Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tenant #5: Hidden Sources of Sugar

Its in what we drink, its in much of what we eat, and it’s hiding in many foods that we would never suspect. Its in pickle relish, ketchup, bread, crackers, and nuts. Its in our peanut butter, coffee creamer, and yogurt. Its even in lunch meat! What is it? Sugar. And, as sugar has been added to many of the foods we buy and eat, our nation has become fatter and unhealthier.

Doctors, health experts, and 95210 all advise us to eliminate added sugar from our diets. The American Heart Association recommends that women limit their added sugar to no more than 6 teaspoons (or 100 calories) while men shouldn’t consume more than 9 teaspoons (or 150 calories) each day. Many Americans consume an average of 475 calories of added sugar each day, sometimes by eating foods that they think are healthy!

The 95210 tenants recommend zero exposure to sugar for children. But that means more than just dumping our the candy jar and swapping soda for water. There are many places where sugar is hiding in our foods. Are these sugar-shocked foods in your pantry?

Reduced Fat Items

Reduced fat sounds good, but many times, sugar is added to replace the flavor lost when fat is removed. But, it's hiding behind the names of maltodextrin, corn syrup solids and molasses. Other names for sugar include:
  • agave nectar,
  • brown sugar, 
  • cane crystals, 
  • cane sugar, 
  • corn sweetener, 
  • corn syrup, 
  • high fructose corn syrup, 
  • crystalline fructose, 
  • dextrose, 
  • evaporated cane juice, 
  • fructose, 
  • fruit juice concentrates, 
  • glucose, 
  • honey, 
  • invert sugar, 
  • lactose, 
  • maltose, 
  • malt syrup, 
  • molasses, 
  • raw sugar, 
  • sucrose, and 
  • syrup
Sauces and Marinades
Barbecue sauce, ketchup, and marinades often add up to four teaspoons of sugar to our foods! Its easy to overdo it on these condiments, so use a teaspoon to measure out a portion for your meal, and calculate it when you are logging your calories. These seemingly minimal additions to our plate really add up in sugar and calories!

"Light" Salad Dressing
Just as in reduced fat items, foods that are promoted as "lite" or having fewer calories often have more sugar or are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, which have been linked to sugar cravings. Check the food label for the amount of sugar in your store-bought dressing or make your own with some of these recipes.

Cereal and Granola Bars
Cereal is a quick and easy go-to breakfast for busy mornings, and sometimes an even easier dinner for tired nights! But some bowls of cereal can add up to three teaspoons of added sugar per serving. Even cereals marketed to adults have more sugar than necessary, and in some granola bars sugar is one of the first ingredients. Check out these Worst Cereals for Kids and these Best Bets in the Cereal Aisle to make sure you are fueling with something good for you. 

Sugar is a necessary part of a balanced diet. Adequate carbohydrates are essential for brain functioning and sports performance, and there is a place for sugar in baking and other recipes. But, sweetness and sports fuel can be effectively found in fruits, vegetables, and wholesome foods. When you decrease the amount of added sugar in the foods you eat, your body benefits.

Read a few labels and take some extra time at the grocery store this week. You may find that sugar tenant is easier to reach than you thought!

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