It is not surprising that food companies use a lot of research and science to add taste.  To maximize sales, many food companies hide sugar in other forms. Perhaps even worse, sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners that really haven’t been around long enough to understand their long-term effects.

Some foods just have loads and loads of sugar and they are not shy about it at all. Regular soft drinks are a huge offender with added sugars sometimes tipping the scales at 65 grams or more!

Many food manufacturers use creative writing skills when naming and describing their products.  For example, the term “All Natural” is not subject to much regulation so you can pretty much throw that on a candy bar full of sugar. But some food companies are upfront about the sugar content in their various products placing the grams of total sugar on the front of the packaging.

So how much is too much and how can we avoid added sugar in foods?  If you have health concerns, certainly check with your healthcare provider, qualified nutritionist or dietitian before making changes.

When looking at the amount of carbohydrates on a nutrition label, the total number of grams contains the sugar.  Sugar is listed under the Carbohydrate heading just under Fiber. Here’s what the American Heart Association recommends: No more than 25 grams for women and 37.5 for men of added sugar.  That amount might vary slightly for size and activity, but it is not worth the mention.  The number of grams is far less for children.

Sugar and related forms: Sugar, honey, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFC -kind of horrible most say), brown sugar, fruit juice, agave, maple syrup, molasses, malt syrup/solids, rice syrup, raw sugar, maltodextrin, fructose, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, glucose, galactose – there are more believe it or not.

Many individuals have chosen to reduce sugar to prevent illnesses, diseases and conditions.  There are naturally occurring sugars in fruit (notably regarding fruit: eating the whole fruit gives you fiber, enzymes and phytonutrients you just won’t get from fruit juices). Sugar also occurs naturally in dairy, grains, and vegetables (yep veggies, but not much)… so why add more sugar?  Examples of added sugar: many dried fruits, chocolate milk, and frosted cereal.

Perhaps it is a combination of taste and convenience.  You probably won’t see a busy person chewing on a bunch of asparagus or broccoli… Just use your head, not your taste buds and READ THE LABEL!

This article is intended to be provide knowledge of general health and fitness principles and is not medical advice.  Please consult with a physician if you have questions.