Watching your sugar levels can be tough, and one of the greatest problems is that sugar is everywhere. Go ahead and have a salad for lunch, but have you checked that dressing? Even worse—many of the foods you specifically buy to eat healthier, like low-fat anything, are often full of sugar.
But even if you are watching your sugar intake, your body might be making it all on its own. In fact, foods that contain carbohydrates are converted into sugars during digestion and that can cause your blood sugar levels to increase after you eat. That’s obviously bad news if you’re watching your weight, but even worse if you are insulin resistant or have diabetes.
Some of the greatest offenders are, believe it or not, some fruits and vegetables. The starches found in vegetables like potatoes, corn and green peas are quickly digested and turned to sugar. Livestrong uses mashed potatoes as an example, noting that the 35 grams of carbohydrates in one cup is equivalent to nearly 9 teaspoons of sugar. When it comes to fruit, even those with natural sugar can influence your blood sugar levels. And that includes all kinds of fruit—fresh, canned, frozen, dried and fruit juices.
Grains are another problem. Foods like brown and white rice, all breads and nearly all breakfast cereals and chips will also raise your blood sugar levels. Some dairy products can also be a culprit. Milk, yogurt and some cheeses contain small amounts of carbohydrates, but the amount of sugar your body gets from the digestion of foods like chocolate milk and sweetened yogurt is even higher.
But, while these foods may raise your blood sugar, it doesn’t mean they’re totally unhealthy. You don’t need us to tell you that eating fruits and vegetables is still better than, say, an added sugar-laden dessert. Fresh fruits and vegetables offer more than just sugar, so they are always a better choice. Fruits that do not raise blood sugar quickly include cherries, apples, pears and plums.Photo by issyeyre
It’s also important to note that there are multiple types of sugar. Natural sugar is obviously better than added sugar, and added sugar increases your risk of gaining weight and developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
So, snack on, friends, just remember—even if the label doesn’t say sugar, if you’re watching your levels, pay attention to everything you eat.
For more on how your body converts carbs to energy (we promise it’s interesting!), click here.