The Bitter Side of Sugar Labels
As sweet as sugar taste, it isn't so great for our bodies. Sugar consumption has been linked to almost every major disease, from diabetes to cancer, and can lead to poor nutrition, weight gain, increased triglycerides (aka stored fat), inflammation, insulin resistance, increase in bad cholesterol and tooth decay to name a few! Low Sugar Labels Can Be Deceiving Whether it’s for a cleanse, doctor’s orders, or just a conscious choice, cutting down on sugar consumption has become a common trend across the masses. But, cutting sugar isn’t as easy as we think. Reading labels may seem like a quick fix, but the truth is, most product labels are designed to mask the actual amount of sugar found in products. So, we’re going to demystify nutrition labels and point out a few tricks for spotting hidden sugar. First, what is sugar? Sugar is a source of energy for our body made up of carbohydrates. There are four common types of sugar: sucrose (table sugar), fructose and glucose, maltose (malt sugar) and lactose. A major difference between each type of sugar is how we metabolize them in our bodies. Trick one: Hidden sugar names Have you seen maltose, malt syrup, sucrose, corn syrup solids or even fruit juice concentrate on a product label? Those are all special names for one thing: sugar. The word honey isn’t even safe! Unless labeled as raw or unpasteurized, the use of honey in the ingredients list is just another way to hide sugar from the untrained eye. Trick two : Divide and conquer Not only are food companies using sugar synonyms to hide sugar, they are also dividing up the sugar to make it seem like there is less of it! The ingredient list on products starts at the highest and goes to the lowest quantity. Instead of saying 15 grams of sugar, companies are labeling 5 grams of sugar syrup, 5 grams of corn syrup and 5 grams of sucrose. To most, it looks like there’s only 5 grams of sugar! But really, there’s 15 grams! Trick 3: Serving size When it comes to food, size DOES matter! By making a serving size small, the nutrition facts look better than they actually are! An example would be a bag of gummy bears. If just looking at the ingredients and the daily recommended value of each macronutrient, it may seem like there is only a small amount of sugar, but if you actually look at the serving size, you may be surprised to find that the listed serving size is only 2 gummy bears. Who only eats two gummy bears?! If all this has you feeling discouraged, don’t worry, we have some simple solutions to help fight the war on sugar overload. Here’s what to do First: Know your ingredients! If there’s a word that you don’t know that ends in a ose or the word syrup, it is most likely a sugar synonym! Still not sure? Here is a list of words that are used to cover up sugar as an ingredient. Second: Buy plain, no sugar added products and add your own sweetness! Opt for unsweetened almond milk or greek yogurt and then add a teaspoon of raw honey! Not only will you be getting the sweetness you crave, but you will also be getting all the beneficial properties (anti bacterial, enzymes, etc) that raw honey has to offer. Third: Pay attention to portions. Sometimes the calories are too good to be true. Looking at the actual portion will give you a better idea of the amount of sugar the product contains. Fourth: Eat whole food! When you eat whole food, like vegetables and fruit, you don’t need to read a label! Even by including more whole foods in your diet will drastically lower your consumption of sugar. Sugar isn’t so sweet, but with consumer knowledge and a holistic approach to food, saying goodbye to excessive sugar consumption will be easy as pie!