This Quarter’s Theme: Well-being
Tooth Talk Reveals Sugar’s Secret Identity On Food Labels
What’s in a word? When it’s sugar, the future of a child’s dental health. The 2014 World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines advise halving the 2002 dietary recommendation for free sugars from less than 10% of daily calories to 5% (about 6 teaspoons of sugar for the average adult). That’s a big change but it’s the result of America’s growing reliance on packaged and processed foods. The further we move from whole foods, the more vital it is to understand exactly what’s on the ingredient list.
The recommendation comes from research exploring the effect of sugar on tooth decay and weight gain. Free sugars are those added by a manufacturer, cook or user as well as those sugars found naturally in fruit concentrates and juices, syrups and honey. In the spotlight are those hidden sugars in processed foods that are making up more and more of the American diet. For example, a canned soft drink has up to 40 grams of sugar (about 10 teaspoons) and a tablespoon of ketchup contains 4 grams (about 1 teaspoon).
Sugar labeling is crafty and comes with many disguises, so, get savvy: Watch out for these other words for “sugar” on food labels. Remember this red flag: if it has the words “sugar,” “sweetener” or the letters “-ose,” you can bet it’s sugar.
Sugar by any other name, according to Choosemyplate.gov and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, confectioner’s powdered sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, dextrose, fructose, lactose, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn sweetener, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar, agave nectar), pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, white granulated sugar, cane juice, evaporated corn sweetener, fruit juice concentrate, crystal dextrose, glucose, liquid fructose, sugar cane juice and sucrose.