Healthy Food Guide is a food magazine that I feel I can trust. The magazine itself is dietitian approved and put together by a team of dietitians, nutritionists and medical professionals to ensure that you (a.k.a. the reader) gets relevant information to help you make informed food choices that will positively encourage long-term good health. That means real nutritional advice with no fad diets in sight. It's also a great source of free from recipes and not only are recipes labelled in terms of health benefits (e.g. low calorie, low salt, high fibre, high protein etc.) but they also highlight the recipes that are either vegetarian, gluten free or dairy free too.
In the September issue there was a really interesting article on sugar. I'm sure we've all seen or heard about sugar being totally scandalised and basically branded as public enemy number one - Jamie Oliver has even started a campaign to introduce a sugar tax on fizzy drinks. And to be fair, I'm certainly no nutritionist but it's not rocket science to work out that too much sugar isn't good for our overall health. What's interesting about the article is that it talks about splitting sugar into two categories - intrinsic sugars (or naturally occurring sugars) and free sugars (which are basically added sugars).
Sugar is part of many, many foods, both natural and processed and I'll be the first to admit that I'm no angel when it comes to my sugar intake. Personally I find this new categorisation of sugars helpful as it's not saying that you need to limit all sugars, full stop. What it's saying is actually fruit and vegetables, which contain naturally occurring intrinsic sugars, are really good for you and the high nutritional value kind of outweighs the negative impact of the sugar that they naturally contain. This means that there's no need to restrict fruit and veg because of their sugar content and it's important that we include plenty of fruit and veg in our diet because of all the goodness they contain.
The sugar that we need to be keeping an eye on is the free sugars that are added to processed foods. It's recommended that adults should be eating no more than 30g (or around 7tsps) of free sugar per day - if you saw Jamie Oliver's Sugar Rush programme on Channel 4, they illustrated how much sugar is added to everyday products and how this can all add up to much more that 30g in a day! 30g isn't a whole lot really and this, for me, has been an eye opener. Following reading the article, I've spent time reflecting on the amount of sugar I eat as although I eat a vegetarian diet, there's still probably too much free sugar making its way into my body.
So, what are my conclusions as a result of reading this article?
- Eat your fruit and veggies.
- Check the sugars on processed foods.
- Make homemade as much as possible - then you can completely control the sugar content.
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