If you read food labels, you may be surprised by just how many foods contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Try to choose products that do not have sugar listed as one of the two first ingredients. Sugar is not always listed as “sugar,” but can have different names, including:
- Sugar (also known as white table sugar)
- Fructose, glucose, sucrose
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup
- Dehydrated cane juice
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Invert sugar
- Maple syrup
- Raw sugar
Be sure to avoid added sugars in products not intended to taste sweet, such as tomato sauce, soups, breads, or frozen waffles. Whenever possible, choose foods that contain natural sugars such as fruit juice.
Although not all nutrition professionals agree that some types of sugars are better than others, I recommend choosing food sweetened with sugar instead of food sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Recent research shows a considerable correlation between high fructose corn syrup and obesity. Because of the way it is digested, high fructose corn syrup does not stimulate insulin secretion, a process that tells your body that calories have been consumed. When insulin is not secreted, overeating is more likely. And this can result in weight gain over time.
Even though sugar is a better choice, keep in mind that too much sugar of any kind introduces lots of calories, but few nutrients, into the body. It’s better to enjoy sweet treats that are naturally sweet, high in fiber and complex carbohydrates such as fruit salad and healthy versions of desserts like apple pie with whole wheat crust.