“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter,” wrote the poet. To which we add the saccharine free verse: Sugar fills many a label, but sweeteners unseen are more plentiful still.
Dave Zinczenko, co-author of Eat This, Not That!, has written his own enlightening ode to sweetly concealed ingredients. His “Nine Sneaky Sources of Sugar” counts down to the number one offender:
9. Asian Sauces: “Asian sauces — or at least American versions of Asian sauces — are notorious sources of hidden sugars. The viscous liquids that give us sesame chicken, sweet and sour pork, and beef teriyaki aren’t all that dissimilar from pancake syrup. Check the nutrition label for ingredients like corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, and watch out for anything that ends in ‘-ose’ (dextrose, maltose). These are all forms of sugar. Then be prepared to do some math — most bottled sauces list nutrition information for impractically small serving sizes. Who uses only 1 tablespoon of sauce?”
8. Fruit Spreads: “Jams, jellies, and preserves seem like healthy breakfast alternatives to butter and cream cheese — and they are if they contain only fruit. But many fruity toppings house a shocking amount of added sugar. Smucker’s, for instance, packs three different sweeteners into its classic Strawberry jam. Why three? Because if the company used only one, it would have to list ‘sugar’ as the first item on the ingredient statement. By spreading the impact over three sweeteners, it can push fruit to the top of the ingredient list and hide the sweeteners below. It’s a common trick used by food processors to make their products look healthier than they are. Just remember that fruit is its own natural sweetener. Opt for an unadulterated version like Polaner’s All Fruit spreads, which — true to name — contain nothing more than fruit and fruit juice.”
7. Salad Dressing: “You’ve likely heard that fat-heavy dressings like ranch and blue cheese can convert a salad from fresh to fattening, but you may not be aware of the other salad saboteur lurking in your pantry. When the so-called ‘light’ dressings take out fat, they often add sugar in its place. Take Ken’s Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette . . . It contains as much sugar in each serving as some ice creams do in each scoop. And what’s worse, it’s laced with food starch. Although technically not sugar, it reacts in your body in almost exactly the same way. That means that in addition to the 12 grams of sugar on the label, you’re also taking in a heavy dose of blood-sugar-spiking starch. Let’s call this dressing what it really is: salad frosting.”
More of the countdown in our next post.