What you will learn from this blog post:
1. Hidden sugar names in food.
2. How much sugar we should consume daily?
3. Top 5 foods with hidden sugar.
Foods with a lot of sugar taste good, so we eat tend to eat too much of them.
Sugars in a diet can be naturally occurring or added. Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). Added sugars are sugars and syrups are put in foods during preparation or processing, or added at the table.
Natural sugar can certainly be part of a healthy diet, the problem comes when we simply take in too many calories. It’s the extra calories from sugar in our diet that causes health problems like diabetes and obesity.
Let’s look at some numbers:
- 1 gram of sugar is 4 calories
- 4 grams of sugar is 1 teaspoon of sugar/1 sugar cube
Illustration: If a product has 15 grams of sugar per serving, that’s 60 calories just from the sugar alone, not counting the other ingredients.
To tell if a processed food contains added sugars, you need to look at the list of ingredients. Sugar has many other names.
Other names for added sugars include:
Corn syrup, High-fructose corn syrup, Fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey, and maple syrup, glucose, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed starch, invert sugar, cane sugar, sugar beets, sweetener, maple sugar, and molasses, evaporated cane juice.
How much sugar should we consume daily?
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons.
Added sugars increase excess energy and reduce nutrient density in our diets, often contributing to weight gain and obesity," said study author Elyse Powell, Royster Fellow at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill who identified a peak in added sugar consumption from 2003-04 and then a slight decline leading up to 2009-10. "Many American adults and children are consuming so much added sugar, that despite recent declines, consumption is still well above the recommended amount."
Various foods have had more and more hidden sugars added to them over the decades to make them tastier and to ensure we will keep coming back and buying more.
Top 5 Foods with Hidden Sugar:
Sweetened Beverages: Some beverages such as Fruit juices, Soft drinks and Power drinks are loaded with sugar. Even more tricky are the ones that are labeled as containing Zero sugar. When you read the ingredient label of the back, don’t be surprised to see the hidden sugar names such as lactulose, high corn fructose syrup listed on the back.
Salad Dressings: Salad dressings, particularly light and fat-free versions, are loaded with salt and sugar to compensate for the flavor lost by cutting out the fat. Some brands pack in as much as 9 grams of sugar per serving.
Breakfast Cereal: “healthy,” “whole grain” cereals and granolas that can pack upwards of 15 grams of sugar in less than a cup.
Commercial Sauces and soups: Whether it’s a spicy curry sauce, savory Barbeque sauce or a basic tomato sauce for your spaghetti, almost anything in a jar will come with loads of added sugar–and that includes soup.
Diet Foods: Thanks to clever marketing, a lot of consumers get tricked about this. Typical healthy-looking snack bars often look like they’re good for you due to their packaging; however, they can be full of hidden sugar. Fat-free or diet foods may look and sound healthy, but typically when something like fat is taken out of a product, something else gets added. If you read the ingredient list, sugar will be there under one of its many hidden names.
What you need to do: Be sure to read all nutrition labels. Stay away from sugar and sugary products to avoid sabotaging your healthy eating lifestyle or weight loss.
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