All About Added Sugar

All About Added Sugar

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When I think of sugar, I think of the basic white sugar I put in my coffee each morning. So when thinking of the foods that are out there in the market, when it says “SUGAR” on the ingredients, I just assume it’s exactly the same – white sugar.

When it says “no added sugar”, I again assume it means “no extra white sugar was added to this product”. That might sound ridiculous, but that’s honestly what I thought (until now of course).

All sugar is derived from somewhere; the basic white sugar is from the sugarcane. Also from the sugarcane is icing sugar, castor sugar, granulated sugar – even brown sugar, which is actually really highly processed and refined white sugar.

Because I am a big believer in the mantra “knowledge is power” I decided to do some research on ‘added sugar’, and thought I’d share it with you guys too

Let’s start with the basics…

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SUGAR – WHAT IS IT?
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate which provides calories for your body (to use as energy). Sugar has no other nutritional value.

WHAT IS A NATURALLY OCCURRING SUGAR?
This is the sugar that is found in whole, unprocessed foods. Examples of these are fruit, vegetables and some grains. A common natural sugar is fructose, which is of course found in fruit. Lactose is another natural sugar – found in milk.

WHAT IS ADDED SUGAR?
This is the sugar that is added to food and drink whilst it is being made. It could be a natural sugar (e.g. fructose) or a processed sugar (e.g. high-fructose corn syrup). Even the sugar you add to your home cooking (whatever it is) is “added sugar”.

WHY ADD SUGAR?
The same reason you add it to your baking – to improve the flavour! Adding sugar also helps to keep certain foods from spoiling, can change the texture of food, helps to ferment bread and alcohol, and sometimes even keeps baked goods stay fresher for longer.

IDENTIFYING SUGAR CONTENT ON AN INGREDIENT LABEL
It is important to be aware that products can hide added sugar in ingredients (such as fruit juice concentrates or corn syrups), and sugar is not always stated as an ingredient when there is added sugar present.

A common misconception is that sugars such as honey or coconut sugar are healthier than ‘white sugar’. As a matter of fact, food regulators and nutritionists globally recognise that ingredients such as fruit juice concentrate, agave syrup, coconut sugar and honey are all types of sugar, and all provide the same amount of energy to our diet.

WHAT ARE THE NATURALLY OCCURRING SUGARS CALLED?
To make it easy to understand what some of the naturally occurring sugars are, I’ve put together this infographic:

naturally-occuring-sugars

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Making sure we are all educated when it comes to sugar, is really important. Not just for us, but for our children as well – as we have to be aware what is in the food we give them.

Anchor Uno is one such food that I enjoy giving my children, as it has the lowest sugar content per 100g, of all the kids yoghurt brands on the market*.

I recently did a little research into Anchor Uno, and have some facts below that I think you will find interesting:

  • Anchor Uno yoghurt contains around 6-7g of sugar per 100g (depending on the flavour)
  • Between 25%-30% of the sugar in Uno is naturally occurring from the lactose in milk
  • The remaining sugar in Anchor Uno is added sugar,  which comes from the fruit preparation
  • The sugar added to the fruit preparation is to help slow down the loss in quality of the fruit over time
  • There is no added sugar in the yoghurt base (i.e. the yoghurt without the fruit preparation added); this sugar is made up of lactose which is the naturally occurring sugar in milk

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Thank you so much to Anchor Uno for making this post possible.

*Based on the average sugar content per 100g of the top 5 kids yoghurt brands (21/8/16 Nielson)

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