Sunday, August 1, 2010

How Much Sugar Are You Consuming? - How to Read a Food Label

Since I learned how to read a food label, I have become pretty avid about it. What I've found has been shocking in that foods that are advertised as good for you contain massive amounts of sugar and chemicals, such as MSG, which are harmful. Ingredients on a food label are listed in the order of you find in many supermarket foods. Check the cereal your children are eating. What are the first ingredients? If sugar is number one or two, this is not a healthy cereal for your family.

How to Read a Food Label to Determine Sugar Content

Ingredients are listed in order of amount that the food contains. As an example, for a cereal, what you would like to see on the label listed first is whole grains of some sort, with sugar far down on the list.

Another way to check for sugar is to look for the sugar amount per serving. Kellogg's Fruit Loops has 15 grams of sugar per serving, while Cheerios contains just one gram. To see how much sugar your cereal contains, go to "How Much Sugar is in Your Cereal?" for a comprehensive listing.

Be aware too, when reading labels, that sugar hides under many different names - all of them still sugar. Here are some other names for sugar you'll find on food labels:
  • Corn Syrup
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Molasses
  • Malt syrup
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Rice syrup
  • Tapioca syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate

Also keep in mind that natural sweeteners such as honey are still sugar, although they do contain some vitamins and minerals.

How many grams of sugar should your or your children eat per day? The answer is - as little as possible but for women not more than 25 grams of sugar daily and for men, not more than 38 grams daily. How much sugar you can eat and still maintain health depends on age and weight so children need considerably less, especially of artificial sweeteners, which serve as rocket fuel in their blood streams.

Excess sugar in our daily diets contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, tooth decay, premature wrinkles and much much more.

How do I avoid sugar in the diet?

The best way to avoid sugar in your diet is to avoid packaged, processed foods and focus on whole natural foods lie whole grains, fruits and veggies. In our cereal example, for instance, choose oatmeal or other whole grain cereals that you cook. If you really need sweetener, choose a little honey or stevia, a natural plant sweetener with zero calories and no known side effects.

Try some of these delicious natural food recipes:

Raw Energy Recipes

Perfect Health, the Natural Way

It isn't easy to avoid sugar in your diet but it can be done with a little planning and effort. For your family's sake, it's well worth it!

For more information on reading food labels, visit or AskDrSears.

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