Sugars Part 2 0
Posted on 11, February 2018
in Category Tips
Natural vs. Added Sugars
Natural sugars exist in any food that contains carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are long chains of sugar (glucose) molecules. There are other types of natural sugars that help to make up carbohydrates including fructose (fruit and honey), maltose (grains) and lactose (dairy) as well as others. Foods that have carbohydrates include: fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, and dairy.
Added sugars are any sugar that has been added to a food or beverage. Sugar can be added either during the processing of a food/beverage or added to the final product. Added sugars can be natural sugars or they can be manufactured.
Added Sugar and Health
Consuming excess added sugars is directly linked to elevated triglyceride levels, weight gain, insulin resistance and inflammation.
The most recent 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans acknowledge the threat to health that comes with consuming excess added sugars. The new recommendation is that no more than 10% of total calories should come from added sugars. Most Americans consume approximately 13% of total calories from added sugars. According to the USDA, most of these sugars are coming from “sugar-sweetened beverages (including soft drinks, fruit drinks, coffee and tea, sport and energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages) and snacks and sweets (including grain-based desserts, dairy desserts, candies, sugars, jams, syrups, and sweet toppings).”
Consume less than 10% of total calories per day from added sugar.
If you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, 10% is 200 calories from added sugar.
Sugar has 4 calories per gram. 10% total calories from added sugar is 50 grams of sugar per day.
This is equivalent to 12.5 teaspoons or 21.75 sugar cubes.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men. The AHA limits for children vary depending on their age and caloric needs, but range between 3-6 teaspoons (12 – 25 grams) per day.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Until recently, it was difficult to determine whether a product contained added sugars. The nutrition facts label and ingredient list identified sugar content, but did not discern between naturally occurring sugars and added sugars.
By July of this year, the Food and Drug Administration requires that manufacturers comply with updated labeling laws. Previous nutrition facts labels listed total carbohydrates and sugars, but it was difficult to determine how many of the total carbohydrates were from added sugar. In the new labels, there is more transparency about the amount of added sugars in a product, as you can see in the side-by-side comparison (image sourced from the FDA, link here)
The ingredients list will outline the specific type of added sugar in a product. As we learned in last week’s blog post, not all sugars are the same and are listed simply as sugar. Here are some ways added sugars may appear in an ingredient list (list is not comprehensive)
Barley malt (syrup)
Coconut palm sugar
Dehydrated date juice
Evaporated cane juice
High fructose corn syrup
Sugar (granulated sugar)