In Plain Sight: 5 Ways to Spot Hidden Sugars

A spoon full of sugar

Did you know that the United States is the leader in daily sugar consumption? It’s intuitive that too much of anything is never a good thing, especially when it comes to sugar consumption. In fact, too much sugar can have an extremely negative impact on your health. Besides the obvious influences like excessive weight gain, too much sugar can also increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and depression. Not only that, but sugar is also linked to acne, accelerated skin aging, and a lack of energy. 

When reflecting on your diet, most people tend to underestimate how much sugar they consume regularly. Did you know that sugar often hides in plain sight? It doesn’t always come in the expected form of candy, chocolate and ice cream. More often than you’d expect, hidden sugars show up in pasta sauces, crackers, fruit juices, peanut butter, bread, salad dressing and so much more. When it seems like hidden sugar can be found just about anywhere, how do you spot it? 

Here are five ways to spot hidden sugars and ultimately reduce your sugar intake.

  1. Know the Names: It’s common for manufacturers to hide sugars in everyday foods by masking it behind a complicated name like D-ribose, fructose, rice syrup and many more. As a good rule of thumb, look for ingredients that end in “-ose” as those are typically sugars in disguise. By familiarizing yourself with common names for sugar, you’ll be more able to easily spot it.
  2. Read the Ingredient List: Along with knowing the names of hidden sugars, it’s important to regularly check the ingredient list on your foods. While this may seem both daunting and time-consuming, this small habit will help you make smarter decisions in the grocery store while helping to lower your overall sugar intake.
  3. Know Your Limits: While you focus on finding and eliminating hidden sugars, it’s important to also know what the suggested daily intake is. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily intake should fall somewhere in between 25-36 grams of sugar or 100-150 calories. 
  4. Avoid Processed Foods: If you find it frustrating to constantly search for hidden sugars in pre-prepared foods, consider swapping out highly processed foods by making your own. For example, try making your own salad dressing or pasta sauce at home with fresh ingredients rather than buying it off the shelf. Another way to avoid refined sugars is switching sodas, juices and energy drinks for water or fresh-pressed juice. By doing this, you’ll have better peace of mind by knowing what ingredients you are actually consuming.
  5. Stay Aware: As mentioned earlier, too much sugar can result in acne, accelerated skin aging, and a lack of energy. If you experience any of these unexpectedly, it may be a sign that you are consuming hidden sugars.

At NorthCrest Health, we are committed to the overall health and happiness of our patients. Visit our website or give us a call at 615-384-2411 to start living a healthier life.