Choosing Healthy Foods and Beverages

Sugar

Sugar is found in many foods. It can be naturally occurring in nutritious foods such as milk, fruits and vegetables, as well as in fruit and vegetable juices. Sugar is also added to various foods to enhance flavour, improve colour and texture or preserve them longer.

Sugar comes in many forms:

  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Honey
  • High-fructose corn syrup

Sugar is also found in foods that have the following names in their list of ingredients: glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltose or sucrose.

Sugar is mainly added to sweetened beverages, cakes, cookies, chocolate, candy, some granola bars, some flavoured yoghurts and other processed products.

Added sugar provides calories and has no nutritional benefit. It is also associated with the onset of many health problems, like tooth decay and diabetes.

It is therefore recommended that you limit your daily intake of sugar. According to the World Health Organization, an average adult should consume no more than 12 tsp of sugar daily and, ideally, not exceed 6 tsp. For example, an adult who drinks one can of soft drink a day exceeds these recommendations. A 355 mL can of soft drink contains up to 10 tsp of added sugar.

To reduce your sugar intake, follow these tips:

  • Avoid the daily consumption of sugary sweetened beverages like soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks or flavoured coffees.
  • Limit how much fruit juice you drink because it often has a lot of sugar.
  • Eat fresh fruits rather than canned fruits, which often has sugar in it. If you eat canned fruits, go for fruits packed in water rather than syrup.
  • Eat unsweetened whole grain cereals and do not add sugar.
  • Cook at home as often as possible; when baking muffins, cookies and other desserts, choose recipes that call for less sugar.
  • Go for milk or enriched alternatives such as unsweetened soy or almond milk. Avoid flavoured milk, like chocolate or vanilla, because it contains sugar.
  • Opt for plain yoghurt and add your favourite fresh fruit, pureed fruit or canned fruit packed in water.
  • Limit your consumption of products whose primary ingredient is sugar or an equivalent such as glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltose or sucrose.

Helpful websites about sugar

Last update: November 29, 2016 1:08 PM

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