Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sugar: More on Labels

Whenever I do a series I have every post already wrote and ready to go before I start posting. It just works well for me to get everything together and in order and then just post a part each day. But I’m going to go off the old routine today and add a post that I hadn’t originally had ready to go.

I figure since we are talking about reading labels that I would explain a little more about that and what I’ve learned.

Your nutrition label is going to tell you how many grams of sugar are in a serving. We now know that you can divide that number by four to get teaspoons of sugar which is for me, much easier to picture and understand.

We also now have a list of all the names of sugar that we will find on our food labels. Some of those sugars are naturally occurring sugars… like fructose and lactose. Many of them are man-made sugars. The problem with nutrition labels though is that the grams of sugar listed include all sugars. It does not differentiate between natural or man-made.

So we must read our ingredients list to see if we are getting ADDED MAN-MADE SUGAR in our food.

Let’s look at the yogurt currently in my fridge to further understand all of this and how to get down to the BEST option.

Great Value Strawberry Yogurt
Serving size = 1 cup
Sugars = 33g
That’s about 8 teaspoons of sugar in a one cup serving of this yogurt. Now, some of it is naturally occurring sugars from the milk and fruit so let’s check the ingredient list to see if there is any added sugar.

Cultured Grade A Low Fat Milk, SUGAR, strawberries, fructose, water, modified food starch,…

Yep. Added sugar in this yogurt. And since it’s second on the ingredient list you can bet that there is a lot of it. Not your best option. (And I should probably find a better option to be feeding my kids!)

Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt
Serving size = 1 cup
Sugars = 17g
That’s about 4 teaspoons of sugar in a one cup serving. Half of what was in the Great Value yogurt but still a lot of sugar.
Ingredients: Cultured pasteurized nonfat milk, EVAPORATED CANE JUICE,…

Can they make food without sugar!?!?! So we have added sugar once again. Not as much but it’s still there. It’s a better option but we haven’t found the best option.

Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt
Serving size = 1 cup
Sugars 9g

We are now down to only two teaspoons of sugar per serving. Let’s check the ingredients…

Cultured pasteurized nonfat milk, live and active cultures.

Woo hoo! No added sugar!! Of course plain yogurt isn’t as tasty so something needs to happen to it. I use it in my smoothies. You can also mash up bananas and mix it in or chop up some strawberries. Adding your own fruit to the plain yogurt will get you a good-for-you fruit yogurt instead of a sugary not-so-good-for-you serving.

Go for the naturally occurring sugars over the man-made ones every time! Learn the names for sugar and read your ingredients list.

There are other foods that I've made the switch with. And still more I hope to find better options for. How about you? Maybe for the next week we can all do a few food exchanges in our own homes. Keep track of what you were using and the amount of sugar per serving and then find the better option. In a week or so I will put up a post where we can all share what we found. Might make the hunting for best options a little easier for everyone because just maybe we will all be looking at different food items.

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