Over the past year I have been working on removing High Fructose Corn Syrup and as much sugar from my diet as reasonably possible.
To anyone who knows me, this has been a mission as I like to drink Coke Cola and used to eat a bag or more of M&M’s a day.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) was on the top of my list as a lot of my health issues worsened significantly when I moved to the US. HFCS is used a lot in the US compared to other countries. Even short vacations back to Australia would have me feeling much calmer and healthier than when I am back in the US.
It turns out HFCS is in a lot of foods in the US that I didn’t expect:
Lean Cuisine chicken dinners
Sara Lee bread and baked goods (also the majority of commercial bread makers)
After removing the HFCS and kicking my habit of a can of Coke Cola a day, I then decided to look at my added sugar intake. I like sugar on my cereal, in my hot Milo (malted barley drink) and on my banana sandwiches.
Now I know that I probably have too much sugar, and that the more I cut out the more likely I am to find my waistline again. But to be honest the main reason for this was to regulate my blood sugar levels, as my mood swings seemed to directly relate to my food (aka sugar) intake.
I don’t believe in artificial sugars such as aspartame as I have watched and read enough to decide that I don’t want to put that risk into my body. Not to mention that I think it tastes nasty. I figured I would just have to start reducing my serving size of sugar when I did have it, when I stumbled upon Agave Nectar at Costco. What jumped out at me first was the low Glycemic Index. I bought the double bottle pack but was a little skeptical as I don’t like honey or syrup.
To my surprise I really like the Agave Syrup. So far I have tried it in my hot drink instead of white sugar and on my banana sandwiches. My next step is to try it on my Weetbix. If things go to plan the only time I will need sugar in our house in the future, is for baking and that is only until I learn how to use it correctly.
Agave can be used in baking but I am not that advanced at being able to modify recipes. You need to use less Agave than you would sugar and there may also be a need to reduce other liquids as Agave nectar is not granulated like sugar. I have also read that the oven temperature may need to be adjusted down as Agave browns at a lower temperature.
There are plenty of resources online if you want to learn more about Agave.
I have chosen to use the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load as my bench mark as I work on improving my diet and my health. Over the years I have heard a lot about both and I have seen a direct correlation in how foods make me feel and my likes and dislikes.
Some people are Fructose Intolerant and may find selecting foods based on Fructose levels provides better results.
If you are trying to reduce your sugar intake I recommend starting out slow. Listen to your body and if need be, start a food journal and record what you eat and how you feel throughout the day. Once you remove a bad food like my M&M’s I found it much easier to avoid the longer I have gone without.
Drink lots of water and if possible just don’t buy what you crave. If it’s not in the house you will eat less of it. Good luck!