Limiting Added Sugars and Getting Familiar with New Food Labels
By Melanie Mitchell, Dietitian
Snack crackers, cookies, sweetened drinks, energy drinks, and other pre-packaged or processed foods taste good in part to the sugar added to these products. Although these foods may taste good, in the long run they are not good for disease prevention or our beach bodies. Excess consumption of added sugars in the diet has now been linked to an increased risk in cancer, heart disease, and other inflammatory disease processes. Fortunately, it will soon be easier to spot added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Label.
Food is fuel for us to efficiently do all the activities that our bodies and minds need to do on a daily basis. Sugary snacks and drinks are full of empty calories or calories that do not offer many vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants. Limiting your intake of sugary foods will also help to decrease excess calorie intake and therefore will be helpful if your goal is to achieve a healthy weight. Instead, opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, and unsweetened drinks which containing naturally occurring sugars as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Reviewing the Nutrition Facts Labels on foods that you typically eat is a great way to educate yourself on the amount of added sugar you are consuming. As of now, only a few companies are separating “added sugars” from the “total sugars” line in the food label. If added sugars are not highlighted, the ingredients list is also another way to look for added sugars. Added sweeteners and sugars would include the following: brown sugar, white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, corn syrup, molasses, or honey to name a few. If you see that the food your are about to enjoy is high in added sugars but you still really want that food, look at the “serving size” and stick to the amount listed as a serving.