Many of you will know that I don’t like to demonise any food group but I do emphasise the need to control sugar in the post-surgery diet. I am sugar-sensitive and being a post-bypass patient am susceptible to ‘dumping syndrome’. This makes me an avid back-of-pack label reader and zealot when it comes to checking added sugars to prepared foods. I can monitor the sugars in the foods that I cook but recognise that we can be at the mercy of food producers when it comes to sugars added to countless canned, packaged and ready-prepared dishes. And they can be somewhat deceptive
and invisible in many innocent-looking foods like soups, sauces, cereals and the like.
Last year I looked at producing a bariatric guide to help followers weave their way through this minefield but the task was a huge one and so quickly changing – foods are constantly being changed in terms of their make-up and formulations. So imagine my surprise (and delight) when I read that a book was just being published to guide one through the sugar content of more than 7,000 everyday foods, from sauces. biscuits and ready-meals to fruit and vegetables!
The ‘Sugar Snub Food Guide’ features a range of foods, sourced from the five major UK supermarkets, divided by type and then in order of sugar content from the lowest to the highest. It helpfully uses a clear traffic-light system to help identify which products are low, medium and high in sugar. Also detailed are fat, saturated fat, salt and calories. Sadly protein escapes the scrutiny …
It is written and compiled by Claire White, a mother of one and former breast-cancer patient who decided to go sugar-free after her treatment – she found it more than challenging as indeed do we as WLS patients. She was more than surprised at the levels of sugar in everyday favourites and some ‘savoury’ specials. She feels ‘… we are being tricked to eat sweet.’
I have used the book over the last week and found it very useful. It has enabled me when planning my shopping and devising a shopping list to check out if I am getting and buying the best option for my recipes and general meal-making. Of particular value has been the section on condiments/table sauces. I have effectively been able to swap to some better choices.
If I have any criticisms when it comes to relevance of the book for WLS patients, then they relate to the lack of protein information – sad there isn’t any. I would also recommend that patients don’t just go for the lowest option without heed of other considerations – sometimes a slightly higher sugar option can have a better nutritional profile and fat isn’t always the ‘enemy’ – this is especially true when it comes to dairy products like yogurt, quark, creme fraiche and fromage frais. The guide doesn’t also award a listing based on taste. The lowest rated foods aren’t always the ones that taste the best – I frequently would go for a choice that has a little fat added than a zero-fat-rated product because it tastes so much better.
So with that in mind, I have used my copy a great deal and made lots of notes in each section as I have shopped, cooked and tasted. I have also highlighted my favourite in the list (always usually within the first 5-8 entries) for future reference. It will enable me to confidently recommend a WLS-friendly option when you enquire (as you frequently do) what ‘is the best yogurt, cook-in sauce, breakfast cereal etc’.
‘Sugar Snub’ is available from http://www.sugarsnub.co.uk priced at £10.99 or as a Kindle and iBooks edition at £3.99
It would make a great Christmas present or stock-filler!