How to spot added sugar

One of the most difficult things about cutting down sugar intake, is being misled by food labels. There’s no shortage to the amount of products we mistake for being healthy and then realize that they’re not healthy at all.

Added sugar is not just found in sweet treats like chocolate or biscuits, but also in foods that we don’t think even needed sugar in the first place! It’s not uncommon for the likes of sauces, bread, and condiments to contain added sugar. In fact, sometimes so-called healthy granola or protein bars contain just as much sugar as chocolate bars!

Reading the label correctly:

Most foods have a nutritional label on the back of the packet. This always breaks down the amount of calories, protein, salt, carbohydrates and carbohydrates that sugar on the back of the packet per 100 grams. The front of the packet will usually also have a simplified version with the percentage of a nutrient it has based on a recommended daily value, for example, if it contains 200 calories the percentage will read as 10% based on a 2000 calorie diet. Some will also have the nutritional breakdown per serving, or for the whole packet on the back next to the 100-gram model – however not every brand will. To monitor your sugar intake, and the intake of other nutrients, you need to calculate how much you want to eat, for example half of a 40gram bar based on the information on the packet.

So if the label says that 10 grams of carbohydrates sugar per 100 grams of the food, and you want to eat 50 grams then there’s 5 grams of sugar in that serving. Sometimes a label gives the nutritional breakdown for a food per 100 grams, but there isn’t even 100 grams in the packet then, but the serving size and the amount of sugar per serving can still be calculated the same way.

Most people glance at the percentages and think what their eating is reasonably healthy as they misled the label’s nutritional value to apply for the whole product, and not just one serving, which means if they eat the whole thing, then they’ve ingested more calories and sugars than they thought.

Different names for sugar:

As we discussed in the last two blog posts, the prefix “ose” is at the end of natural sugars names such as glucose, fructose, and lactose while “ol” is at the end of alcohol sugars such as erythritol, sorbitol, and xylitol. However, there are exceptions, such as honey or coconut sugar which don’t have “ose” in their names, the same applies for sugar alcohols such as isomalt, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates.

When it comes to going sugar free, alcohol sugars are not much of a concern as they have a low GI, it’s natural and refined sugar that’s a cause of concern.

Aside from ingredient names that are easily identified as sugar such as cane sugar, corn syrup, or fruit juice, there are other ingredients that are not easily understood to be sugars.

Here’s some deceptive names for sugar on food labels:

● Panocha

● Treacle

● Muscovado

● Molasses

● Maltodextrin

● HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)

● Sweet Sorghum