Sweet! Three Tips to Watch for Added Sugar

March is National Nutrition Month®, an annual information and education campaign from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Academy is one of the world’s largest organizations of health professionals, with over 100,000 credentialed practitioners. One of the tips from this year’s campaign is: “Reduce added sugar.” The American diet tends to be high in added sugar, and sometimes it can take a little detective work to track them down.

Sweeteners like sugar add calories but offer little or no nutrition, which is why sweet treats are sometimes referred to as “empty calories.” One 12-ounce can of soda contains between 38-40 grams of sugar, which amounts to nearly 10 teaspoons! This amount of added sugar is over the limit recommended by the American Heart Association, which is 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

Three Tips to Watch for Added Sugar

1. Read the nutrition facts label to see the total sugar per serving. Some food such as fruits, vegetables and milk have some naturally occurring sugar. These foods also offer some important nutrients, so these sugars are not as much of concern as added sugar.

2. Read the list of ingredients. Anything that ends in “ose” will be a sweetener, such as dextrose, fructose, sucrose and glucose. Any kind of syrup or honey is also considered an added sugar.

3. Compare labels of products to choose one with less sugar. The new nutrition facts label will separate out “total sugar” from “added sugar.” If you are looking at an older label, just compare the “total sugars” between products to make healthier choices.

See the graphic below for how sugar will be displayed on the newer nutrition facts label. Join us for a Cooking Matters course to learn more about reading nutrition labels. You’ll walk away with some great tips to help you shop smarter and eat healthier. Visit our Cooking Matters page to check out the latest course schedule.

New nutrition label

By Cheryl DeVine
Cooking Matters Program Assistant, Tarrant Area Food Bank

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