GOOD 4 YOU
Added sugars are hiding, sometimes in plain sight. Here’s what they are, why to be concerned, and how to spot them.
Get smart about sugar to make sweeter choices.
By law, nutrition labels must list how much sugar products contain. But that doesn’t tell you how much is added sugar, the amount beyond what’s naturally found in foods such as fruit and dairy. For example, a glass of milk has 12 grams of sugar, but it’s all from naturally occurring lactose.
Added sugars are everywhere, some in obvious places like cookies and candy, others in less-obvious places like condiments, sports drinks, energy bars, crackers, and breads. They provide sweet flavor, increase shelf life, and help with fermentation and leavening. But they also may play a part in why we become insulin-resistant, struggle to lose weight, and are at increased risk for heart disease.
How to spot them? Food labels list ingredients in descending order by weight, so check to see if sugar tops the list. But some manufacturers get around that by using multiple forms of added sweeteners—each with a different name and in smaller amounts. The best defense is to learn more about added sugars and how to spot them. The list on page 81 is one place to start. And fortunately, the FDA is requiring that all labels list added sugars by 2021, and some companies are already doing it.