You’ve decided to reduce or cut out sugar altogether in your diet. Skipping dessert, axing soda from your diet and not sprinkling the white stuff on fruits and cereal may not be enough to banish excess sugar from your diet.
While studies indicate that many of us eat far more sugar than recommended, people aren’t pouring loads of sugar on their food. A large portion of your daily sugar consumption is due to hidden sugars inside the various foods you eat, packaged and processed foods in particular, which may even seem healthy at first glance.
In order to truly limit sugar in your diet, you’ll need to become a food detective of sorts and sniff out the sneaky ways food companies go about hiding it in the foods you buy.
Take a look at these 4 clues that sugar is hiding in common foods found in the market:
- Sugar Goes by Many Names
Sugar is the common name given to the ingredient responsible for giving your food a sweet taste. However, sugar is identified by many different names. Some you may already recognize, like glucose, fructose, and sucrose, but others are often harder to spot.
When reading ingredient labels, look for mentions of other dry sugars like barley malt, beet sugar, cane juice crystals, corn sweetener, dextran, ethyl maltol, fruit juice concentrate, maltodextrin, panela, and evaporated cane juice, among others.
Use this list as a reference: List of sugars - Wikipedia
- Syrups are Sugar Too
Sugar takes on many forms, as well. Sugar can also be added to foods in the form of syrups. Syrups are usually thick liquids composed of large quantities of sugar that have been dissolved in water. Found in a wide variety of foods, syrups most often show up in beverages or other liquids.
Familiarize yourself with the names of sugary syrups that often show up on food labels. Names like agave nectar, carob syrup, golden syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, oat syrup, rice syrup, and others.
Bookmark this list to refer to: Syrup - Wikipedia
- Food Comes in a Box or Package
Ideally, you want to eat whole foods in their natural state as much as possible to avoid added sugars. Foods sold in boxes or packages are often highly processed and contain loads of sugar. When purchasing these types of products, you have to check the labels. If sugar or starch is listed as one of the first five ingredients, pass.
- The Label Says Diet or Low Fat
Marketers are sneaky. Products claiming to be “diet,” “low fat,” “light” or even “sugar-free,” are often the biggest culprits of hiding excess sugar. Consumers see these buzzwords and assume the food must be healthier, but that’s usually not the case. While these foods may contain lower levels of fat, they often contain a lot of sugar and other unhealthy additives like artificial sweeteners.
Get used to reading labels and doing your research before choosing foods to purchase. Consuming too much sugar could lead to obesity and even diabetes. Foods like pasta sauces, cereals, and even baked goods don’t need sugar to taste good. When you are craving something sweet, purchase products sweetened with stevia instead or make your own stevia-sweetened foods.
Visit www.cookingwithstevia.com for healthy recipes.