Beware of Hidden Sugar

Sugar is in everything. Learn to spot it so you can avoid it.

Beware of Hidden Sugar
Beware of Hidden Sugar

Beware of Hidden Sugar

Sugar is Everywhere

It is no wonder that we are addicted to sugar because there is hidden sugar in nearly every food that we eat.  Unless your diet consists of eating everything you make yourself from scratch, it is almost a certainty there is hidden sugar in the food you consume.

One study showed that 74% of packaged food contains sugar and the average American consumes 32 teaspoons of sugar per day.   That is 512 calories from sugar alone.

Processed food manufacturers go out of their way to slip hidden sugar into the food that we buy.  Why?  Because it is addictive and it means not only will we be more likely to enjoy their product, but we will probably buy it again.  You may be surprised to learn that there is hidden sugar in most pasta sauces, salad dressings, yogurt, and soups – just to name a few.

Sugar addiction is a real thing (read more about sugar addiction here), and food manufacturers count on our inability to say no to sugar to keep their sales high.  The shady part about it is that unless you have learned to read labels and then actually read the label of every single thing you put into your mouth, you will probably miss the fact that you are eating a great deal of hidden sugar.

Don’t Trust the Front of Packaging

Not only should you not trust what it says on the front of a package, you should be outright suspicious about what it says.  Not only will a company not talk about hidden sugar in its products on the front of the box, there’s a lot of other stuff they neglect to mention.

Think of the front of packaging as a billboard.  It is an advertisement, plain and simple.  Its job is to make you pick up an item and buy it.  Companies pay big money to make sure those little billboards sell.

Not only are particular colors chosen to influence your buying behavior, but the names and slogans have also been very carefully coined.  Make no mistake, there is a science behind it.  Marketing folks know what makes people tick and they use every trick in the book to make you purchase whatever product they are trying to sell.

If marketers were forced to tell the truth about the products they were selling, they would be out of a job and the companies selling those products would be bankrupt in no time flat.  At least, we should hope they would be.

What Is It They Aren’t Telling Us?

If marketers don’t have to tell the truth on the front of the package, just what is it that they aren’t telling us?  A lot, quite frankly.

We aren’t being told that what is in the product was sprayed with harmful pesticides and herbicides.  We aren’t being told that the food coloring that makes the product such a pretty red is derived from coal tar.

The art of marketing could also be called “The Art of Misdirection.”  Basically, marketers get you to focus on something about their product and ignore the things they want you to overlook.

Distracting Advertising

“No sugar added” – This does not equal “contains no sugar.”  This is a common trick to get people to think that they are buying healthy food, when it may actually contain tons of natural sugars.

“No artificial ingredients”  – Sugar is natural, so this doesn’t mean no sugar.

Products that have “low fat” or “diet” on the label are almost certain to have hidden sugars.  Manufacturers use sugar to compensate for the fat they remove from their products, which causes them to taste bland.

Locating Hidden Sugar

Watch out for tricks to hide sugar in processed food.  Turn the package over and look at the section that lists its ingredients.  Sometimes companies use plain old sugar and it will be listed that way.  Most of the time, though, companies use hidden sugar, so you have to read more carefully to find them.

Products that are advertised as “natural” frequently have hidden sugar in the form of molasses, honey, rice syrup, cane juice, fruit juice, and agave.  These names all sound healthy, but they are no different than table sugar when they enter your body.  They all cause your blood sugar to spike.

For most other products you will find corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fructose, glucose, maltose, and lactose.  Pretty much anything ending in “-ose” is guaranteed to be hidden sugar.

Benefits of Avoiding Hidden Sugar

Avoiding hidden sugar can do more for you than just losing weight and avoiding the ups and downs of blood sugar spikes and hypoglycemia.  By cutting hidden sugar from your diet, you can reduce your risk of insulin resistance that often leads to diabetes.  You can also reduce inflammation linked to aging, heart disease, and cancer.

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