In the attached article the writer details the sneaky ways that we are eating more sugar than we realize. She also reminds us of the different types of sugar that are in our food, many of them cause a worse insulin response than plain old table sugar. The order of ingredients is also discussed, which most people do not understand so it’s a good refresher.
A little of a soap box rant here. My wife and I see and associate with a lot of families and kids. Some of them ask us how they can improve their kid’s behavior. We can give many suggestions on discipline and activity tactics but one of the best things a parent can do is make sure their child has a good solid diet. An example to illustrate this point. A student who as high strung and had a hard time listening at school, home and at the dojo. On further questioning this student had a hard time sitting still for any amount of time. I found out that the parent is allowing 3 or 4 regular soda’s and sports drinks per day, plus a processed food diet that rarely included any vegetables, fruit etc. It is any wonder why there was issues with this student. Now there may be other issues beyond those, but I suggested they start with a good solid diet and no soda, just water and milk. The behavior improved on all levels and so did the student’s grades and performance at school. A little disclaimer, I am not a Dr. or a dietician or anything like that. I am however a certified personal trainer with nutrition and other related specialities. However, what I suggested to this parent is in my world common sense and most parents would have suggested or already are doing the same thing for their own families. Remember a solid nutrition regime is the key to a healthy life.
Written by Emily Lawrence,
When it comes to health hazards, sugar is demonized just as much as sitting all day and almost as much as smoking. At this point, it’s the first ingredient consumers look for on food labels, and when it pops up first, the product often goes back on the shelf. But recently, at Well+Good’s Snackification-themed TALKS event, panelist Siggi Hilmarsson, founder and CEO of the yogurt brand Siggi’s, revealed a sneaky way he’s noticed some food brands are burying sugar in their ingredients lists, purposely deceiving consumers.
“[Brands] use different types of sugar so they can split it up on the ingredients list, and that way, it isn’t listed first,” he explained. At the time, I was hosting the panel and was a bit taken back (although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that some brands will do anything to make money, even if it means intentionally fooling shoppers). A few days later, I called The Nutritious Life Studio CEO and founder Keri Glassman, MS, RDN, CDN, who was also on the panel, to learn more.
“The ingredients list is written from greatest to least amount of product by weight,” she says. “So if the ingredients list reads: ‘oats, apples, sugar,’ it’s made mostly with oats, then mostly with apples, and so on.” As Glassman explains it, there are lots of names sugar can masquerade on the label as, the most popular being sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, dextrose, maltose, and rice syrup.
Glassman says brands will use a combination of the above in order to make their products sweet, so then the label will read, for example, “oats, apples, sucrose, barley malt, rice syrup.” But if you were to add up the amount of sucrose, barley malt, and rice syrup, you’d discover the list should actually say “sugar, oats, apples.” Often, they do what they can to get the most nutritious-sounding ingredient first.
Of course, not all brands split up the sugar for sinister reasons. “Various sugar sources taste slightly different and have different textures,” Glassman points out. “Some brands may use a couple sources to get a texture or consistency they want or round out the taste.”
Fortunately, there’s a major change underway designed specifically to put an end to using different types of sugar solely to pull one over on consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has demanded a label makeover, specifically calling out the number of grams of added sugar, separate from the natural occurring sugars, such as from fruit. (FYI, you typically want to keep your sugar intake below 25 grams a day.) Though the deadline for rolling out the new labels has been delayed and is now TBD, many brands have made the switch already, particularly health-forward brands that are excited to showcase their natural sourcing.
There are lots of names sugar can masquerade on the label as, the most popular being sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, dextrose, maltose, and rice syrup.
Speaking of natural sweeteners, you’ll often see them on labels, too, mixed in with processed sugars. How does Glassman feel about that? “Anything natural is going to be better than processed and they often have nutritional minerals that truly benefit the body,” she says before offering up a major disclaimer. “If you’re trying to control your sugar intake, you should still be cognizant of the amount because natural sweeteners don’t affect the body drastically differently than added sugar.” So even if that box of organic honeycombs cereal is made using real honey and no added sugar, it’s still not a good idea to have as many bowls as you want. (Sorry!)
Here’s the bottom line: Until the FDA’s label change is in full effect, the best way to avoid getting fooled is to familiarize yourself with the different sugar monikers called out in this article and reading the fullingredients list—not just what comes first.