Americans are each guilty of consuming approximately 150 pounds of sugar per year, and most do not notice that they are doing so. The main reason is that there is a wide range of everyday sugar varieties. There are over 200 official kinds of sugars, all appearing under different names and usually only found in the fine print of your ingredient label. Even when you are eating healthy, it is easy for these sugars to sneak their way into your meals. Companies want you to buy their product, but we want you to succeed with your healthy weight-loss goals.
Product marketing does a good job of allowing sugar to creep in by making it appear that certain foods contain less sugar then they actually do. If you are not looking for it, then you are less likely to notice it. One method of disguise is adjusting the serving size, and thereby the sugar content, on nutrition labels. Labels do not follow realistic serving sizes, especially in snacks and processed foods. For example, does anyone really eat 3 M&M’s or 2 potato chips? Companies tend to make the serving size incredibly small to make the sugar content seem “manageable” but is it really more manageable when it comes to your healthy weight-loss goals?
To make matters worse, in the past 50 years, the size of the average processed food containers have more than tripled! This allows the actual amount of sugar to be hidden behind a much more forgiving per serving amount on the nutrition label, while larger containers assist in the disguise by adding to the gap between the two amounts. Product marketing is huge on trends, and with healthy eating becoming more popular, tricks like this allow them to get their products sold without actually having to reduce the amount of sugar they are adding to their foods.
Labels, Labels, Labels
We cannot stress the importance of reading labels enough. Misleading labeling makes it hard to keep an eye on sugar intake, so you need to know what to look for. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) definition of sugar is limited to only sucrose. Since the FDA puts sugar into such a specific category, certain types of sugar do not make the cut. So, unless you are diligent about reading the ingredient list, you will not be aware of it. Diastase, agave, maltodextrin, and treacle are all just some examples of added sugars that can be found in the ingredient list that most people would not even recognize as a sugar.
On average, less than half of Americans read the nutrition labels at all. For those who do, are they even clear what the contents mean? In order to stay on top of your sugar intake and maintain healthy weight-loss, it is crucial to know what to look for. This is just another reason to eat as much whole, real food as possible and ditch the packaged, processed stuff.