Added Sugars What Foods

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Do you eat a lot of these foods? If so, you may need to cut back. They contribute more than 5 percent of the added sugars in the typical American diet, in descending order:

Percent* of Added Sugars Intake

  • Soft drinks (not diet or sugar free) 33
  • Sugars and candy 16
  • Cakes, cookies, pies 13
  • Fruit drinks (fruitades and fruit punch) 10

bohydrates. As fruit matures, its carbohydrate shifts from starch to sugars, making fruit much sweeter and more appealing. By contrast, many vegetables— among them peas, carrots, and corn—are sweetest when they're young. As they mature, their sugars change to starches. What's the "chef's" lesson? If you're buying "fresh," look for young vegetables—and serve them at their peak. In other words, don't store them too long. Serve fruits when they're ripe; you may need to allow ripening time after you buy them.

Milk, too, derives some of its pleasing flavor from lactose, its own naturally occurring sugar. Milk isn't perceived as a sweet beverage, however. Lactose is only one-sixth as sweet as sucrose.

In one form or another sugars are added to many prepared foods for function, flavor, or both. See "Added Sugars: What Foods?" on this page. Soft drinks, candy, other sweet snacks, desserts, and sweet baked goods are obvious sources; added sugars end up in many other processed and prepared foods. Check the ingredient lists on their labels to identify them. Naturally occurring sugars are not included in the ingredient list.

One more source of added sugars: potentially your own kitchen. In one form or another, you're likely adding sugar to food, too, with your food prep: white and brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, and honey, as well as jam, jelly, and syrup - and the ingredients you may use, processed with added sugars.

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