MANAGING INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE: THE TROUBLE WITH ADDED SUGAR by Hemda Mizrahi and Colleen Webb
Colleen Webb, MS. RDN, CLT, joined me on âTurn the Pageâ to share how food and nutrition can positively impact your ability to manage Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). IBD primarily includes ulcerative colitis and Crohnâs disease.
Our conversationÂ reveals how your dietary choices can enable you to manage this potentially debilitating condition.
Colleen expands upon the guidance that she provided during the show by discussing the impact of ADDED SUGAR on your symptoms and state of health. Her suggestions offer benefits for overall health, regardless of whether or not you have active IBD.
THE TROUBLE WITH âADDED SUGARâ
Colleen states, âAdded sugar includes sugars and syrups added to foods during processing, preparation, and at the table. It does not include sugar naturally occurring in whole fruit or milk. Added sugar goes by many names, including high fructose corn syrup, agave, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and evaporated cane juice. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a âhealthyâ sugar.
Most of us are aware of the obvious sources of added sugar, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, cookies, cakes, and candy. Given that SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE âHEALTHYâ FOODS MAY CONTAIN ADDED SUGAR, be sure to check nutrition labels. For example, nut butters may contain evaporated cane syrup or other sugars. Flavored yogurts, granola bars, store-bought smoothies, and cereals (even organic!) often have more added sugar than a serving of cookies!
Most of us are consuming way too much added sugar, and studies have shown that people with active IBD consume even more added sugar than people without active IBD. The reality is that EXCESSIVE INTAKE OF ADDED SUGAR IS LINKED TO INFLAMMATION, DYSBIOSIS, AND A VARIETY OF CHRONIC DISEASES. Sugary foods and drinks can lead to GI upset, especially diarrhea, bloating, gas, and nausea.â
âI typically recommend that everyone limit their daily intake of added sugar to roughly 25 to 30 grams per day. One teaspoon of sugar is about 4 grams.â
Here are some ways you can reduce your total intake of added sugar: âYouâll notice that none of the recommendations suggest replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose have been linked to poor gut health and metabolic syndrome, whereas sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol are common triggers for bloating, gas pain, and diarrhea. If something tastes really sweet and is referred to as âsugar free,â please carefully check the ingredients for one of these sugar substitutes.
If youâre a YOGURT LOVER, I suggest you buy a plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself by adding fresh fruit and an optional teaspoon of honey or jam.
WHOLE FRUIT is an excellent way to satisfy a sweet tooth while adding essential nutrients. Unlike fruit juice, whole fruit has less naturally occurring sugar and contains other elements, like fiber, which help to delay the absorption of sugar into the body. If youâre following a LOW ROUGHAGE DIET, BE SURE TO LIMIT OR AVOID FRUIT WITH THICK OR TOUGH SKINS, such as unpeeled apples, tomatoes, grapes, pineapple, and coconut meat, and those with SEEDS, like raspberries, passion fruit, and pomegranate seeds. LOWER ROUGHAGE FRUITS include bananas, avocado, apples without the skin, melons, papaya, tangerines without the white membrane, and peeled/seedless cucumbers. If you prefer to juice, then juice mostly vegetables or add a splash of fresh fruit juice to a bottle of water.
CHOCOLATE LOVERS: choose an ounce of dark chocolate with at least 72% cocoa and work your way up to 85% for even less sugar. One of my favorites is the Organic Green & Black 85% dark chocolate bar.
Nuts and individually packed (no sugar added) nut butters paired with fruit are excellent on-the-go SNACKS in place of a sugary granola bar. Or, try making your own snack bars on the weekend and savoring them all week long.
If you normally add sugar to your COFFEE OR TEA, I suggest that you replace some or all of it with cinnamon, nutmeg and/or unsweetened cocoa powder for a flavor boost without the added sugar.
Also, take note that ORAL SUPPLEMENTS, such as Ensure, SPORTS DRINKS, like Gatorade, and JUICES tend to be loaded with added sugar. Consider making your own high protein smoothie and diluting your sports and fruit beverages with water to reduce the sugar content.â
HEREâS TO YOUR HEALTH!
âCutting down on added sugar is one of the best things that all of us can do for our short- and long-term health. We suspect that it’s especially important for people with IBD. Expect to feel healthier and more energized!â
If you havenât yet done so, creating a PERSONALIZED NUTRITION PLAN will ensure that the particulars of your health circumstances are researched, evaluated, and more effectively treated.
Colleen invites you to visit her websiteÂ for more information. You can sign-up for weekly nutrition newsletters, access up-to-date nutrition facts, and learn more about her upcoming IBD/Nutrition webinar through her blog, which has a special focus on gastrointestinal health.
Listen to my conversation with ColleenÂ to learn about other aspects of your nutritional intake that can alleviate your symptoms and possibly lessen your reliance on medication. We wish you the best in health!