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By: Cecilia V Sanchez MS RDN LD

A popular topic has become sugar in foods and beverages, but the way in which this topic is discussed in the media is not always accurate. Many times the definition of sugar is not explained nor the different types that exist. Sugar occurs naturally in many products, such as dairy, vegetables, and fruits. Added sugars are what need to be limited in the American diet not foods with natural sugars. These are sugars that are added during the preparation and processing of a good, meaning they are not naturally found in that product. Examples of foods and beverages that are commonly filled with added sugars are:

  • Regular soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks
  • Cakes, cookies, pies, pastries
  • Ice cream
  • Fruit punch

Luckily, it will soon get easier to locate how much added sugar is in your beverage or food product. Food manufacturers are required by law to abide by the new nutrition facts guidelines which will list total grams of added sugar below the carbohydrate listing instead of just searching through the ingredient lists. Names for added sugars on food ingredient labels do not say ‘sugar’ they go by many technical names and therefore makes it difficult to determine if your food/beverage choice has added sugars. Examples of other names added sugars go by are:

  • Anhydrous dextrose
  • Brown sugar
  • Confectioner’s powdered sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Nectars
  • Pancake syrup
  • Raw sugar
  • Sucrose
  • White granulated sugar

Lastly, how can you cut back on your added sugar intake? Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Drink calorie-free beverages in place of sodas and other sweetened drinks
  • Choose products that list on the front of the package ‘ no added sugars’
  • Replace pastries with fresh fruit
  • Don’t forget to read the label!
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