Recently and regularly, clients approach me about alternative foods to which to make a better healthier switch too. More often there is a product found that comes under a healthier alternative or so the marketing puts it. Us coaches will help you with understanding the fine print and revealing the underlying elements to help you items such as these.
(Products not mentioned. The intention of the writer in this article is to bring forth elements for the novice to be able to identify finer elements of nutrition selection and to broaden knowledge scope to be able to make better choices. It is not the intent to identify and cast brand names in a bad light)
Client of mine was looking for a gluten free breakfast alternative and found two of them. Both of them marketed under different brand names. When I looked at the ingredients, they were indeed gluten free.
However, much of the ingredients had names most people would have difficulty comprehending or be unfamiliar with. But the hidden elephant in the room was the alternative sugar ingredients listed.
Sugar….by what name?
Products will sometimes print on the nutrition/ingredient list “ADDED SUGAR” or just ‘SUGARS” and this is something to look for. However, it can be stated under different names. Names sugar can be found are: sucrose, sucrulose, glucose, lactose, fructose, maltrose, dextrose, corn syrup, malt syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, sucanat, maltodextrin, and this is only a short list. There are over 50 sugar names that are on product labels.
Sugar on the Nutrition Table
Every processed food product (except fresh fruit, vegetables and fresh cut meat) has a nutrition table that tells you the energy in Kcal, Kl or Kj (calories or kilojoules), Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates with additional info such as fiber, sodium and other vitamins and minerals.
If you are sugar conscious, then you will look for the Carbohydrates and immediately underneath, the ‘sugar’ component of the carbohydrate. It may basically look like this:
(example) (per serve……..100g)
What the above table tells us, is that the serving size of 100g, contains 50g of carbohydrates of which 40g is a sugar of perhaps table sugar (sucrulose) or added corn syrup (fructose). The remain 10g may be fiber or a non-sugar carbohydrate.
The Hidden Truth
Many processed products labeled as ‘LOW FAT’ have hidden sugars. To the un-trained eye, these hidden sugars are hard to spot. The easiest example is Low Fat Yoghurt. Often marketed as the low-fat weight reducing option, many of these low-fat yoghurts will have added sugars to enhance their taste. As explained above, look for sugar under the carbohydrate listing in nutrition information.
- Coach Stephen
*Insert from Coach Terri – Ideally look for options that contain 10g per 100g or less