Learn How to Read Labels to Find Hidden Sugar

December 30, 2011

Label Reading

Sugar is in the air, because sugar is everywhere.

A lot of people (including my husband) think that they eat healthy, because they don’t eat sugar. But don’t they? When I asked them about labels they seem confused.

We (in the U.S.) have sugar consumption more than 170 pounds per person per year! Did you know that average American gets more than 400 calories a day only from sugar?!

What about you? Do you know how to read labels and find hidden sugar; how much sugar you consume every day without even knowing it?

Here are some tips for you to leanr how to read labels to find hidden sugar andto reduce the amount of sugar you consume.

Tip # 1. Read how many grams of sugars per serving the product contains. To help you understand how much is too much, realize that 1 teaspoon has 4 grams (a small container of blueberry yogurt contains 34-40 grams of sugar and it means about 10 teaspoons!!??)

Tip # 2. Always check on how many servings per container there are. People don’t realize that a big container has more than 2-3 servings, but the number of sugar listed in only per serving.

Tip # 3. Compare the number of sugar grams to the number of total carbohydrate grams. Try to buy foods that have at least one-third and less of their total carbohydrates coming from sugars. We need to eat complex carbohydrates from unprocessed foods not simple carbohydrates that come from refined unhealthy foods. Why do you think you have all your cravings, suffer from candida, gain weight, develop diabetes and heart attack?

Tip # 4. Look for hidden sugars in the ingredients list: barley malt, beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered syrup, cane-juice crystals, cane sugar, caramel, carob, syrup, corn syrup, date sugar, dextran, dextrose, diastase, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, ffructose, fruit juice or fruit juice concentrate, glucose, glucose solid, golden sugar, golden syrup, grape sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, molasses, raw sugar, refiner’s syrup, sorbitol, sorghum syrup, sucrose, sugar, turbinado sugar, xylitol, yellow sugar.

Tip # 5. Don’t get confused or even fooled with “sugar-free” term. Under the FDA’s new food labeling rules the food contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving (the same with fat – food contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. If the container has more than one serving – do the math.)

Tip # 6. Don’t get confused with “Reduced Sugar” or “No Added Sugar” on the labels. “Reduced sugar” means that the product can contain 25% less sugar (according to the U.S. Food and Drug  Administration); as for “no added sugar” term, it means that sugar wasn’t added to the foods that naturally contain some sugar, like jams, jellies, other preservatives, milk, tomato sauce.

Let us be sugar smart, shall we?

P.S. Bottom Line: if you cannot pronounce the word and don’t know the meaning of the ingredient-don’t buy the product.


Breathe, smile and be happy.

©Irina Wardas, HHC

Women’s Holistic Health, Nutrition Coach and Counselor


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