Added Sugar: Hidden in Plain Sight
By Sara Butler
If you’re trying to reduce added sugar in your diet, then it may necessitate a little more work than you think. Sugar is lurking in many different foods -- several you wouldn’t expect. But a little basic knowledge about sugar and all its forms will take you a long way. Here are some of the ways sugar masquerades as something else but it’s really just added sugar!
Date and Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is prepared from the sap of a plant called the coconut palm, while date sugar is made from dried dates that are ground up. They may sound different than white sugar, but as far as your body is concerned they are the exact same thing. The volume of nutrients in these sugars as compared with white sugar is marginal at best, which just goes to show that whole food sources of sugar are no better.
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup or any kind of syrup really, contains added sugar. Brown rice syrup is made through a process in which brown rice is cooked with enzymes to break down the starch. While this process may differ from other syrups, such as maple, it all basically produces the same thing: sugar. Maple syrup does have some manganese, which helps promote bone health, but you need to watch how much of any syrup you’re adding to your diet if you want to avoid added sugar.
Evaporated Cane Juice
This might sound a bit healthier, but it shares a lot of traits with plain old white sugar. Evaporated cane juice is created by siphoning out the juice or liquid from the sugarcane plant and dehydrating it. Then the crystals are separated from the molasses. White sugar is also made in this way, but it’s merely processed a little more to take away the brownish tint.
Speaking of molasses, it should come as no surprise that it’s just sugar too. You can find it in a ton of baked goods and cereals. As mentioned, it’s a derivative of processing sugar cane as well as sugar beets. It’s basically what’s left over after the crystallization of the sugar.
If you notice blackstrap molasses on labels of foods considered healthy, understand that this is simply the remnants of the liquid in syrup form. It does contain a few nutrients such as calcium and iron, but it’s still sugar so you have to keep an eye out for it.
Don't fall for sugar dressed up as something else or you could end up with more of it in your diet than you realize!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Long Beach, Calif.