Sugar has many names and many faces. We know it occurs naturally in fruits and certain vegetables. We expect it in candies, desserts and sweet treats, but where else is sugar lurking? It’s pretty sneaky that sugar, and hides in so many common, yet unassuming products. Start reading those ingredient labels and you might be surprised just how much sugar you actually consume. Even if you’re pretty diligent about reading labels, you may not have realized that a particular ingredient is just code for “sugar” – sugar literally has hundreds of aliases. Some are quite obvious because they contain the word “sugar”:
Then there are all those –ose sugars:
There are also sugar alcohols (not the alcohol you might be thinking). These are the sugars that end in –itol. They are often found in low carb/low fat foods. The carbs and fat are taken out, and extra sugar is put in to cover up the now cardboard taste.
You also need to be on the prowl for the sugars masquerading as syrups:
Let’s not forget these sugars:
You may be surprised where you will find that sweet and sneaky sugar that we hate to love. Be cautious of foods that are fat free, carb free, or sugar free. They may be “free” of one thing, but usually something else is added in its place. More often than not, that something is a form of sugar, especially those sugar alcohols. Here are some other culprits of hidden sugar:
The convenience of prepackaged “foods” like these is sometimes hard to resist, but just by eliminating (or at least minimizing) them, you can significantly cut your sugar intake. Even the ones that aren’t laden with sugar generally have other additives, preservatives, or ingredients we can’t even pronounce! It’s time to get back to eating real food! As often as possible, choose to cook at home. It doesn’t have to be a big production, or even the day of. Prepare salad mixes, wash and chop veggies, and cook meats in advance, maybe on a Sunday afternoon, so you have healthful, nutritious food at the ready for those busy weekday nights – your own “prepackaged” food! Make use of a slow-cooker for soups and stews, roasts, pulled pork, and most anything else. Make extra so you have enough for lunch the next day, or can even repurpose the leftovers into a whole new meal. A few extra minutes now can have tremendous long-term benefits for your overall health and well-being!