12 Sneaky Sources of Sugar: Our Cofounder Featured in Well + Good
12 Health Halo-Touting Foods That Sneakily Pack a Surplus of Sugar
It’s frustrating, to say the least, when you eat something with the great satisfaction of knowing it was good for you, only to find out you might as well have been eating a box of Oreos. We love a dessert moment, we would just rather know if and when we're eating one, you know?
If there’s one thing everyone should bear in mind when food shopping, it's that just because something is branded with “organic,” “wholesome,” "vegan," “gluten-free,” or “lite,” (that last one = major sigh) doesn’t mean it’s nutrient-dense or healthy. An organic, plant-based, allergy-friendly cookie is still a cookie. Delicious in its own right, and without any need to disguise its identity and dress it up as something other than a sweet snack.
Don’t be fooled by the front of the package. “Marketing is designed to shift our beliefs, so it’s super important to read past all the flashy headlines on labels and turn on your wisdom when checking out foods,” says Molly Carmel, LCSW-R, a social worker, food addiction specialist, and scientific advisor to Sugarbreak. “Don’t be swindled by the promises on the front of the package—instead, head to the back of the package where the nutrition information lives." In doing so, she suggests looking at three different parts of the product's label: fiber, sugar, and protein content. "Ideally, you want your food to be high fiber, low sugar, and high protein, which promises to be more nutrient-rich, more satisfying, and less likely to cause fluctuations in blood sugar. Finally, I would also look at the ingredient list, hoping that at least the first four ingredients are free from sugar, artificial sugar, and all of their aliases."
This brings us back to that idea that something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. “The FDA has a rounding rule,” explains Katie Thomson, MS, RD and the co-founder and CEO of Square Baby. “For example, a product that contains less than half a gram of sugar is rounded down to zero grams. So that sweet cereal with a small amount of sugar could be labeled as ‘zero grams of sugar’ without it actually being true.”
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