Did you know that 74% of packaged foods, both sweet and savoury, have added sugar?
Even if you are not a sweet tooth you may be consuming more sugar than you realise. Some foods promoted as "natural" or "healthy" are laden with added sugars, compounding the confusion for consumers.
Eating too much sugar is really bad for your health. A high sugar intake has been linked to an increased risk of many diseases, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Pre-packaged foods and drinks that are higher in sugar than you might realise include:
- Low-fat yoghurt
- Breakfast cereals
- Flavoured milk drinks
- Iced coffee and tea
- Pasta sauce
- Pre-made sauces that are added to make meals – curry, Thai, stir-fry sauces etc.
- Baked beans and spaghetti
- Tomato and BBQ sauce
- Salad dressings and mayonnaise
- Pre-made soups
- Canned fruits and some canned vegetables
- Seasoning powders
- Muesli bars or other cereal bars
- Bread varieties
- Cakes, biscuits, slices, doughnuts and sweet buns (like finger buns, chocolate buns, fruit buns, hot-cross buns)
- Chocolates and lollies
- Protein bars
- Sports drinks
- Soft drinks
- Vitamin waters
- Bottled smoothies
If we reflect for a moment on a typical day for many of us we can see how sugar levels creep up. The following daily eating plan has no obvious added sugar but plenty of hidden sugars. For example: Cereal for breakfast with a glass of juice, fruit yoghurt and muesli bar for snacks, Nutella sandwich for lunch and spaghetti bolognaise for dinner.
In our very busy and complex lifestyles it can be difficult to find the time to dedicate to healthy eating. It can be easy to choose convenience foods, pre-packaged meals and sauces especially when we are on the run or have fussy eaters.
CHALLENGE! Why not try switching out just one meal a day to a less processed version. For example instead of a pre-packaged cereal try an omelette with added vegetables or natural unsweetened yoghurt with berries, nuts and seeds. Drink water and eat a piece of whole fruit rather than drinking fruit juice.
There are 61 names for added sugar in food, see the table below. If you find this all a bit too overwhelming print the table and take it with you the next time you go shopping.
Names for Sugar
Barley malt syrup
|Evaporated cane juice||Muscovado|
|Free-flowing brown sugars||Palm sugar|
|Fruit juice||Powdered sugar|
|Fruit juice concentrate||Raw sugar|
Cane juice crystals
|Glucose solids||Rice syrup|
|Golden syrup||Sorghum Syrup|
Coconut palm sugar
|HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)||Sugar (granulated)|
|Confectioner's sugar||Icing sugar||Syrup|
|Corn sweetener||Invert sugar||Treacle|
|Corn syrup||Malt syrup||Turbinado sugar|
|Corn syrup solids||Maltodextrin||Yellow sugar|
|Dehydrated cane juice||Maltose|