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Hidden sugars in food

HIDDEN SUGARS IN FOODS

Often when we talk about sugar we think that it is only the one ” on the table” that we add ourselves but in reality the hidden sugars in unsuspected foods are much more common than we think.

The problem of excessive consumption of sugar is not to be underestimated: in addition to the risk of obesity and diabetes, the excess of sugar can also cause other negative consequences such as cardiovascular diseases and tumors.

WHAT ARE THE DAILY LIMITS OF SUGAR?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended not to exceed an amount of simple sugars equal to 10% of the daily caloric intake. For an adult with a requirement of approximately 2000 calories, this quantity corresponds to 50 grams (10 teaspoons). Now keep in mind that when speaking of adult with 2000 calories we are speaking about an active adult, otherwise the caloric needs drops significantly below and consequently also the quantity of sugar.

There is an important distinction to be made between:

  • Sugars naturally present in food: such as those contained in fruit, such as fructose or in milk, such as lactose.
  • Added sugars in packaged food.

 

The recommended dose by the WHO, in fact, relates primarily to the quantity of added sugars: nutritionists consider the added sugars substances capable of promoting problems such as caries, overweight and obesity. And this is also true for those found in fruit juices or in honey.

Those naturally assumed cannot and must not be removed from our diet, but we must drastically reduce those introduced.

Just note that 60 % of the sugar that we intake comes from packaged industrial foods.

BUT WHERE ARE THESE HIDDEN OR ADDED SUGARS FOUND?
The added or even hidden sugars are found in many packaged products, not only in those hardly considered healthy: it is enough to read the labels of many foods bought at the supermarket to realise it. They are sugars that are inserted in the preparation of a foodstuff and are summed to those naturally present in the food itself.

For example:

  • Packed snacks: In various snacks and sweets an excessive amount of sugar is added in order to make them more attractive and especially to make the consumer more addicted.
  • Packed soups and sauces: in these products the sugar is often used as a thickener.
  • Salami, sausages and cured meats: their consumption should already per se be avoided due to the high quantity of salt but also the sugar does not joke.In some types of cooked ham, mortadella and sausages sugars are added already during in the production phase: especially in those intended for packaging that you find in the refrigerated counter.
  • Cereals and packed bread: cereals that are glazed or coloured and are often enriched in sugars. Also the sliced bread (french sliced or toast), has an excess of sugar that helps the product to be preserved soft (on average half a teaspoon of sugar per slice).
  • Mayonnaise, Ketchup and various dressings: In these types of dressings, and sometimes also in the balsamic vinegar, sugar is present to increase the sweetness.
  • Carbonated (soft, fizzy) drinks and fruit juices: The carbonated drinks are often produced with a large amount of sugar and this also applies to the packaged juices, even those with a 100% fruit content.
  • Frozen foods: even in frozen vegetables sugar is often added
  • Light/low-fat Yogurt and cheese: One light yogurt can contain up to four teaspoons of sugar more than a normal one. The same applies for the low-fat cheeses, produced with margarine (less fat content of butter but not healthy at all) but with the addition of sugars.
  • Breaded/battered food. Veal Cutlets, fish au gratin, vegetables dipped in breadcrumbs: in all these foods there is an excessive amount of sugar because this, added to the breading, makes them more crunchy.

HOW MUST WE THEREFORE DEFEND OURSELVES?

Read the labels in a correct manner, try to understand what we eat, choose foods with a few ingredients and especially have the patience to prepare the foods personally at home when you can. And most of all pay attention to the so-called light, low-fat, diet foods or drinks that ultimately are not so light ar all.

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