Hi-oh Challengers! Welcome to Week 9. This week, we’re learning all about sugar and where it lurks. Ketchup? Peanut butter? A frozen chicken entree? These are all sources of hidden sugars. On top of hiding, sugars come in many different forms. Some sugars occur au naturale in foods (think fruits=fructose) and some are not so natural (think that orange “drink”=high fructose corn syrup). What to do? One must know thy sweetnesses! How so? Read on…
Sucrose: aka table sugar (aka granulated sugar). Sucrose is usually derived from sugar cane and beets. It’s the most common form of sugar kicking around people’s pantries and companies use it a lot in food stuffs. Random fact you may not already know: the stuff is naturally white meaning there’s no bleaching agent used when the sugar is being refined.
Glucose: Glucose is fuel for the cells in most living organisms. For us peeps, the body breaks down carbohydrates to get glucose for energy.
Fructose: Also known as fruit sugar, fructose is a naturally occurring type of sugar almost twice as sweet as sucrose, which is why manufactures love it for use in processed foods. Honey, fruits and some vegetables are sources of fructose. A diet with too much added fructose, over and above the fructose that we get from fruits and vegetables, is related to obesity.
High Fructose Corn Syrup: A highly refined commercial sweetener derived from corn. Researchers are divided on the role of HFCS in human obesity, but soft drink consumption is strongly associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Brown sugar: Often referred to as soft sugars, brown sugars are produced by crystallizing the golden coloured syrup or by mixing molasses syrups with pure white sugar crystals.
How to Find the Sugar in Your Foods:
1. Scope out the ingredient list. If any of the items listed above are added, you know there’s sugar added. Even syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, invert sugar and cane juice all mean sugar was added.
2. Read the nutrition facts label – check under “Carbohydrates” and look for “Sugar”. Tip: if the sugar is “naturally occurring”, it’s not a huge concern (in most cases). You’ll find them in products made with milk (like, um, milk) and fruit.
Here’s your Do It, Post It task for this week:
Do It: See if you can have ONE day of eating without have foods with added sugars (to be clear, naturally occurring is ok).
Post It: Did you find it hard? Were there any foods that have sugar added to them that surprised you?
– A. & M.