Submitted Date 02/07/2019

Sugar is getting a lot of press lately. But everybody already knows the story, right? Sugar is fine in moderation, just like everything else. We all know to avoid eating too many cookies or drinking too much soda. What you may not realize is that sugar is ubiquitous in common foods—a decades-long trend in the nutrition industry known now as “added sugars.”


The trick is, things with sugar sell better than those without it. So for years food manufacturers have been slowly adding more and more sugar to their products. Even things you wouldn’t think of pairing with sugar can be totally filled with it. Next time you make a sandwich consider this: the bread, packaged meats and condiments all most likely have a small amount of sugar added. Between the various ingredients you may end up eating an entire candy bar’s worth. Not to mention any drink you might accompany it with; everything from fruit juice to milk brings along another few spoonfuls (yes, spoonfuls).


It’s sad to say, but in today’s market an ill-informed customer could be at danger. That’s why it’s critical to keep track of how much (and the quality of) food you’re eating. Luckily the government has recently been taking steps to address this very issue. In early 2018 the FDA issued a new requirement for nutritional content labels. All current American food labels are now required to disclose so-called “added sugars,” which is essentially a measure of how much sugar is added to that already present in your food. Any added sugar was put in exclusively with the intent of making the product more palatable (it has no real nutritional value).


Having this metric on the label makes it pretty easy to tell which foods are more healthy, at least in relation to sugar content. So start checking out your labels—you might be surprised what you find. Even products claiming to be “natural” may have quite a bit of added sugar. Details of the health risks associated with excessive sugar intake aren’t fully agreed upon, but most experts do agree less is generally better. And while regulatory institutions will eventually adapt to any existing health hazards, for the moment it might be a good idea to start looking out for yourself. Don’t let the hidden sugars in your diet add up to something negative!

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