Hidden Sugars: Where Are They Hiding?


Hidden SugarsSugar is one of life’s great pleasures. It’s found in everything from ‘health bars’ & yoghurts to breads, processed meats, baked beans, sauces, drinks, crisps and pizza.We all know that consuming too much sugar leads to dental problems, obesity, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies and even premature ageing which is probably why, as we refrain from adding it to our tea and sprinkling it over our cereals, sales of packet sugars are the lowest they’ve been since 1975.

However, despite our best efforts to cut back, the amount of sugar we consume has actually increased to an average 6,500 teaspoons every year or 19 tsps a day – double the recommended amount!

Why? Because over 75% of the sugar we consume is actually hidden within the commercially prepared foods we purchase.

Common examples of Hidden Sugars in a typical shopping basket:

1. A can of baked beans: 6tsps of sugar.

2. A can of cola drink: 8tsps of sugar.

3. A can of tinned fruit: 15tsps of sugar.

4. Tomato ketchup: 1 tsp of sugar per 15g serving.

5. Bagel: 1 tsp of sugar per bagel

6. Low fat yoghurt: upto 13 tsps of sugar per pot

7. Fruit bread: 1 tsp of sugar per slice.

What To Do

Here are a few simple tips to help you find those hidden sugars & cut back once and for all.

1: ‘No added sugar’ on the packet: don’t let this fool you.

This only means that the manufacturers have not added sugar.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that the product itself is low in sugar or that the manufacturers haven’t used concentrated high sugar fruit juices instead.  The same applies to so called ‘healthy eating’ products’ as a recent report by ‘Which?’ magazine found many ‘healthy eating ranges’ to be much higher in sugar than the standard versions.

2: Look at the Nutritional Information.
Checking the labels of these foods may be a little tedious at first but you’ll soon get an idea for the amounts of sugars in your favourite products.  Look for the ‘Carbohydrates (of which sugars)’ figure in the nutrition information panel on the label: 10g sugars or more per 100g is a lot of sugar, 2g sugars or less per 100g is a small amount and anything between 2g and 10g per 100g is moderate.

3: Look at the Ingredients.

All sugars must be included here and the ingredients must always be listed in order of largest quantities first.  So, if you see sugar itemised within the first few ingredients or itemised several times within the list as a whole you’ll know that the product is likely to be high in sugar.

Sugar can be listed on food labels under various aliases.  Here are the most common ones:
Sucrose, Fructose, Glucose, Dextrose, Galactose, Lactose, Maltose

4: Eat more whole foods; Prepare more of your meals & snacks yourself
That way you’ll know exactly how much sugar is in the foods you are eating.  Snack on fresh fruits instead of processed cereal or health food bars, throw together a two minute salad or stir fry instead of reaching for a ready meal and drink freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and water instead of soft or fizzy drinks.

5: Avoid cravings for sugary foods brought about by low blood sugars by eating little meals often throughout the day.

Aim to eat at least two low GI meals a day and snack on fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and wholegrain breads.

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