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Dodging Hidden Sugar

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 08:33 AM

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Back in 1969, when The Archies sang "Sugar, Sugar," Americans consumed about 2,400 total calories a day; around 595 of those came from sugar.

Today, most North Americans down an astounding 2,900 calories a day, and 680 of those are from sugar.

Only a small bit of that sweetness comes from natural food sources like fresh fruit or veggies. On average, you're swallowing 32 teaspoons of added sugars every day.

No wonder obesity, diabetes, dementia and depression are on the rise.

There's a lot of confusion about how much sugar you can consume safely: The American Heart Association says women's daily sugar intake should be no more than six teaspoons, and men's, no more than nine.

We say: Aim for NO ADDED SUGARS OR SYRUPS.

You'll get plenty of sweet stuff if you eat nine servings of fruits and veggies daily and stick with 100 percent whole grains. (Then you can have that good-for-you 1 ounce of 70 percent dark chocolate every day!)

But added sugars are hiding everywhere. Some culprits are: cereals with the words "Crunch," "Clusters" or "Crisp" (even if they're 100 percent whole grain); bottled salad dressings (particularly low-fat or fat-free); prepared pasta sauces; fruity yogurts; and many condiments. On ingredient labels, sugar masquerades as syrup, agave, evaporated cane juice, fructose, sorbitol and any word ending in "-ose" or "-ol."

Fortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is trying to make keeping track of your sugar intake easier with some proposed labeling changes: Let's hope the food industry cares enough about your health to not kill those label upgrades!

© 2014 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

© King Features Syndicate

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