There are certain foods, which we all know contain sugar, such as candy, desserts and soft drinks. But what about hidden sugars found in health foods? Unfortunately, certain health foods could be contributing to your excess sugar intake without you even noticing. Thankfully, many food brands are trying to improve their products to accommodate a more health-conscious population. However, there are still certain things you should be looking out for when walking down the health food aisle.
How to Spot Hidden Sugars in the Ingredients List?
The best way to find hidden sugars is to read the ingredients list on the side or back panel. ‘Sugar’ has over 60 different names, so when you’re checking the nutritional information, make sure you look for words like ‘syrup’, or anything ending in ‘-ose’ such as glucose, sucrose, fructose or dextrose. Even naturally-occurring sweeteners like honey and maple syrup behave like table sugar in the body, and both affect your teeth and your blood glucose levels.
How Much Sugar is Too Much?
Even if the item you’re picking up is found in the “Healthy Food” aisle, it’s still important to check the nutritional information panel. The label will tell you exactly how much sugar is present in each serving in the form of grams. As a dietician, I encourage you to aim for less than 15g of sugar per 100grams. An example of what you should be looking for on a nutrional label is highlighted below.
A Dietician’s Advice on Health Foods
First off, the fact that you’re making healthier choices in the supermarket should be celebrated! You’re definitely on the right track. But as a dietician, the best advice I can give you is – Always check the label! Just because a food claims to be “healthy”, doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Moreover, try your best to stick to whole, unprocessed foods, such as raw fruit, vegetables, whole-grains, lentils, legumes, nuts and seeds. The less packaging, the better. And remember, foods without a nutritional information label is a good sign, because it indicates that there are no hidden sugars.
To read more about sugar, and the difference between “Sugar Free” and “No Sugar Added”, click here.
If you’re interested in baking a delicious, sugar-free Banana Bread recipe, click here.
Author: Georgia Hexter (Accredited Practicing Dietitian)