Saturday, 3 December 2016

There May Be More Sugar In Your Food Than You Realize

As of July 26, 2018, you’ll be seeing a freshly revamped food label on all packaged foods. The new labels, recently signed into law by the FDA, bring with them a number of changes, including a bigger calorie number and more reasonable serving sizes. Additionally, all food manufacturers will be required to be transparent about the total amount of added sugars found in the product.
What Does “Added Sugar” Mean?
Though many health experts have been critical of the new food labels, the addition of sugar transparency has been generally well-received. However, it’s worth noting that just because the label will show the total amount of added sugar, it won’t show the amount of naturally occurring sugar within the product. For example, if a food product contains apples or dates, the amount of sugar in those fruits will not be reflected in the label. 
Why is that a problem? While fructose from fruit may not be the most insidious sounding ingredient, it does, in fact, have the same health repercussions of added sugars. The Atlantic explains:
“Eating whole fruit is better than eating the sugar from that fruit in isolation. But the sugar that comes from fruit is just not healthier—not different in any substantive way—from the sugar that comes from sugarcane. And this misunderstanding is exactly how food producers will exploit this rule. They will add apple juice or agave to everything that kids (especially kids) eat, and then their product will technically have no ‘added sugars,’ even when they have a lot of added sugars.”
Other Names for Sugar
It get even more convoluted beyond that. In addition to added sugars such as cane sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave, etc., there are a plethora of other names under which sugar can masquerade. Here are just a few:
  • Anhydrous dextrose
  • Cane crystals
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Crystal dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Lactose
  • Liquid fructose
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Pancake syrup
If this list seems shocking, that’s because it’s a big problem. Consider a few of the common grocery store items you probably purchase, assuming they don’t contain added sugar: things such as as condiments, salad dressings, plain yogurt, marinara sauces, packaged “healthy” meals, bread and marinades.
Because there are so many different ingredient names under which sugar can hide, our current labels don’t necessarily include an accurate portrayal of sugar amounts. The new labels hope to fix this.

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