Food Facts: Sugar

Added sugars may make foods sweet and tasty, but they are certainly not rewarding for your health! When shopping for your valentine, steer away from the candy isle and find something more tempting!

Added sugars are sugars that a food company adds to their foods during processing; they are not naturally occurring. Their properties as preservers and flavor enhancers help some food products to be more appealing. While they do add flavor, they are also adding empty calories to your body, increasing your waistline, and even possibly increasing your risk of chronic disease. Added sugars do not provide your body with any vitamins and minerals; instead, they add unneeded calories. Every teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories, just think how many calories you’re getting from a 12-ounce bottled soda that can have 10-15 teaspoons of sugar per serving!

Often times, food companies disguise added sugars on the ingredient label so that you cannot easily identify them. Common names like sucrose, fructose, and brown sugar are not normally found; instead, they are referred to as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, malt syrup, molasses, or fruit juice concentrates. Your body has room for 300 of these discretionary calories, at the most, each day; this is about 18.5 teaspoons of sugar, or a little less than one bottled soda! By decreasing your consumption of soft drinks, candies, ice creams, and desserts, you can save room for that extra slice of pizza!

Added sugars are not to be confused with naturally occurring sugars in foods. Your body needs naturally occurring sugars from carbohydrate containing foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and milk products. Naturally occurring sugars are needed for fuel and proper functioning of the body. Your body requires that your daily diet be made up of 45-65% carbohydrates, because of the importance natural sugars have in your everyday life. So, make your sugars count! Consume foods with sugars that are good for your body, rather than those that are not useful!

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References:

Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

Lifeclinic Health Management Systems

MyPlate

MyPlate Continued

The Nemours Foundation


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