tried living that way once and I was starving all the time!

    For sugar, if you aren't avoiding it completely, it's mostly a trade-off like ny biker suggested. If you cut down on sugar, you are naturally cutting down on carbs and calories that can then be used for something else. Sugar is 100% completely devoid of nutrients (unless you are eating raw honey or grade B maple syrup), so why waste calories on it if you are trying to limit your intake? You get so much more bang for your buck if you were to eat a bowl of berries and top it with a little plain yogurt than to eat pre-sweetened strawberry yogurt.

    Another pleasant side effect to eliminating all sugar for a period of time is that everything else starts to taste sweeter. After 30 days with zero sugar, I was stunned at how sweet my vanilla Chobani yogurt tasted. It almost made me cringe! It was a huge change because I used to just barely tolerate it because it was the lowest sugar flavor that I could handle (I am not a fan of plain yogurt either)!
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  10. #10
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    Are we talking sugar as in...sugar.. or, sweeteners of which there are many. Regardless of what kind of sugar is used ( honey, sugar, molasses, agave syrup, fructose, sucrose, cane sugar, beet sugar, corn syrup, HFCS etc) it all comes out as "sugar" on a label. Sugars are also considered a carbohydrate and should be figured as such into your daily eating.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penny4 View Post
    THe best example I can use is Greek Yogurt. I have tried plain Greek Yogurt and just can't do it...even with some fresh fruit.
    So, i have been trying to find a low sugar content Greek Yogurt, but that is tough. SOme of them have low fat, low carbs, high protein and little to no fiber (I get fiber in my other foods), but over 20g of sugar! What is the sugar doing to me in this situation?
    If you want yogurt with less sugar, why not add the sugar (or honey) yourself? That's what I do when I add berries to yogurt -- some sweetener is needed. You can add as little (or as much) as you like.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GLC1968 View Post
    Is WW really low carb, low fat, high fiber and high protein? I tried living that way once and I was starving all the time!
    I probably should say that WW uses fat, carbs, fiber and protein content to assign "points" values to their foods. Foods that are lower in fat and carbs and higher in fiber and protein tend to be lower points, therefore pushing you to eat more fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grains etc. It's not no/low carb in an Atkins kind of way. They also push healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, etc.

  13. #13
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    I use what I'd call a common sense label reading approach. For example, three similar brands of yoghurt, all sweetened with sugar or cane sugar or honey ( I will not eat HFCS) I will pick the one with the least amount of sweetening.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irulan View Post
    I use what I'd call a common sense label reading approach. For example, three similar brands of yoghurt, all sweetened with sugar or cane sugar or honey ( I will not eat HFCS) I will pick the one with the least amount of sweetening.
    I do try to do this...I guess I am just trying to figure out how much total sugar (the amt listed on the nutrional label) is too much in a day. Nutrional labels with seemingly good stats in the other categories confuse me when the sugar is high. I saw a yogurt drink the other day with 35g of sugar in it. What in the world???

  15. #15
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    I wonder if some of the sugar in yogurt is naturally occurring in the milk? How much sugar is in the plain yogurt?

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
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    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

 

 

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