Watch Out for Excessive Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup
It’s pretty common knowledge that sugar is not good and can literally rot your body. What you may not be aware of is sugar consumption, especially in high quantities, can lead to health issues like heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Food manufacturers have come up with some pretty tricky ways of hiding sugars in the label ingredients on many of the common foods we buy. They’ve come up with alternate names, which are typically hidden towards the end of the ingredient list on the package because most people don't read that far down the label.
Sugar in Disguise
Some of the common alternative sugar names on food packages may surprise you. Especially because they may not sound unhealthy. These can include things like Beet Sugar, which sounds like a veggie, right?! Other tricky label names for sugar include Brown Sugar, Cane Sugar, Cane Juice, Date Sugar, Organic Raw Sugar, Fructose and Evaporated Cane Juice. Those are just some of the names in a long list of alternate ingredient descriptions for sugar in disguise. So, when you’re shopping, be on the lookout and if it’s something you’re not sure of, look it up before you purchase the food item.
Syrups are another way sugar is disguised in food label ingredients. These are thick liquid forms of sugar. Typically they are found in cold drinks like sodas and fruit juices. If you’re buying a fruit juice be sure it’s actually made from juice and not just flavored to taste like juice. That’s where you’ll find these syrups. Same goes for fruit cups. Be sure they’re in their natural juices with no added sugars. High Fructose Corn Syrup is among the most common names, but since people have become wise to that, it can be listed under other names. These include, but are not limited to, Malt, Maple, Golden, Honey, Oat, Rice Bran and Rice Syrups.
Manufacturers have also taken to using natural sugars to sweeten products, so they don’t have to list them as a sugar ingredient necessarily. Fructose is one such ingredient. Most people think fructose comes from fruit, so that sounds healthy! That’s partially true, but if it’s not in it’s natural state, it’s no longer a natural sugar. It’s processed to become a sugar additive in many foods. Glucose is another of these cleverly disguised sugar ingredients. Glucose is also found in fruits, vegetables and honey, when in their natural state. Galactose (sounds like a Marvel villain!) is found in milk and dairy products. Maltose, which is found in barley (sorry beer enthusiasts), as well as Sucrose, which is made up by combining glucose and fructose and is also found naturally occurring in certain plants, are other ways sugar is disguised on the ingredient labels.
Using many different types of sugar in one product is another way to get around listing sugar as a main ingredient, since they can be spread throughout and therefore hidden on the label. Ingredients are listed by weight (or volume) on packaged foods, and the order of ingredients dictates the percentage in the food product, from higher to lower. This is a tricky way to make the food appear healthier than it really is. By using smaller amounts of a variety of sugars, it can make the product appear low in sugar when it really isn’t. So, be sure to read down the whole list of ingredients when choosing a food product to be sure you’re not being fooled. Another rule of thumb is, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
This is a newer way food manufacturers have taken to hide sugars in food products. It makes it look less threatening if it’s named something that sounds natural. Be wary of the word “natural.” That’s another disguise. The label may say “unrefined” or “no refined sugars.” This just means the product does not contained processed white sugar. It does not mean it is sugar free or healthy. So, if you want to be sure of what you’re eating, read through all of the ingredients and if you’re uncertain, the best way to go is to make it yourself with natural ingredients in their pure form.
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