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Sneaky Sugar

Americans consume an estimated 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day. There’s no denying that we have a sweet tooth, and the rising obesity and diabetes rates to prove it.

“Food manufacturers have done an excellent job of combining sugar, salt, and fat in this just – you know – fantastic way to make it, so appealing,’ says Lee Memorial Health System registered dietitian, Jeanne Struve.

The FDA has proposed requiring a new line on nutrition labels for “added sugars”, but until that change takes effect, you have to read those nutrition labels closely to find the sneaky sugars.

“Look for the high fructose corn syrup or the corn syrup or the dextrose or the sucrose. There’s a lot of ways that we can call sugar; they can call it syrup, they can call it brown sugar,” says Struve.

Health experts agree we have much too much sugar in our diet and it’s making us sick. It’s the cost of convenience. We are so quick to grab and go, when we could benefit from a lesson in label reading.

“People have a tendency to read the front of the package, which is all marketing, and forget to turn over and actually look at what’s mandated by the food and drug administration, which is the nutrition facts label,” says Struve.

Sugar by any other name would taste just as sweet, and too much of it can be just as damaging to your health.

“What the food manufacturers will do is put in so much sugar, but they put it in different names so that they can stagger it throughout the ingredients. So it doesn’t show up as the number one ingredient even though if you added them all together it would be the number one ingredient,” says Struve.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

Visit leememorial.org

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