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Watch out for “hidden” sugars

HPRC Fitness Arena: Nutrition, Total Force Fitness
Learn about “added” sugars that can be hiding in some of your favorite foods.

Nearly everyone enjoys sweet treats, but keep a lookout for hidden sources of sugar in some packaged or even “healthy” foods, especially if you’re watching your sugar intake.

Some sugars occur naturally in fruits (fructose) and milk products (lactose). However, other sugars are added to foods and drinks during preparation, processing, or at your table. These include natural sugars (such as honey) and processed sugars (such as high-fructose corn syrup). Foods with added sugars include ice cream, some yogurts, baked goods, breakfast cereals, punches, and some sodas and energy drinks. Consuming foods and drinks with added sugars can increase your risk of tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. So it’s important to limit your intake of foods and drinks with added sugars when possible.

Check food labels for hidden sources of sugar too. The Nutrition Facts panel was recently updated to include “added” sugars, and the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting them to no more than 10% of your calories per day. So try to limit your intake of foods and drinks with anhydrous dextrose, brown rice syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, malt syrup, maltose, maple or pancake syrup, molasses, honey, glucose, lactose, fruit nectars, brown sugar, sucrose, and sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol, and mannitol. Still, there are ways to help reduce your “added” sugar intake and boost nutrition as well.

  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruits that contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Try fresh or dried bananas, apples, or berries. Or choose fruits canned in 100% juice.
  • Limit sugar at your table. Add small amounts of sugar to your oatmeal, coffee, or tea. Or skip the syrup and top your whole-grain pancakes and waffles with fresh fruit.
  • Avoid sugary drinks. Instead, try fresh or sparkling water flavored with sliced oranges or strawberries.

Visit the MedlinePlus page to learn more about sugar.

Posted 15 May 2017

The “new” Nutrition Facts panel

HPRC Fitness Arena: Nutrition, Total Force Fitness
The Nutrition Facts panel for packaged food labels is getting an update! It’s easier to read and can help you make more-informed decisions when choosing foods.

The Food and Drug Administration just unveiled an updated Nutrition Facts panel, which is easier to read and reflects the 2015–2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Recently revised after 20 years, this new format must appear on all packaged foods by July 2018 (with some exceptions). These are the facts to know:

  • Highlighted calories, servings per container, and serving sizes. This information is larger and bold, making it easier to find at a glance.
  • Vitamin D and potassium. These are now listed, since many Americans don’t get enough of these important minerals. Vitamin D maintains bone health, and potassium can help reduce blood pressure. Vitamins A and C are no longer included since deficiencies of these are rare.
  • Added sugars. “Total Sugars” includes what’s added and what’s naturally occurring (but with “Added Sugars” also noted separately). This new information is especially important for those who are managing their nutritional needs and limiting their calories to less than 10% from added sugars.
  • Updated “Serving size.” These now match what people typically eat or drink. For example, a single serving of soda might be 12 or 20 oz., depending on the packaging.
  • Clearer footnote. The footnote better explains what “% Daily Value” means.
  • Multiple serving sizes. Some packages, such as a pint of ice cream, include two columns: “per serving” and “per package.” This makes it easier to choose whether to eat or drink one serving—or the entire package—at one time.

Watch for the new Nutrition Facts panel to appear on your favorite packages soon. In the meantime, you can view it below.

Thumbnail for May 2016 Nutrition Facts Label

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