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Looking For Hidden Sugars

February 13, 2014, 6:06 PM by Brittany Larson

Looking For Hidden Sugars

In the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, many of you gravitate towards foods claiming to be "not-fat" or "fat-free."

Dietitians say those foods could be doing you more harm than good.  Many use sugar or artificial sweeteners to make them taste better.  And sometimes those fat-free products make you crave sweets.

In the quest to be healthy, Mindy Van Westen started cutting back on unhealthy sugars.  So far the change is paying off.  Swapping out the artificial sugars for natural sweeteners made a big difference in her performance and her energy levels.

"I decided to change because when I would exercise, if I ate sugars that were bad sugars like ice cream or candy, I couldn't run and perform the best that I could if I would eat like an apple or vegetables and lean meats," Van Westen said.

But the lifestyle change hasn't always been easy.

"I still struggle with it because there's every once in a while you'll have a bad day and you just want a candy bar or some ice cream and some pizza.  Then you realize when you eat it that an hour or two later you feel bad because your blood sugar is out of whack from normal and you have no energy then," Van Westen said.

The next time you're thirsty and you're at the vending machine, rather than get a soda has a lot of high fructose corn syrup, maybe try a Sobe Water, which has natural sweetener called Stevia. 

"What we recommend to do is to look for something more plant based like the Stevia plant that is something that you can find in the grocery store and that you can you use as a replacement.  It's going to be better for you because it's plant based and it either comes in a name like Stevia and Truvia," registered dietitian Mary Aukes said. 

If you're looking to cut out bad sugar in your diet, there's an easy way to remember what types of sugar are unhealthy for you.

"The word that ends in 'ose' like say sucrose or fructose, those are items and sugars that you going to want to avoid," Aukes said.

"I think in the long run it is worth it.  A lot of people think that buying healthy food is expensive but actually you're getting more from it with nutritional value versus buying like frozen meals and processed foods that will make you not feel healthy," Van Westen said.

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention found eating too much refined sugar can increase the risk of heart disease.

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