Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. Consuming too much of sweetened foods and beverages can lead to weight gain, blood sugar problems and an increased risk of heart disease, among other dangerous conditions. For these reasons, added sugar should be kept to a minimum whenever possible — that is, sugar that food manufacturers add to products to increase flavor or extend shelf life.
A large part of your daily sugar intake is hidden inside various packaged and processed foods that many of us consider to be healthy. Unfortunately, food manufacturers often hide the total amount of sugar by listing it under different names that are hard to spot on food labels. Keep an eye out on these added sugars when you read ingredient lists.
Naturally occuring sugars:
Glucose, fructose and galactose are the 3 main types of simple sugars or monosaccharides, a type of carbohydrate.
Glucose is the main fuel source providing energy for our body. It is found in fruits, a variety of vegetables, legumes, whole grain bread, cereal and pasta.
Fructose is found in many fruits and vegetables.
Galactose is the sugar found in dairy products like milk and cheese.
Sucrose is the combination of glucose and fructose. It is also known as “table sugar”. It comes primarily from sugarcane, sugar beets, sugar maple sap, dates, and honey.
When sugar is used in the preparation and processing of foods or beverages to improve the flavor they are referred to as added sugar. For example, fructose is often used as a sweetener in soda and fruit-flavored drinks.
It is estimated that two-thirds of all packaged food and beverages have added sugar. The most common sources are:
fruit drinks, soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, coffee drinks
baked goods – donuts, cookies, cakes and pies
dairy desserts such as ice cream
“healthy snacks” such as energy bars and fruit flavored yogurt
Sugar has many different names and these are used to hide the fact that the product contains sugar and possibly a lot of it. Because of this, people may not be aware of how much added sugar they are consuming on a daily basis. This high intake of sugar can lead to adverse effects throughout the body, from the brain to the liver, to the joints and heart.
Read the ingredients on any processed food and watch out for the sugar hiding under these aliases:
Brown rice syrup
Cane juice crystals
Corn syrup solids
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrate