Monday, August 26, 2013

Sugar Update

Did word get around Qatar that I was cutting down on sugar? Yesterday I was at Costa Coffee chatting with a colleague when the lady behind the counter came over with a free serving of cheesecake for us. Then later at Tim Hortons, I wish I was kidding, the manager came over and gave me a free white chocolate macadamia nut cookie. What the heck? Apparently it’s the Murphy's Law of dieting, as soon as you go on a diet that's when all the treats come out. I'm expecting tonight to get a phone call inviting me to a chocolate tasting.

Today I stopped by the supermarket to see about low-sugar alternatives. First up was bread. I like bread and I like eating it with meals. I don't want to give up bread. But how much sugar is in the stuff?

Luckily I did find a local bakery that puts the nutritional information on its bread packaging – Qbake.

QBake says on its packaging there’s no added sugar, the ingredient list appears to agree, and one piece of whole wheat pita bread has only 1.4g of sugar in it. Other QBake breads (white pita, sliced loaves) also say there's no added sugar in it. I think 1.4g fits the low sugar diet I'm aiming for so I'm glad that QBake put it on their label. That's not to say it's a wonder food, there's around 140+ calories per pita and maybe around 4 grams of fiber, but it's still a decent bread for an occasional snack or maybe to have one with a meal. It’s certainly better than snacking on cereals.

Okay, that's bread solved, what about yogurt? Surprisingly it varies a lot from brand to brand. Many have added sugar, some have added pectin (a type of sugar), some have aspartame or other artificial sweeteners and a few have no added sugar/sweeteners at all. If the yogurt has added fruit then the sugar content is even higher. I looked at one mango yogurt and a tiny one-serving cup had 21g of sugar. You can find yogurts with <1g of sugar.

So yogurt is okay if you read the label and make sure it doesn't have any added sugar. I also looked at laban and that seemed to be fine too, none of the ones I looked at had any added sugars.

I recall Dr. Lustig was okay with eating fruit as even though it naturally contains sugar it also has fiber, which helps to counterbalance the sugar. I think in yogurts the fruit has been processed enough that I doubt there's much fiber left in it -- better to buy a plain yogurt and add fruit yourself.

The quest for low-sugar continues, we’ll see how easy it is to eat out and miss the sugar.


Anonymous said...

In general bread isn't high in refined sugars, but it can be high in sodium. Whole grain bread is better (eg, 100% whole wheat flower) but not as easy to find in Doha. Sugar in real fruits should be OK. It's the refined sugar, including and especially High Fructose Corn Syrup, that nutritionists condemn.

Glen McKay said...

Q-bake does whole wheat breads, both Arabic and sliced loaves, appears to be low in salt as well (one Arabic bread has 6.5% of daily salt in it)

Dr. Lustig agrees that while fruit has sugar, especially fructose, you are eating fiber with the sugar, which to him is important. Thus squeezed orange juice is not as good because you get the sugar without the fiber. He definitely hates HFCS.