Hidden Sugars: Confusing Food Labels Disguise a Multitude of Sweet Sins

Today’s grandparents are health conscious both for themselves and their families. A big problem with many foods is hidden sugar and artificial sweeteners. Linda Martyak of Honolulu, Hawaii, states, “Cooking for my grandsons is a precious honor. Since I want them to love Mima’s cooking, I plan dishes that are kid friendly, taste great and are healthy. I already keep minimal snack foods and avoid sugary cereals.”

While some sugar in one’s diet is fine, too much can cause health issues such as obesity, energy highs and lows, diabetes and dental problems. Dietitian Sharon Baker, R.D., L.D., suggests, “Simple sugars found in soft drinks are empty calories, and I would recommend trying to have children and adults stick to water, milk or low-sugar beverages (look for less than 15 grams per serving).”

Some of the worst culprits of high-sugar foods or artificial sweeteners are children’s yogurt or yogurt with fruit, energy bars, cereal bars, cereal and soda. Also be careful about low-fat yogurt; it usually contains aspartame. Some healthy snack suggestions are hummus with vegetables, peanut butter on an apple, plain yogurt with fresh fruit, cheese, nuts, whole-grain cereal. Great sweetening alternatives are cinnamon and fresh or frozen fruit.

Sticking to an all-natural diet and keeping sugars in check will contribute to a healthy lifestyle for you and the grandkids. Moderation is the key, and nothing is more fun or tastes as good as cooking with Gran and Granddad!

A sugar by any other name…is still sugar!

Don’t be fooled when you see these ingredients on food labels-they are sugar.

barley malt

buttered syrup

cane-juice crystals

cane sugar

caramel

carob syrup

corn syrup

dextrose

dextran

diatase

diastatic malt

ethyl maltol

fructose

fruit juice

fruit juice concentrate

glucose

glucose solids

golden syrup

malt syrup

maltodextrin

maltose

mannitol

molasses

refiner’s syrup

sorbitol

sorghum syrup

sucrose

• American Heart Association guidelines: for women, consume no more than 100 calories (6 tsp.) of added sugar daily; for men, 150 calories (9 tsp.) [http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4471].

• Nutrition and sugar intake calculator for children: [http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramid/index.aspx].

• Healthy recipes for families:

[http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/RecipeIndex].

• Ideas and recipes especially for kids: [http://www.annabelkarmel.com/].

Pam Stoesz

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