The Sugar Bowl - Friend or enemy? - © 2013 Maggie J's Catering

‘Hidden’ Sugar is Everywhere in Processed Foods!

We’ve discussed this before, but it appears – according to a new video-info-graphic making the rounds on the Web – that the problem of ‘hidden’ Sugar in processed foods is getting worse, rather than improving. There are several reasons for this and, apparently, no easy answers…

Devious Hidden Sugar! - © BuzzFeed.comYou wouldn’t think a ‘healthy’ food like Meusli/Granola (above) would have more Sugar
in an equal serving than one of those dietarily-vilified ‘sugary cereals’,
such as Froot Loops. But there you have it!

We all know that processed foods are, generally speaking, heavy in Fats, Sugar and Salt compared to foods you prepare yourself from fresh ingredients. But this new video graphically illustrates – in every sense of the word ‘graphically’ – just how much Sugar is in some prepared food and fast-food favourites.

The message here is, the food processing industry has still not found a replacement ingredient that does everything Sugar does:

  • Sugar adds sweetness – an essential quality for foods from Cake to Ketchup and Spaghetti Sauce.
  • Sugar helps carry other flavours and accents them.
  • Sugar is crucial in some processed foods to achieving the correct texture and consistency both for processing and, later, consumer satisfaction vis-à-vis mouth feel.
  • Sugar in large concentrations is useful as a preservative.

And last but certainly not least:

  • Anthropologists say we evolved from hunter-gatherer hominids who craved sugar, salt Fat and, yes, Sugar, which were not always easy to find in their primitive world. We still tend to eat as much Sugar as we can, when it’s available, even though it has never been more available!
  • Sugar has been proven to be as addictive as opiate drugs.One study showed that test animals became so strongly addicted to Oreo cookies that they refused other, more nutritious food.

The moral(s) to the story are:

  • Cook as much of your own food as you can from fresh and control the added Salt, Sugar and Fat. Especially Sugar.
  • Choose your sweeteners wisely. For example: Maple Syrup is expensive, but it is several times sweeter than plain white or brown Sugar and has a distinctive flavour of its own to contribute to your dishes. Also, it’s a liquid, so it’s easier to incorporate ion mixtures. And take a look at Honey, too, while you’re at it!
  • Do not totally dump Sugar(s) from your diet in favour of artificial sweeteners. You need the stuff Sugar gives you. Athletes and physical types like construction workers actually  need extra carbs to perform at full efficiency!

As always… Consider all the ins and outs and make responsible choices!

~ Maggie J.