Lifestyle Magazine

Why I Am Saying No To Added Sugar

By Saumya Shiohare @myriadmusings1

Cooking, primarily baking was one of the activities that we all indulged in to the fullest during pandemic. Kitchens had become people's safe haven. Food and anything related to food became our medium of easing into the fear and frustration, and my household was no exception to this. I was cooking three meals a day, baking at least four times a week- my kitchen was constantly busy.

The effect of this new pandemic norm soon started to show everywhere. The stores were constantly out of essentials like sugar, butter, flour, grains, and lentils to name a few. People were becoming more food-focused and less health-focused. The pandemic weight gain became pretty imminent all around and I was again no exception to this.

My weight gain went unnoticed until I resumed my normal photoshoot sessions. It felt more real only when I started wearing actual clothes and not lounge wear. I then realized how much my body had changed. The clothes fit tighter and I hated that feeling. I generally eat very healthy and smaller portions, so I knew right away what needed to be eliminated from my diet- SUGAR, ADDED SUGAR more so!

Why I Am Saying No To Added Sugar

But, before I delve into more reasons for giving up added sugar, I wanted to bust some sugar myths and share some facts that we all all should be aware of.


As clearly as the name suggests, any sugar that you add to your food and beverage during or right after cooking is added sugar. While naturally occurring sugar in fresh produce and fruits is not harmful, any extra sugar that you add to your diet is unhealthy. Disclaimer- I am not a health professional and any claims made here are entirely based on my personal research on this subject.

  1. MYTH- Fruit has sugar and shouldn't be consumed
    - Naturally occurring sugar in your food is in it's unadulterated state and is not considered added sugar. These natural produce are accompanied by nutrients and fiber that help the body process sugar in a healthier way. When sugar is accompanied with fiber, such as in fruits, digestion and absorption of the naturally occurring sugar is slower so that your body doesn't get a sugar rush. On the contrary when you consume juices made from fruit concentrates, the added sugar in it becomes a problem. You body absorbs it faster than natural sugar and you get what we all know as a SUGAR RUSH. So, go ahead and eat more fruits and vegetables, avoid sugary drinks and juices.
  2. - Honey is healthier
    - Honey contains vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants and has healing properties. However, you need to drink a cup of it to reap all those benefits. Honey is undeniably healthier than any other unrefined sugar like agave nectar, maple syrup, but in true sense- it is still added sugar. So, reduce all types of added sugar- both refined and unrefined.
  3. - No added sugar means no dessert
    - dessert isn't the only source of added sugar. Food items like juices, salad dressings, sauces, condiments, flavored cereals have substantial amount of added sugar and which is what makes them so desirable. Sugar sneaks in everywhere and you really need to be smart about the way you eat. So, replace added sugar with fresh fruit pulps, vegetables, or nuts, not only will these enhance the taste, they will add that extra boost of vitamin c and healthier nutrients.
Why I Am Saying No To Added Sugar
HOW MUCH ADDED SUGAR SHOULD YOU EAT DAILY? Simple math- divide the number of grams of added sugar in your food ( cue the label ) by 4 to get the number of teaspoons of added sugar.

Unless you have any medical condition and have dietary restrictions, below is the average daily teaspoon count for different age categories.

  • Family history- my mom has diabetes and most of my husband's side too and we all know that diabetes is a silent killer. While hubs's family history has nothing to do with how it's going to affect me- we are in this together. We decided to cut back the amount of added sugar just when we could. This is the time we can make healthy lifestyle swaps and avoid genetic problems from hitting us in future.
  • Inflammation- we all know that sugar is notorious for causing inflammation in our bodies. Several studies have shown that a diet high in added sugar leads to obesity, insulin resistance, and low-grade inflammation. High cholesterol levels, obesity and high blood pressure are some other common problems seen in patients who have high intake of refined sugar. I suffer from carpel tunnel and it noticeably becomes worse when I am eating a sugar-rich diet. Eliminating unnecessary sugar from my diet definitely seems to be helping.
  • Yeast infection- I am prone to getting yeast infections easily and have in the past realized how frequent it became when I was eating high-carb and sugar-rich diet. We all know that too much sugar leads to increased gut permeability and bacteria and yeast thrive on sugar. I have done the low-sugar diet in the past, see details and it definitely decreased the frequency.
  • Loose belly fat- as much as I hate to say, I would have to own all the tummy fat that has been a struggle to loose. I've tried yoga, all sort of ab exercises but the truth is nothing will make a difference until I make some dietary changes. Since I've decided not to diet anymore ( read my post ), sugar was something I could let go easily. I'm glad I don't have a sweet tooth- letting go off the added sugar would be a breeze.
  • I drink my Indian chai only once versus twice until end of last year. I've swapped my sugar in the morning chai with jaggery. I add about 2 teaspoons to my cup and it gives such a good taste and color to my chai.
  • I was never into store bought juices and aerated drinks, so I'm glad no drastic needed to be made there. Instead I juice at home these days. It's so much fun and I've figured out that adding ginger to any juice makes it taste soooo good!
  • I liked adding dressing to my salads, but now it's either a simple olive oil vinaigrette or a homemade dressing that comprises of plain yogurt and coriander/mint chutney.
  • When I crave something sweet, I reach out for a fruit, a couple of dates or the H.V.M.N bars ( pictured above ). These bars are 100% organic and made from all natural ingredients. The sweetness that you taste is totally natural, coming from nuts, and nut butters, amounting to just 1 gram of sugar per bar. Win-win for me.
  • I cook more from scratch these days. Processed foods and cans are loaded with added sugar which also act as the taste enhancer, so I am trying to avoid them as much as I can.
  • I spice it up. Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla help boost flavor so that I can reduce added sugar. Toasted nuts and seeds can add texture and flavor too.
  • I drink more water these days. I usually add fruits like sliced lemons, limes and oranges to infuse water with natural flavors and it also acts as a great detox.
  • I stress less and make it more fun. If I exceed my daily added sugar limit, I don't stress. I just try to reduce added sugar intake during other days of the week to balance that extra sweetness out. For instance I had a cocktail yesterday, so today I'm skipping the jaggery in my tea. I keep it entirely flexible.

What dietary changes are you making this year? Did you make any food-related resolutions this year?

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