What you should know about added sugar in food – Orange County Register

If you read the nutrition facts label when you shop, you’ve probably noticed one thing many packaged foods have in common – lots of added sugar! Desserts and delis aside, common, seemingly healthy household foods like breads, cereals, sauces, and oatmeal are loaded with surprising amounts of sugar. What should the average consumer know about sugar and how do we arm ourselves to reduce this often over-consumed ingredient?

Added sugars are those added during food processing and can include table sugar, sugar in syrups and honey, and sugars in concentrated fruit and vegetable juices. Foods with added sugars should not be confused with foods with natural sugars such as regular milk, fresh fruit and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and beets. These foods that naturally contain sugar are fine, and many have inherent health benefits. However, eating a diet high in excess sugar can contribute to health problems such as heart disease, inflammation, unintentional weight gain, diabetes and fatty liver disease.

So what does moderate added sugar intake look like? It is recommended that women keep added sugar to no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day, and men, who typically have a higher average daily calorie requirement, limit added sugar to 36 grams (9 teaspoons) per day. day. Food and drinks with added sugar should not be served to children under two years of age.

Unless you’re eating mostly whole foods and homemade foods with no added sugars, you’re probably getting enough sugar. Common sources of added sugar include sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and teas, as well as ready-to-eat cereals, yoghurts, dried fruit, baked goods and condiments such as barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce and salad dressing.

One of the best tools to help reduce your added sugar intake is the nutrition facts label, which can help decipher a product’s sugar content per serving. Note that every 4 grams of added sugar equals one teaspoon of sugar. So a kids’ breakfast cereal with 12 grams of added sugar has the equivalent of three teaspoons of sugar per serving.

Foods with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients are usually high in sugar. However, sugar can go by many names, including corn syrup, invert sugar, malt sugar, fruit juice concentrate, fructose, sucrose, and molasses, to name a few.