Diabetes and Sugar

It is estimated that close to 11.5 million Canadians are living with diabetes or have prediabetes. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, it is estimated that by 2030 as many as one in every three Canadians will have diabetes. In this article, we will discuss how processed foods containing added sugars could be contributing to Diabetes rates in Canada. Most Diabetes cases are Type II Diabetes, which is often brought on by lifestyle factors. This means that the disease could be prevented if Canadians started making healthier food choices.

An example of a healthier choice would be to reduce the intake of high sugar foods and drinks. Some evidence shows that avoiding sugary beverages can reduce your risk of Diabetes by as much as 35%. To put this into perspective, one 12-ounce beverage (355 ml) can contain about 40 grams of sugar.

The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends that men consume no more than 38 grams of sugar daily while women should limit their intake to 25 grams. Keep in mind these suggested daily amounts are based on a 2000 calorie diet and may vary depending on your age, gender, and level of physical activity.

Processed Foods and Hidden Sugar

Many processed foods contain hidden sugars like fructose, dextrose, corn syrup, cane sugar, and molasses. Most processed foods from conventional deli meats to spaghetti sauce have added sugars to enhance their flavor. Breakfast cereals and yogurt contain both natural sugars like maltose or lactose, as well as the processed sugars mentioned above.

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, Canadians consume around 20 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That is upwards of 83 grams. Although we are not entirely sure how much processed foods contribute to this problem, they certainly do not help because most processed foods do contain added sugars, and most people eat processed foods. As an example, spaghetti sauce, cereal, cheese, bread, and salad dressing are all considered processed foods.

If you are interested in lowering your sugar intake, start by checking the grams of added sugars on nutrition labels. All food manufacturers who make packaged foods must list the total amount of sugars on the nutritional label.

Sugar and Insulin Resistance

Did you know that the human body does not require added sugars to maintain health? The body converts all food into glucose from fruits, vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates in the diet.

Weight is a factor in diabetes. Being overweight contributes to diabetes because excess fat in the body can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body absorb glucose from food, but when fat cells in the body are resistant to the action of insulin, diabetes develops.

The key is moderation with food intake. The more you eat of something the harder it becomes on your body to process it. A balanced lifestyle that includes physical activity and good food choices is still the simplest path to good health.

Nutritional Labels Don’t Lie

Many companies today are making foods “cleaner” with less or no added sugars and healthier ingredients overall. But similar products can vary greatly in the types and quality of ingredients used. Pretty food packaging with lots of claims can sometimes be misleading especially with claims like “natural”; a claim that means nothing because that term is not regulated with any standards or definition by the CFIA. Reading nutritional labels and the ingredient list will help you make healthier food choices for yourself and the ones you love.

MCLEAN was the first company in Canada to create nitrite-free deli meats, like nitrite-free Bacon and nitrite-free Ham. Most of our products are sugar-free and certified organic. All our deli meats are preservative-free with no nitrites added including no celery extracts.

Learn more about how we preserve our deli meats with HPP (High Pressure Processing).

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