No Added Sugar and Other Lies We Want to Believe

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In May 2015 the Food and Drug Administration made an important change to the regulation that governs nutrition labels. Before that change, the statement “no added sugar” on the product label meant exactly that. No source of sugar, be it natural or otherwise, was added to the product. Currently if a product doesn’t make the claim “no added sugar” and there is less than 1 gram per servicing of added sugar they do not have to disclose it. So, deceiving the public by making statements that led you to believe your candy bar was a health food is perfectly legal

Take a look at the description of a Key Lime Larabar from their website. It states that there are “Just 6 ingredients” with pictures of dates, cashews, almonds, coconut, and two pictures of lime slices. If you hover over those limes you see that one is “Lime Juice Concentrate” and the other is “Dried Lime Juice Concentrate.” Two types of lime juice? What exactly is concentrated lime juice? You guessed it—sugar. The nutrition information label reveals the hidden truth. There are 18 grams of sugars in one serving of the Key Lime Larabar, but 0% added sugars. There are 4 grams of sugar in a single teaspoon, to put this in perspective. This one Larabar has 4-1/2 teaspoons of sugar.

Here is how food manufactures are getting away with hiding sugar in their products.

Added sugars are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type, except that fruit or vegetable juice concentrated from 100 percent juices sold to consumers, fruit or vegetable juice concentrates used towards the total juice percentage label declaration under §101.30 or for Brix standardization under §102.33(g)(2) of this chapter, fruit juice concentrates which are used to formulate the fruit component of jellies, jams, or preserves in accordance with the standard of identities set forth in §§150.140 and 150.160 of this chapter, or the fruit component of fruit spreads shall not be labeled as added sugars.
This doublespeak indicates that concentrated fruit juice is a sugar, unless it is a component of a fruit spread product or as a part of 100% juice. Whole frozen fruit such as strawberries and blueberries are another example of the tricks the food manufacturers play on us. Some of the berries are boiled down to make a concentrated fruit syrup that is used to coat the fruit before freezing. The frozen product is still just “strawberries” or “blueberries” on the nutrition label, but the hidden added sugar hooks consumers. Sugar is a highly addictive substance, a fact the food manufacturers take full advantage of, which is why you find evaporated cane juice (which is no different than regular sugar) in just about every processed food.
What is a hungry person to do? Avoid processed food and eat whole foods whenever possible. Read your nutrition labels, evaluate the ingredients, and look out for the hidden sugars. Better yet–grown your own.

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