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finding sugar in processed foods

New food labels will give us a lot more information on where sugar is hiding in our food

A sugar by any other name is just as sweet … Or is that a rose? I didn’t pay attention to the “Romeo and Juliet” section of ninth grade English. What I do know is that with the new food labels on the horizon, we will have a lot more information on sugar and where it is hiding in our food.

As a kid, I remember reading the cereal box as I was having breakfast. I know. Super boring right? Well the label has changed significantly over the last 30 or more years, and it’s quite informative.

Added sugar is any sugar that is added during the processing of a food that does not naturally have sugar in it. The added sugar can be cane sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey, maltose, syrup, or even fruit or vegetable juice concentrate.

It has been shown that when consuming more than 10 percent of your daily calories from these processed foods with added sugars, it becomes difficult to meet nutritional needs and stay within the calorie limits for weight maintenance.

So, why doesn’t the manufacturer just stop adding sugar and the problem would be solved? Right? Well it isn’t that easy. The browning process for bread requires some sugar, so it gets added. Also pasta sauces and cereals have some sugar added for palatability.

Also, all sugars are not created equal. Right now, for those patients on FODMAP or low sucrose and starch diets, the label helps only a little. Reading down to where the ingredients are listed is critical as those added sugars might just be those mono- or disaccharides that they are having a challenge with.

The new label will be an improvement with bigger type for calories and amended serving sizes more like what we actually eat. More importantly, the added sugar information will help us all to make more informed choices about what we choose to eat.

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