Added Sugar “Pseudonyms” and Other Super Sleuth Secrets

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:

http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/what/policy/SSBtaxes/SSB_AddedSugars.pdf

Who?

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).

What?

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).

Where?

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).

Why?

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?

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,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

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>

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6 thoughts on “Added Sugar “Pseudonyms” and Other Super Sleuth Secrets

  1. Dean

    Katie,

    Great article! I think this is at the heart of a major health epidemic in America-Type 2 Diabetes. Although I wasn’t able to find statistics, it is certainly on the rise. In 2012 there were 86 million Americans over the age of 20 with pre-diabetes, up from 79 million just two years prior to that. That’s almost a third of the population who are at risk for serious health complications and what the American Diabetes Association considers to be “co-morbid conditions” such as higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease, blindness, and amputations. My understanding is that this is largely preventable by living a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise and heathy eating like you are helping us all achieve.

    It takes about 3,500 extra calories in your diet to add a pound of weight to your body. So the 16 tsp of added sugar that we eat on average will add a pound to our bodies every other week, or 26 pounds per year. And let’s consider for a moment that if we are consuming that much added sugar, how likely is it that the foods that contain all that added sugar are providing us with the nutrients that we need and that those pounds are “good”, lean pounds?

    I invite you to look at a BMI chart. Add 26 pounds to your current weight and see what it does. For people that are not underweight or close to it, the 16 added grams of sugar per day are going to land you in the overweight category in a year’s time.

    Making matters worse are the super sugars that are so much sweeter than real sugar, making us crave more and more sugar. To the extent that sugar itself can’t satiate our appetite for it. *sigh*

    I am passionate about this topic. My mom died at the age of 56 from a co-morbid condition associated with Type 2 diabetes. She wasn’t obese. I think she would have been in the “normal” range on a BMI chart. But she had a serious sweet tooth. A lot of the calories she ate were empty, sugary calories. I have that same sweet tooth. And there are a lot more convenient foods loaded up with sugars now than when my mom was alive. So I try to be careful. I hope you all are too!

    Thanks Katie!
    Dean

    1. Thank you for sharing your story with us, I’m so sorry for your loss. I really appreciate your insightful comments about Type 2 Diabetes and the caloric consequences of added sugars, regardless of a person’s current weight.

  2. Tara

    Katie, thank you so much for this information. Since I have read the labels more thoroughly and simply cut out that extra sugar I have not only lost three pounds but I feel better. I also tried some of the Iberico cheese recently that you posted previously and it is delicious. Thank you again. I look forward to your next post.

  3. El

    Katie, not only do you research a subject, you thoroughly break it own. One can fully understand the “Who” “What” and “Where”. I’m grateful! Thanks to you I always read the labels. You are so right about sugar, it is disguised so well, in so many products. Keep on keeping me informed. I have so much to learn from you. Thanks Katie!

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