Sometimes sugar occurs in foodstuffs where we simply don’t expect it. Special care is required when buying convenience products (e.g. salad dressings, ketchup, pizzas, yoghurt, cornflakes, pickled gherkins and many others) because sugar crops up in an almost endless range of products. A single fruit yoghurt, for example, can contain the equivalent of six cubes of sugar. If you want to be certain that a foodstuff has not been sweetened with sugar, you need to take a close look at the list of ingredients.
Uncovering hidden sugar
All food packaging must include a list of the ingredients used to make the product inside. The word “sugar” may not appear there and you might therefore conclude that it contains no sugar. But you could easily be mistaken because sugar goes under a wide range of aliases. These are often chemical names which the consumer may find hard to decipher (e.g. fructose, glucose, corn starch, saccharose and maltose). Convenience foods contain more sugar than we imagine. It appears in the form of concentrates or sweeteners and can be hard to identify. The bathroom scales may be first place you notice it!
Fresh is best
If you don’t want to have to memorise all the different types of sugar, you can follow one simple rule, namely that natural foodstuffs often contain less sugar than those which have been processed in some way. Unprocessed ham, for example, contains little or no sugar – unlike sausage products. Are tinned fruit and vegetables any better? Not necessarily, because tinned vegetables often contain sweeteners. The best approach is to buy fresh.
The reason that so many foodstuffs contain sugar is simple: it’s cheaper than high-quality ingredients and ensures a positive taste experience. The upshot is that we eat far too much sugar without knowing it. The daily recommended dose is between 50 and 60 grams – for women and men respectively.
Contribution to your health
SWICA supports you in your preventive healthcare efforts in the areas of exercise, nutrition and relaxation by providing generous contributions under the COMPLETA PRAEVENTA and OPTIMA plans. Our customer service desk would be delighted to offer you advice 24 hours a day on the free helpline 0800 80 90 80.