Did you know that some packaged food products that you bought from grocery store actually contain more sugar than you would expect? Some foods that most people would consider “healthy” may also have a lot of added sugar in them. People don’t even realize they’re eating it because sugar goes by many different names - which is why it’s easy for manufacturers to hide them in the products. As a consumer, It is important to be aware of the information on the food label to make informed choices when buying products.
First of all, what is added sugar?
Sugars in your diet can be naturally occurring or added. Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose and glucose) and milk (lactose). Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared.
Why are added sugars a problem?
While adding sugar to processed foods may help to enhance flavor, texture and shelf life of the food, it does no good to our health. Consuming excess sugars can increase the risk of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and tooth decay. Added sugar can also lead to poor nutrition because it does not provide any nutritional value and only contributes to extra calories.
Where to find hidden sugars?
The best way to ensure you’re not consuming too much added sugars is to get in the habit of always scanning the ingredient list on food packaging before you throw the item in your cart. When reading the panel, check how the ingredients are listed. Because ingredients are listed by quantity from high to low: a product that lists sugar at the top of the ingredient list is likely to be high in added sugars.
Some foods don’t have the word ‘sugar’ in the ingredients list on their packaging, but still have sugar in them – it’s just labelled in a different way.
Feeling overwhelmed? Use this list of sugar names below to help you avoid a head rush when you shop!
Key Sources of Added Sugar
Most people are able to identify desserts, candy and fruit juices as having added sugar, but what about less obvious sources? Some foods that most people would consider “healthy” may actually have a lot of added sugar in them, such as: breakfast cereals, flavored yogurt, condiments and energy bar.
By reducing the amount of added sugars in your diet, you can cut calories without compromising nutrition. In fact, cutting back on foods with added sugars may make it easier to get the nutrients you need without exceeding your calorie goal.
Take this easy first step: Next time you're tempted to reach for a soda or other sugary drink, grab a glass of plain water instead.