We live in an age where consumers are trying to become more health conscious. It is important to control what we eat, including the amount of items like salt and sugar. This means that we habitually read the ingredients of different types of food, but then again, there is always that one new product, which looks extremely seductive with the phrase printed across the front, “No added sugar.” What’s the gimmick?
This is a great marketing gimmick, since what most people don’t realise is that this refers to the amount of sugar added (or not) during production. It does not actually mean that there is no sugar in this particular product, which is where all the confusion comes in with products like kids’ juice boxes. While there might not be any added sugar, the natural sugar content of fruit is very high, so these juice boxes that are “100% fruit” are actually filled with natural sugars.
Of course natural sugars are fine, but everything in moderation. If you are trying to control the amount of sugar in your diet, or your childrens’ diet, you need to be aware of the various forms sugar comes in. The best thing to do is keep your eye out for words ending in “ose.” (And like food author Michael Pollan says: if you can’t pronounce it, probably better to skip it.)
Sweet as honey
Honey is one of the natural sweeteners we love, especially in honey cake around Jewish New Year. On the other hand, delicious though it may be, you need to make sure you don’t eat too much, since a spoon of honey actually has a higher calorie count than sugar.
It’s easy to get carried away with a spoonful of sugar, but try not to let the sugar content of your food overflow.
It all comes down to sugar being a simple form of carbohydrate that your body uses to produce energy in the cells. When you eat these simple forms of carbohydrate, it is burned as energy quickly, whereas if you eat a more complex form of carbohydrate, such as starch, your body has to break it down into sugars before it can use it.
All these different forms of sugar impact your blood sugar levels, which is why it is so important for diabetics to be aware of the sugar content (both simple and complex) in their food. If you have a family history of diabetes then you should also be careful since you are more prone to developing it.
At the end of the day, whether you are diabetic or not, it is important to be aware of the sugar content you are absorbing in your daily diet. Just remember than not all sugars are spelt s-u-g-a-r so read the ingredients carefully, and don’t be fooled by the sly “No added sugar” label.
What are some alternative names for sugar? On the diet blog they list 25 other names:
- Brown sugar
- Corn syrup
- Demerara Sugar
- Free Flowing Brown Sugars
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Invert Sugar
- Maple syrup
- Muscovado or Barbados Sugar
- Powdered or confectioner’s sugar
- Rice Syrup
- Sugar (granulated)
- Turbinado sugar
Make note and remember you can still enjoy your favorite sweets this holiday with no guilt if you eat in moderation.