As we discussed last week, one teaspoon of sugar consists of four grams. This week, I’d like to delve deeper into the “who, what, where, why, and how” of added sugars. I’ve discovered a page on the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity that seamlessly fits in to what we are discussing here! I’ve highlighted their most important points in this post, but I’ve also included the link below and encourage you to peruse it yourself:
They go by a variety of pseudonyms, but each of them have the same full name of “Added Sugars.” In addition to the list provided last week, here are some other disguises for added sugars to beware of when you’re scanning ingredient labels: barley malt syrup, beet sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, confectioner’s sugar, date sugar, dehydrated cane juice, dextrose, ethyl mall, fruit juice concentrate, honey, maltodextrin, molasses, rice syrup, sorbitol, sorghum syrup, and finally turbinado sugar (Yale).
Consumption of excessive amounts of added sugars can exacerbate present health conditions and put you at risk for future complications. Besides cardiovascular disease, when added sugars have too much of a presence in your diet, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity, as well as Type 2 Diabetes can follow. Furthermore, an unbalanced diet of sugars more often than not restricts absorption and allocation of crucial vitamins and minerals (Yale).
Children and teenagers consume 52% of added sugars via food, and 48% of added sugars via beverages. It’s not overly surprising that the percentages are balanced due to the fact that the biggest and most menacing product that contains added sugars is soda, at 22.8%. Here’s a list of foods and beverages and their respective percentages of added sugars: Fruitades and Sport Drinks (7.4%), Energy Drinks (.15%), Sweetened Milk (1.9%), Coffee and Tea (3.9%), Alcoholic Beverages (.36%), Sugars and Syrups (6.3%), Candy and Gum (5.7%), Cakes and Cookies (9.4%), Ready-to-Eat Cereals (3%), Bread and Muffins (3.1%), Dairy Desserts (3.8%), Yogurt (1.1%), and lastly, Other Foods (6.48%) (Yale).
There’s simply no reason to consume an excessive amount of added sugar. They offer zero health benefits (only health detriments), and they provide zero nutrients (only empty-calories). In fact, a single teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories! This translates to 240-250 calories (15 to 16 teaspoons of sugar) in a 20 ounce bottle of soda! Yikes (Yale)!
How will this change? As it stands currently, the average American consumes 16 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That’s approximately 5,840 additional teaspoons of sugar per year! Until added sugars are implicitly marked on nutrition labels, it’s up to the consumer to decode the product. First, scan the ingredient label and see if you recognize any of the ingredients to be added sugars “pseudonyms.” If you’re still unsure, take an educated guess. Remember that almost all processed foods contain added sugars while whole foods contain natural sugars (Yale)!
Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,
Yale Rudd Center. June 2014. n.p. n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2015. <http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/what/policy/SSBtaxes/SSB_AddedSugars.pdf>