Exposing Sugary Drinks

Revealing Sugar

Good Food for All reveals how to de code sugar in nutrition labels, gain a better understanding of how sugar affects your body, and discover which sugars are most and least beneficial to you.  Prepare to be shocked by the amount of sugar that goes into drinks you probably didn’t think twice about.

Elizabeth Fisher demonstrating sugar quantities in favourite drinks at the Eastside Afterschool Program.

Finding Sugar on Nutrition Labels

QUANTITY 

The amount of sugar is always listed in grams represented by the letter g. Sugar is listed under Total Carbohydrates.

It’s important to account for the grams of sugar in relation to the indicated serving size. Consider that often drinks have more then 1 serving per bottle. In this example there is 65 grams of sugar per bottle (20 oz) – that’s more than double your  recommended daily recommended intake for added sugar!

The recommended daily amount of added sugar is 25 to 37 grams per day which includes everything you eat or drink. 

LANGUAGE 

There are different types of sugar, nutrition labels use a variety of language to identify them. In this label it’s sucrose, glucose and high fructose corn syrup. Familiarizing yourself with this language will make understanding nutrition labels easier.

There are 51 different types of sugars and sugar combinations that all result in the sweet taste we love. The trick is understanding which are the most beneficial to our bodies and which are the least. The main difference is if a sugar is primarily natural like fruit, or primarily processed like white sugar.

Negative Effects of Processed Sugar

There are many natural sugars, the most common include: Fructose, Glucose and Lactose 

  • Efficient way to naturally preserve food
  • Natural sugars in moderation boost brain health and help maintain energy levels
  • Delicious

Positive Effects of Natural Sugar

There are many natural sugars, the most common include: Fructose, Glucose and Lactose 

  • Efficient way to naturally preserve food
  • Natural sugars in moderation boost brain health and help maintain energy levels
  • Delicious

Understanding Sugar

The Sugar Effect

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is absorbed into the blood stream, and blood carries it out to every muscle to be used for energy. Our bodies need sugar to function properly. However, if we eat more sugar then we need our body will store the excess for later use.

Sugar Highs (and Lows)

When sugar goes into the blood stream sugar levels spike, which spikes energy levels. This is known as a sugar high.

The issue with a sugar high is energy levels spike almost as fast as they plummet. An average sugar high will last from 30 minutes to an hour. Following the peak of a sugar high is a fast energy decline.

This graph represents a person’s blood sugar after eating a Snickers Bar. When blood sugar is its peak, so are one’s energy levels. Notice how the peak of the blood sugar levels is 10 minutes after ingesting the Snickers Bar and quickly drops after the peak.

Sugar in Drinks

Water

Coconut water

Kombucha

Orange juice

Greene smoothie

Gatorade

Eastside Afterschool Program’s youth

Youth were shocked to find out how many grams of sugar they were drinking every day.

Good Food educates youth on nutrition and empowers them to make their own healthy decisions.

Help empower youth to foster a healthy society.

Donate to help fund our nutrition education programs.

Stay Tuned!

 Upcoming post: recipe for low and natural sugar juice and pop alternative.

Fibre Fundamentals

====Fun fibre friday ====

Our latest nutrition session was on one of the most important parts of a healthy diet: fibre.

Fibre facts
  •  Fibre is one of the three molecules that make up a carbohydrate, the other two being sugar and starch.
  • Our bodies don’t absorb fibre for bodily functions, but rather use fibre as a bodily function.
  • There’s two different types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Both aid in the digestive process.

Chia, fibre, health

 

Soluble Fibre 

When trying to understand soluble fibre, think about chia seeds. When fibre is exposed to water in our intestines it swells up like a chia seed and forms a gel. This gel improves nutrient absorption and keeps us fuller and fueled up for longer.

 

Insoluble Fibre 

Insoluble fibre benefits the digestive process by helping digested food move through the intestines proficiently by adding bulk to the fecal material.  Insoluble fibre helps healthy gut bacteria flourish. Healthy gut bacteria helps promote the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, especially sugar, dairy, and starch.

Reading Nutritional labels

Fibre is listed under the carbohydrate section of a nutrition label along with sugar.  Nutrition labels rarely say the amount of starch found in a product. To calculate the starch found in a product, deduct the amount of sugar and fibre from the total carbohydrates. The remainder will be the starch.

(total carbs-fibre) – sugar = starch

Fibre, digestive health,

Average Recommended daily fibre intake
  • 38 grams for men under 50
  • 30 grams for men over 50
  • 25 grams for women under 50
  • 21 grams for women over 50
  • 26 grams for female youths ages 9-13
  • 30 grams for male youth ages 9-13

*try attaining roughly 14 grams for every 1000 calories you eat.

It’s important to prioritize high levels of fibre in our diets to maintain healthy digestion resulting in a healthy body. Fibre helps lower cholesterol levels and blood sugar, which protects against heart disease and diabetes. Studies show fibre is a key factor of achieving weight loss.

East side Afterschool programs

Good Food for All is dedicated to providing wholesome, organic, minimally processed and raw foods to the youth programs we partner with. Here’s some examples of what we bring in for the youth to enjoy.

Hummus, fibre, health, body, energy

High fibre Snacks
High fibre Food pantry options
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • lentil soup
  • bean soup
  • Hemp Hearts
  • Protein powder

 

Recipe for fun

Games,

Good Food incorporates a hands on cognitive learning experience in our Nutrition Education Sessions. This helps to develop team building and leadership skills while building relationships amongst youth in the community.

In our latest session the youth were involved in a game, working together to brainstorm which foods have the highest percentage of fibre.  Keep reading to learn how to play.

MATERIALS 

  • 6 flash cards (per team)
  • 6 fibre packed foods (scroll for suggestions)
  • pen

-Foods we used-

  • Popcorn 14.5%
  • Almonds 12.5%
  • Chia Seeds 34.9%
  • Quinoa 28%
  • Broccoli 2.6%
  • Bananas  2.6%

*%=Percentage of Fibre

PREPARATION

  1. Write down one food item per flash card, leave out the percentage of fibre.
  2. Split group up into 2-3 teams

HOW TO PLAY/OBJECTIVE 

Each team works together to list out all the foods from lowest percentage of fibre to highest. The team that gets the closest gets first pick of the food items supplied.

The youth had a great time working together and there was enough food for everyone who wanted to bring something home.

Donate to help fund our snack programs and nutrition education!

Your contribution will make a difference to many young people’s  quality of life.