Hidden Sugars in Foods

Surveys from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that the consumption of sugar has been steadily on the rise almost yearly since 1982. Individuals may consume more than 20 teaspoons of sugar in their diet (about 100 grams) and most of this excess sugar is consumed from fruit drinks and soft drinks. Excess sugar can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, a compromised immune system, candida, as well as vitamin deficiencies. High consumption of sugar depletes calcium, magnesium, Vitamin E, chromium, and copper from the body, as well as interfering with your absorption of protein.

sugarHow much sugar do you think you eat in an average day…? Sugar can creep into your diet in unexpected ways from canned vegetables to canned beans, to condiments, salad dressings, yogurt, crackers, peanut butter, and fruit juices. What about fruits? Even though fruits are beneficial and supply vitamins/minerals, certain types are high in sugar such as dates, prunes, raisins, pineapple, and watermelon. These fruits are considered medium to high on the glycemic index, which can lead to a higher blood glucose response in the body. If you choose to eat these fruits, pair them with quality protein and/or fat (nuts and/or seeds) to help to keep the body’s glucose at a steady rate. If your diabetetic or have high blood sugar levels, better fruit options include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and kiwis.

One thing that always surprises me is when I look at the ingredient label of various types of yogurt. Besides being aware of, and avoiding high fructose corn syrup, I often see evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, honey, and maltose, etc., which are just other ways of incorporating sugar into what would be a great, nutritious, calcium-rich snack. Instead, buy plain, non-fat yogurt and add your own granola or fresh fruit to make it a bit sweeter if need be. Snacks aimed for kids, such as fruit roll-ups, fruit juices, cereals, jello’s, and puddings may also have many hidden sugars.

The next time you shop, take the time to read through ingredient labels to be sure you are buying the best product for yourself or your family. Look out for those hidden words in which sugar hides.

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