We all know better than to feed our families a diet based on candy, cookies, and cake. While they are nice treats to have every now and then, they’re also full of sugar. Reading nutrition labels on the food we buy is a smart move to see how much sugar is added to our food products; unfortunately, the food industry has been on to us for years.
Next time you choose ingredients for a week’s worth of dinners, give the ingredients list in the nutrition label an extra looksie. Besides “sugar” and the other assumed alias’ like glucose, corn syrup, and raw cane sugar (oh, that sounds natural and healthy!), there are at least 50 other commonly used synonyms to watch out for.
These ingredients can be found in items you wouldn’t believe could possibly contain sugar. They range from pasta sauce to lunch meat. Just because something is savory doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about sugar content. So be particularly wary of foods that boasts the words “fat free” or “lite.” You can almost bet there’s added sugar in them somewhere to give them the flavors they need.
Rules of Thumb for Sugar Spotting
Here are some rules of thumb to follow, even if the label you’re reading does not list one of the 56 words for sugar:
- Foods that have a shelf life of more than a week are more likely to have additional salt and sugar to preserve them.
- Packaged food of any kind is likely to have some form of added sugar in it, and lots of it, especially if it’s listed in the first three ingredients.
- If there are words on the label that end with ose, ase, ate, or ol, put it back!
- If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it’s a red flag.
Sugar is not bad for you, but consuming too much of it is. It can our kids to get a little crazy, destroy bedtime routines, and have a major effect on our moods.
Awareness of Prepackaged and Processed Foods
It’s important to understand that prepackaged and processed food can have a significant amount of sugar. Although you try your best to lean towards organic and natural food, you’re most likely consuming more than the daily recommendation (which you’ll never find the percentage on a nutrition label).
Consuming less sugar can make you feel healthier and usually better than if you consumed more than the daily limit. In addition, it could also help you lose any unwanted pounds you might not care too much for.
Losing the excess sugar can improve overall energy and mood, making you more capable of handling all your normal parenting tasks and even have time to volunteer for others, if your time permits you to do so.
One of the best ways to avoid unnecessary and hidden sugar is to consume less prepackaged food. If do your best to prepare your own meals, then you would most likely know exactly what’s in it, avoiding mishaps. If you do opt for a few packaged foods, make sure to always read the label for secret sugars.