Tips to avoid hidden sugars!
General Nutrition • • 1 minute to read • By Dr Shunmukha Priya, INFS Faculty
Author: Dr. Shunmukha Priya. S
A lot of the so-called healthy products have added/ hidden sugar that may hamper one's health. Sugar is present naturally in many foods, such as fruits and vegetables and is added to many processed foods. More than 60 names are available for added sugar in processed foods. For knowing about the sugar content, one must check the nutrition facts label.
Commonly seen products containing hidden sugars
- Breakfast cereals
During busy schedules, breakfast cereals offer great support. Many of such "whole grain” or “fortified with vitamins and minerals” also contain hidden sugars
Ketchup, barbecue sauce, hoisin sauce, teriyaki sauce, and salad dressings have added or hidden sugars.
- Canned fruits and juices
Canned fruits and juices help prevent spoilage and improve the shelf life by the addition of sugar
- Ready to eat foods
Such as health bars, soups etc have hidden sugars to enhance taste quality. Also, instant products like vegetable curries, upma, and poha contain hidden sugars
- Dry fruits
Dried fruits such as apricots, raisins and dates contain added sugar to preserve
Flavoured yoghurt has a lot of added sugars.
- Bread, bun biscuit
These baked products have sugars in the form of high fructose corn syrup
The flavoured popcorn such as caramel, cheese and chocolate have high amounts of sugar
Major clues for identifying hidden sugar in a product
Different types of sugars added
The common sugar is also known as “table sugar”, consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
This is derived from corn starch and is found in bread, cookies, soda, ice creams, nutrition bars and so many other foods.
This is commonly added to soups as a thickener. It is an extremely processed white powder that serves as a preservative also.
- Artificial sweeteners
Though artificial sweeteners have zero calories, it doesn’t make it healthier than sugar. Aspartame is one of the artificial sweeteners which is linked to serious health problems such as various types of cancer, headaches, seizures and epilepsy.
Effect of hidden sugar in the body
- Dental Caries
- Visceral fat
- Hyper cholesterol
- Insulin resistance
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases
- Gall stones
- Heart diseases
Tips to consume/limit hidden sugar intake
- Read the nutrition facts label when selecting packaged products
- Always use plain yoghurt and add fruits to enhance flavour
- Add vegetables to instant soup mixes, upma, poha and curries
- When consuming dry fruits like dates apricots, and raisins, limit the quantity and take nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Limit consuming canned fruits and juices
Haque M, McKimm J, Sartelli M, Samad N, Haque SZ, Bakar MA. A narrative review of the effects of sugar-sweetened beverages on human health: A key global health issue. J Popul Ther Clin Pharmacol. 2020 Mar 3;27(1):e76-e103. doi: 10.15586/jptcp.v27i1.666. PMID: 32170920.
White J. R., Jr (2018). Sugar. Clinical diabetes: a publication of the American Diabetes Association, 36 (1), 74–76. https://doi.org/10.2337/cd17-0084
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