What’s the deal with added sugar?
As of now, there is no way to distinguish between naturally occurring sugar and added sugar in food, unless you check the ingredients label. But even then it can be confusing – did you know there are a staggering 56 names for sugar on product ingredient labels, including glucose, dextrose and brown rice syrup? (1) Sometimes, if you add all of these ingredients up, sugar can end up being the #1 ingredient in the food.
Sugar seems to be in just about everything, especially packaged and highly processed foods. A tablespoon of barbecue sauce can have about 6g of sugar and flavored yogurt can contain more than 30g per serving (2).
The average American consumes a whopping 88g of added sugar per day and the World Health Organization recommends limiting added sugar intake to less than 10% of your total daily calorie intake, or less than
25g per day. (3)
Why is eating so much added sugar a problem? Not only is it a source of empty calories that provides very little nutritional value, but sugar can also cause serious health complications.
Until the new nutrition facts guidelines come into play in late 2018, you can reduce your added sugar intake by reading ingredient labels and cooking more of your meals at home, where you have better control over the ingredients.
- Learn to Recognize the 56 Different Names for Sugar. Retrieved from http://www.responsiblefoods.org/sugar_names on 22-Apr-2016.
- Johnson, R. K., Appel, L. J., Brands, M., Howard, B. V., Lefevre, M., Lustig, R. H., Sachs, F., Steffen, L. M., & Wylie-Rosett, J. (2009). Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation,120 (11), 1011-1020.