Added Sugars Can Contribute to Health Problems
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Americans are on a sugar high. We consume too much added sugar that can contribute to health problems such as weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. We can live healthier, longer lives by deciding to move more and eat better, which includes consuming fewer calories from added sugars.
Added sugars are called by many different names. Examples of added sugars seen on ingredient labels according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, that can be listed as an ingredient include brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, trehalose, and turbinado sugar. One place you might find added sugars is in fruit juice or drinks. When juices are consumed, they should be 100% juice, without added sugars. This is also true for canned fruit. Choose the option that is lowest in added sugars.
Sweetened juice drinks are considered to be sugar-sweetened beverages rather than fruit juice because they are primarily composed of water with added sugars, such as syrups and other caloric sweeteners.
When sugars are added to foods and beverages to sweeten them, they add calories without contributing essential nutrients. Consumption of added sugars can make it difficult for individuals to meet their nutritional needs while staying within calorie limits. Naturally occurring sugars, such as those in fruit or milk, are not added sugars.
We should strive to limit added sugars to less than 10 percent of calories per day. A larger percentage than this will make it harder to achieve a healthy diet for the day and you could be consuming fewer nutrient-dense food and unhealthy beverage choices. The recommendation to limit added sugars to no more than 10 percent of calories is a target that applies to all calorie levels to help individuals move toward healthy eating patterns within calorie limits.
Learn how to reduce added sugars by identifying products that contain them. Some sources of added sugars are easy to identify and include sugary beverages (soda, fruit punch, sweet coffee and energy drinks), sugar coated breakfast cereal, chocolates, candy, pastries, cookies, and flavored yogurt.
By reading the ingredient list on your Nutrition Facts label, you may also be surprised at the foods you find them in. These include whole-grain cereals and granola, instant flavored oatmeal, granola bars, protein bars and cereal bars, pasta sauce, all types of condiments such as barbecue sauce, ketchup, and salad dressing.
Make healthier choices at the grocery store to limit your added sugars. Consume the above mentioned foods in moderation. When shopping read the nutrition label and eliminate those foods with added sweeteners and instead, chose healthier options. Instead of canned fruit, buy fresh or frozen. Then add it to your children’s lunch box or use it in baking or for meals. For example, instead of buying brown sugar instant oatmeal, add fresh or frozen blueberries, peaches or apples to your oatmeal. You will get added vitamins and minerals without the added sugars.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at email@example.com, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaDue, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
For a sweet treat without all the added sugars, try this recipe for Oatmeal Cookies. You can add in one half cup chopped nuts, coconut, dried fruit or chocolate chips. A great combination would be dried cranberries and white chocolate chips or raisins and chopped nuts.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cup oats
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Combine sugar, applesauce, oil and egg in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the oats and optional ingredients if desired. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons on the greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8 -10 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand on cookie sheet for 4 minutes. Then remove onto wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.
By Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
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