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How to know how much sugar is in your food

By Brierley Wright, October 5, 2012 - 9:17am

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How to know how much sugar is in your food

One of the biggest offenders in our diets is an abundance of added sugars. (Find out how much sugar is too much here.) But until an “added sugars” category makes its debut on the Nutrition Facts Panel (the FDA has started to explore the possibility with a consumer study), it’s challenging to know just how much added sugar is lurking in your favorite packaged foods. And although more and more food companies are ditching high-fructose corn syrup, their products aren’t necessarily sugar-free. In fact, they may contain just as much sugar as before, just in a different form.

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Healthy-Sounding Food Label Claims to Avoid

Here are 3 tips to sleuth out how much added sugar is in your food—as reported in EatingWell Magazine:


1. Read the Nutrition Facts Panel:
Under a food label’s “sugars” designation, both natural and added sugars are included. Natural sugars (such as lactose in milk and fructose in fruit) are not usually a problem because they come in small doses and are packed with other nutrients, which helps slow absorption.

2. Check the ingredient list:
All of the following are aliases for added sugar. The higher up on the list they appear, the more sugar is in the product.
Dextrose, fructose, honey, invert sugar, raw sugar, malt syrup, rice syrup, sucrose, xylose, molasses, corn sweetener, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, corn syrup, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, cane crystals, cane sugar, crystalline fructose, barley malt, beet sugar, caramel.

Don’t Miss: Are Some Sugars Healthier Than Others?

3. Compare products:
Determine how much unhealthful added sugar your product contains by comparing it to a comparable sugar-free product, such as strawberry yogurt to plain yogurt or canned peaches in syrup to canned peaches in juice. (Find out here which healthy-sounding foods aren’t actually good for you.)

Related: Packaged Foods You Can Feel Good About Eating

Do you watch your added-sugar intake? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Brierley Wright, Health Blog, Food & health news

Brierley Wright
Brierley's interest in nutrition and food come together in her position as nutrition editor at EatingWell. Brierley holds a master’s degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A Registered Dietitian, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont.

Brierley asks: Do you watch your added-sugar intake?

Tell us what you think:

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