Saturday, August 13, 2016

Revealing Hidden Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners

There probably aren't too many of us that don't realize sugar is bad for you. I think we used to tip-toe around it a little bit and say sugar isn't good for you, but if we are being straight up honest with ourselves. Sugar is bad. And we eat a LOT of it. 

Avoiding added sugar and artificial sweeteners can be extremely hard. I think that processed food companies try and hide it from us on purpose. If you want to avoid it or consume as little of it as possible - or just even be aware of how much of it you are consuming, you are going to have to do some serious label reading. 
The job of label reading gets even trickier when food manufacturers hide additives behind confusing names, words we don't recognize and put misleading labels on the packages that feel like that are purposefully meant to confuse. 
Here is a list below that contains common names for hidden sugars and artificial sweeteners. Try and make it a habit to check your food labels to see if they are on it. 
The thing is, we should know that we are going to find sugars and sweeteners in dessert foods and things that we expect to be "sweet", but has us consuming so much sugar is the fact that sugars and sweeteners and hidden in lots of unexpected places like bread, tomato sauce and salad dressings. 
Avoiding Hidden Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
Of course, there is a silver bullet way to avoid the ingredients in the lists below: eat whole foods and cook from scratch.
Now I don't think that it is a big secret that Food $ense and Snap-Ed are huge advocates for getting us into the kitchen and preparing food from whole ingredients. That's the whole purpose of this blog, for me to do it and show you that it is possible!  BUT!! I am also a work at home mom of 8 ranging from 18 to almost 2 years old and believe me, I understand that preparing everything you eat and feed your family from scratch just isn't always going to happen. 
That also means that I don't encourage your to use packaged food and prepared food items as an excuse because you are just "too busy" or that healthy food just costs too much. While both of those things have some truth to them, taking the time to cook what you can and prepare foods so you know what is in them it absolutely without a doubt always worth the effort. 
To make the cook at home process easier - you can use these tips: 

Weekend Cooking. This is my favorite strategy, when I can make it happen. Set aside a couple of hours on your day off to cook a few big batches of food. You can serve these up all week long. Think of these as frozen dinners that you can trust!
Prioritize. There are some foods that are best made from scratch and others that make sense to buy prepared. If you’re short on time, decide what your priorities are.
Go Simple. A snack or meal doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. Instead of a granola bar, grab a banana and peanut butter in the morning, for example. If you’re short on time for supper, throw a quick salad together instead of heating up a microwave meal.
Even with these tricks, though, sometimes you’re going to be grabbing packaged food at the store. Learn how to keep the refined sugars and artificial sweeteners out below!

List of Hidden Sugars
Common Names for Refined Sugars
Ingredients that contain the words below are names for hidden sugars. These words can appear in conjunction with other words. Syrup is a good example. You might see corn syrup, evaportated cane syrup, brown rice syrup, or any number of other syrups. If it’s syrup, it’s sugar.

  • agave
  • cane juice
  • cane sugar
  • caramel
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • glucose
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • juice
  • lactose
  • maltose (See a pattern? “-ose” means sugar)
  • molasses
  • sucrose
  • sugar
  • syrup

Artificial Sweeteners
Common Names for Artificial Sweeteners
If you’re trying to avoid artificial sweeteners, check your ingredient lists for these names.
  • acesulfame potassium
  • alitame
  • aspartame
  • cyclamate
  • Dulcin
  • Equal
  • Glucin
  • kaltame
  • mogrosides
  • neohesperidin dihydrochalcone
  • neotame
  • NutraSweet
  • Nutrinova
  • phenylalanine (A phenylalanine warning can alert you to hidden Aspartame)
  • saccharin
  • Splenda
  • sucralose
  • Twinsweet
  • Sweet N Low
  • Sweetmyx