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Foods Loaded with Sugar - Not So Sweet News

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

A new report by Which? confirms what many slimmers have known for years – that many foods are loaded with sugar, including many products you wouldn’t expect to contain much of the white stuff.

The report discovered that savoury foods such as Asda Sticky Chilli Chicken and Tesco Crispy Beef with Sweet Chilli Sauce contain more sugar gram for gram than vanilla ice cream. Plus many products that are promoted as being low in fat such as Weight Watchers Oat Digestive biscuits, pack in the sugar.

Which? recommends scrutinising nutrition labels and ingredient lists to discover exactly how much sugar products contain – and then avoid those that are loaded with it. Especially pre-prepared and ready meals.

WLR says:

If you want to lose weight, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of looking at food labels when you’re out shopping.

Information about sugars can be confusing. As well as including information on the total carbohydrate content of a product, some nutrition panels also provide figures for sugars and starches.

In general, healthy eating guidelines recommend we eat more starchy foods and fewer sugary foods, but you need to interpret food labels carefully. For example, nutrition information for a croissant may indicate it’s high in starches and low in sugars, but this doesn’t automatically make it a healthy choice as it’s also packed with fat and calories.

Meanwhile, information about sugars can be confusing because the figure includes both added sugars such as those found in cakes, biscuits and confectionery and naturally occurring sugars, typically found in fresh fruit and milk.

It’s added sugars that are particularly harmful to teeth so it’s a good idea to eat fewer foods containing these.

Fresh fruit may appear to have a high sugar content due to the naturally occurring fruit sugar (fructose) it contains. As a result, it’s important to look at the ingredients list to see where the sugar is coming from.

All of the following ingredients are types of added sugars:

  • glucose
  • sucrose
  • glucose syrup
  • fructose
  • lactose
  • maltose
  • sucrose syrup
  • honey
  • molasses
  • invert sugar
  • invert sugar syrup
  • dextrose
  • corn syrup
  • sucrose syrup

The higher up the ingredients list it appears, the more the product contains. Bear in mind too, that many products will contain several of these ingredients, which collectively add up to a large amount of added sugars.

Check the Label

One of the easiest ways to judge whether a product contains sugar is to look at the name and description of the product – anything that’s described as ‘sweet’, ‘sticky’, ‘honeyed’, ‘sugar-coated’, ‘honey-coated’ or ‘syrupy’ is likely to contain added sugars!

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More Information

www.which.co.uk

Which? campaign to get a fairer deal for all consumers and publish expert, unbiased information to help people make the right choice, whatever buying.

www.eatwell.gov.uk/foodlabels/trafficlights

The Food Standards Agency would like to see traffic light colours used in all supermarkets and by all food manufacturers.

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Start a Free Trial Today

You can use the food diary and database tools in WLR to make sure your diet is healthy, balanced and contains the right amount of calories. Try it free for 24 hours.

Take our FREE trial »

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