If you eat anything processed, you'll have some kind of sweetener. You might even throw a spoonful of the sweet stuff in your tea or coffee. By the time lunch comes around, you've probably exceeded your daily limit.
It's hard to know how much sweet stuff you're eating when it's listed as more than just "sugar". Just natural sugars can be listed under many names.
Here are 51 of them:
Cane Juice Crystals
Corn Syrup Solids
Fruit Juice Concentrate
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Invert Sugar (I've also seen it as Invert Cane Sugar)
Overwhelmed yet? Those are just the natural sweeteners, and although I believe natural is best, limiting that to sugar and honey (and probably pure maple syrup), then there is a whole list of artificial sweeteners that find their way into our lives without us knowing because we don't understand all the fancy names.
These are labeled artificial sweeteners:
Acesulfame Potassium (Sunett, Sweet One)
Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)
Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet'N Low)
These are placed in a list called "Novel Sweeteners"
Stevia Extracts (Pure Via, Truvia)
Don't forget the Sugar Alcohols:
Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate
When you look at a product, you probably see a minimum of three sweeteners on the label (you're lucky to only find one!). I've seen several on some labels, ending up being half the ingredients on the list! I'm not sure, but I think the "food chemists" know we crave sweet naturally so they're always trying to find ways to make our food sweeter without more calories.
The problem with many artificial sweeteners is that they come with side effects for many people including headaches in some, nausea, diarrhea, flatulence and bloating. Saccharin had been proven to cause cancer in rats, it's been banned in Canada for years.
Some of these sweeteners that tote "natural" like Stevia are new on the market and we're the guinea pigs to it as we can't know what will happen to us until decades of use. The CSPI cited some studies reporting potential DNA damage, it is not approved in Canada. I guess we'll find out when this generation of people using it have children with the genetic mutations.
Any food that says "light" or "diet" or "lower sugar" probably has an artificial sweetener in them. You're only saving 10-40 calories per serving and sometimes none at all when you see those claim on the front of the package.
The milk companies were trying to stop legislation recently on having to place an obvious wording on the front of flavored milk for the artificially sweetened milks because "children wont drink it". I personally would like more transparency in labeling, but I always turn the box around when I'm looking at my products and even do it to products I'm use dot in case they've changed it recently without my knowledge. They will still have to put the actual ingredients on the back but they didn't want to have to place on the front "reduced calorie" on the front. Sneaky, huh?
Then don't forget your actual sugar. Just the natural sugars cause your list of sugar to go up for the day. I do think actual sugar is fine in moderation (and the FDA claims the artificial stuff is too, in moderation), but have you ever actually added up how much sugar you have in a day? I know I had 20 grams just for breakfast and I'll have a granola bar and whatever I have for lunch and dinner will have some too. I don't drink pop too often, but if you do, that adds up really quick! You should be limiting your added sugar intake to only 10% of your day!
It's obvious that some form of sweetener will be in your cereal, ice cream, sodas, and candies, but where else does it hide? Obviously anything processed. If it comes in a box or a bag, it's likely hiding there.
But what else?
Condiments. You'd be surprised how much sugar is hiding in your ketchup, bbq sauce, dressings and dips.
Breakfast. Sure waffles will have them, but so does flavored milk, juice, your muffin sandwich, yogurt, and breads. It's generally the sweetest meal of the day.
Drinks. If you're not drinking water, you're having something sweet. Go with unsweetened drinks when possible, your tea and coffee some naturally unsweetened, but most other drinks have some form of sugar.
Medicine. There's a reason it goes down so well, with that "spoonful of sugar", it helps the medicine go down as Mary Poppins said once. It might not always be sugar though, it might be an artificial sweetener.
Gum. All gum is sweetened in one form or another.
Breath Mints. They are on the candy list, but if you use them frequently, they add up.
Toothpaste. Usually artificial sweeteners because real sugar promotes tooth decay, but it's still sweetened.
Mouthwash. Goes with the toothpaste, artificial sweeteners. You may spit it out, but it still hangs around in your mouth.
As humans, we've been using sugar for centuries, but the last several decades have pushed up our use for the stuff and some of us may be addicted to it. Corn syrup has become the most prominent sugar in our food system, but there are so many other things that sweeten our lives.
I recommend that everyone watch the documentary "King Corn", it really shows how for sugar, especially corn syrup, is brought into our lives. www.kingcorn.net/
Other links for the morning all about sugar:
Artificial Sweetener Links:
Where Sugar is hiding:
Today's Holidays: Love a Tree Day, Wear Purple for Peace Day, National Sea Monkey Day and National Coquilles St. Jacques Day (have some shellfish in honor). www.cdkitchen.com/recipe