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August 18, 2017
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Decoding the sugar content in the new nutritional labels

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the nutritional label for packaged foods and introduced a new section on the label for added sugars. Many foods contain naturally-occurring sugars but this label addition breaks down the amount and type of extra sugars that are included in processed foods.

Added sugars can appear in various forms including:

  • Single sugars or monosaccharides such as fructose, galactose, or glucose (also called dextrose)
  • Double sugars or disaccharides that contain two molecules of sugars such as lactose, maltose, or sucrose
  • Sugars from syrups and honey such as cane invert syrup, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup
  • Sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are “in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type”

Sugar in disguise

Sugar could be hiding in your food, disguised under a different name, and you might not even know it. A good rule of thumb is to keep an eye out for any kind of “syrup” or anything that ends in “-ose.” When in doubt, say “No” to the “-ose.” Take a look at this list for other sneaky sugar names.

  • Dextran
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic malt
  • Diatase
  • D-Mannose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Maltose
  • Treacle
  • Barley malt

Sugars are often added to foods for flavor, to enhance texture, and preserve foods. You can find added sugars in an assortment of foods from frozen desserts to sweetened beverages. Although sugar can be broken down in the body into energy, a majority of Americans tend to consume sugar in excess.

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