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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Horizon Foundation takes on sugar usage in HoCo

   Sugar, sugar everywhere. The Horizon Foundation has spearheaded a program in Howard County called "Howard County Unsweetened."  The amount of sugar in our food is a leading cause of the growing obesity in our population and especially with children.  While at one time we knew how much sugar we consumed because we added the sugar to our food.  Now the sugar is added in the manufacturing process to many foods that we never would assume have sugar. The past 20 years manufacturers have been switching to corn syrup as a sweetener because it is cheaper than sugar.  As the Howard County Unsweetened website describes the forms that sugar takes in our food are many:
     ".... when we say sugar, we mean corn syrup, golden syrup, refiner’s syrup, sorghum syrup, malt syrup, barley malt, maltodextrin, maltose, beet sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, date sugar, golden sugar, grape sugar, invert sugar, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, yellow sugar, buttered syrup, cane-juice crystals, caramel, carob syrup, dextran, dextrose, diatas, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, fructose, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, honey, lactose, mannitol, molasses, sorbitol, sucrose, and – oh yes – sugar."
    While the amount of sugar a person should consume varies it is generally assumed that for most women the limit should be 20 grams a day (5 teaspoons) and 36 grams (9 teaspoons) a day for a man. Children should not consume more than 12 grams ( 3 teaspoons) a day.  The target of the Howard County Unsweetened is children.  When you look at the advertising that is directed at children it is mostly high sugar products.  Manufacturers know that you are most likely to sell a product to children if it is sweet.  Children are also uneducated about the dangers of sugar so it is up to parents to restrict the sugar intake of children.
     I decided to look around at the products that I had purchased to see where the sugar was in our home.  Of course the apple juice (organic), orange juice and grape juice were loaded with sugar.  I cut the sugar in half by mixing the juices with half water.  You can get used to juice this way.  Here are some of the products that you may not have suspected:
1) Chicken broth---cane juice
2) Catsup---sugar
3) Trader Joes Red Pepper Spread---sugar
4) Biscuits- sugar
5) BBQ sauce- corn syrup
6) Bread crumbs- corn syrup
7) Cheerios- sugar
8) Cottage cheese- sugar
9) Multi-grain bread- 5 grams of sugar
10) French fries- 6 grams of sugar
11) Spaghetti- 2 grams sugar

Finally, beware of products that are labeled low in sugar, salt or fat as the manufacturers will increase the use of one of these items when they eliminate another.  Low fat energy bars are a good example of this with their high levels of sugar.  Unfortunately many manufactured products wouldn't taste good if you eliminated the fat, sugar and salt.  All the more reason to eat more fresh, unprocessed foods.

From HoCo Parks and Rec:

1 comment:

Erin said...

One surprising place to find sugar is in deli meats. Some are expected: brown sugar ham, maple-glazed turkey, etc. But I was amazed to find that EVERY deli meat that Wegman's has sliced contains sugar: seasoned roast beef, London broil, etc. To their credit, they list the ingredients on all deli meats; Giant does not. If you want deli meat without sugar, choose the organic meats.