Sugar is the topic of the moment! In this post you will receive some great tips for reading labels, with sugar in mind, and how to look for hidden sugar in tomato sauce. I have also been lucky to have an inspirational conversation with a gentleman who has a mantra of "not dwelling on the negatives", and finally I answer the question "is there much sugar in white wine??".
Conversation with John
Each month I will be chatting with an inspirational person, asking them about their food secrets. I will then give them a few tips about what they might rearrange for better health.
This month I chatted with John, who is 76 years old and loving life! John has been a property consultant in Victoria for many years. He is married to the lovely Lou, who does most of the cooking at home. John does not smoke (he did admit to smoking the pipe in his youth!)
Q. So John, what is a typical day of food for you?
Breakfast = white tea, two slices low GI wholegrain bread with butter-soft and vegemite, and a piece of fruit. A skin milk coffee mid-morning
Lunch = Tinned salmon salad, or ham, butter and mustard sandwich on low GI bread. A piece of fruit and a glass of water or diet ginger beer.
Dinner = Baked salmon, mashed potatoes with low fat milk and butter, peas. Two or three glasses of white wine.
Q. Do you exercise?
Yes, I take my dog to the park everyday. It is about a 10 minute walk each way and then I walk and talk with the locals when I am there!
Q. What are your tips for staying healthy?
In relation to food, eat moderately. In relation to attitude, try to see the positive in things and surround yourself with interesting people of all ages.
What could John change?
John is eating very well. As long as John keeps his portion sizes small, this type of daily diet is great. However, I would urge John to reduce his alcohol intake, and to include two consecutive alcohol free nights a week to allow system recovery. Also to remember that a standard serve of wine is only 100mls, and it is recommended that men have no more than two standard drinks per day. A great addition to Johns diet would be some protein at breakfast, maybe a few nuts or some cheese on his vegemite toast. Protein is very important for ageing muscles!
Product Review - Tomato sauce
Most people love a bit of tom sauce on their lamb chops - I grew up on it! But, do you know how much sugar is actually in commercial tomato sauce? Unfortunately quite a lot... A standard 500ml bottle states it has 33 serves of 15mls. Each serve has about one teaspoon of sugar, so there is about 33 teaspoons of sugar in one bottle of sauce.
This photo shows one serve, which is three teaspoons (15mls) of sauce. This is a reasonable serve, but its likely we pour that sauce bottle a few times during the meal.
Tomato sauce (15ml) on a standard dinner plate
One serve has 4.4 grams (or about a teaspoon) of sugar. An adult male should have no more than 37.5 grams (or 9 teaspoons) of sugar per day and a woman 25 grams (or 6 teaspoons) per day. So, when you are having your sauce with your sausage, you are eating at least one teaspoon of sugar or more.
Unfortunately, foods that we assume are sugar free are often not. I recommend checking the food label before you purchase processed products. As always, Im not saying that you should stop eating tomato sauce (I wont be!) but to be aware that your sugar intake can creep up in places that you don't expect.
Secrets of reading food labels, with sugar content in mind
Food labels are a brilliant source of information. The information will assist you to determine if a food is right for your food choice. Food labels have a nutrition panel on them, just like this one.
Tomato sauce label
At first glance, this information can be confusing and difficult to understand. However, knowing what to look for will help you make the best choice for your health.
When thinking about sugar, you need to look at the Carbohydrate heading. Then under carbohydrate you will find the sugars line. This is broken down into average quantity per serve (Avg Qty per serve), percentage daily intake per serve (%DI per serve) and the average quantity per 100ml (Avg Qty per 100ml).
The line to concentrate on is Avg qty per serve. At this point, it is important to identify what a serve is, and if you consume about this much when you eat the product. With the tomato sauce, for example, if you think you do consume 15mls when you eat it, then you know you are consuming 4.4 grams of sugar. However, if you have 45mls of sauce or three serves, then you are consuming 13.2 grams of sugar or three teaspoons. It is important to be aware of these measurements, because your sugar consumption can really creep up on you.
Q. Does white wine have a lot of sugar in it?
The sugar that is found in wine is known as residual sugar and comes from the grapes it is made from, in the form of fructose and glucose. So, there is no refined sugar in wine, however the fructose and glucose is often referred to as sugar. As shown in this chart, from Wine Folly, wine will have 0 to about 220 grams of fructose and glucose (sugar) per litre.
However; gram for gram, alcohol contains 29 kilojoules (about seven calories) per gram of alcohol. A standard 100ml glass of dry white wine will, on average, have about 283 kilojoules (68 calories), and it is rare that we only have 100mls in our glass. So if we have three glasses of wine this is equal to eating 17 gummy bears or a large donut!
Sugar in wine per litre (Source: Wine Folly)
The additional problem with wine, is that alcohol stimulates your appetite and relaxes your inhibitions so you might eat things (and sometimes do things ;)) that you would normally stay away from!
If you are having a few glasses of wine, it can help to dilute it with ice or soda water. Or if you are like me and like wine in its pure form, just try to limit the amount you drink.