Do not be fooled by the Nutrition Facts section of food labels. According to Mayo Clinic, the calculated amount of sugar in grams only includes natural sugars found in certain ingredients, such as grain, fruit and milk. The sugars you really need to worry about are added sugars, which are found in the list of ingredients.
If sugar is one of the few ingredients listed at the beginning, the product is likely to have a high amount of added sugar, according to Mayo Clinic. To identify these sugars, look for chemical names ending is “ose”: fructose, glucose, maltose and dextrose. Some common types of sugar also include cane syrups, corn sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, honey, malt syrup and molasses.
You should be cautious of these added sugars because of the myriad health issues with which they are associated. Excessive sugar can rot teeth, make skin age faster, increase joint pain, increase the risk of heart disease and much more. It can also negatively affect mood and the functioning of vital organs, such as the liver, pancreas and kidneys.
Added sugars can increase the calorie-count of your diet and displace other nutritious foods. According to The American Heart Association, Americans consume an average of 22 teaspoons of added sugars each day, compared to the daily recommended 6 teaspoons (or 100 calories) for women and 9 teaspoons (or 150 calories) for men.
For some perspective, a 12-ounce soda contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar, so one of these will put anyone over the recommended daily limit. Instead, try 100 percent fruit juice in seltzer water to decrease sugar intake. Or just drink water, which contains no added sugar and provides essential hydration. Be mindful of eating fresh, natural foods and decrease the amount of processed foods in your pantry.