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Food Fact: Added Sugars

Guest Post by: Kensey Goebel, Nutrition and Foods student at the University of Texas Austin

Did you know that eating a fruit cup with syrup or a small cup of sweetened applesauce could have just as much, if not more sugar than eating a candy bar?  Most people would think that applesauce would be a much healthier choice, however you have to be careful when choosing your snacks because 1 small serving cup of Motts Apple Sauce (cinnamon or original) has 23 grams of sugar while a Snickers candy bar has 27 grams of sugar! Not much difference. 

There is a difference in natural sugars versus added sugars. Added sugars show up in processed foods and are used to make it taste better while natural sugars show up naturally in fruit and other whole foods. Your body can process and digest natural occurring sugars easier than processed sugars and the calories found in foods containing less added sugar is usually far lower.  Instead of buying the fruit cup in syrup that contains about 22 grams of sugar try buying the fruit cup with no added sugar. The one in regular juice contains only 5 grams of sugar! Or instead of buying sweetened applesauce or yogurt buy the unsweetened or natural variety. You can cut the sugar in half!

The new food labels are making it easier for people to read and understand what is in their food.  Changes to the new food label include making the calories easier to read by enlarging it, making the serving size more clear and emphasizing the added sugar versus natural sugar in a product. Have you ever looked at the serving size of a 20-ounce drink? The serving size is actually only 8 ounces. Do you ever stop after drinking less than half of it? Probably not, most people drink the whole thing. The new serving sizes will accommodate what most people actually eat to make it easier to know how many calories you are actually getting.

Here is a challenge to try over spring break. Before you have a snack or eat a meal, look at the box and figure out the serving size and see how it compares to what you would normally eat.

Here is a snack to try: Make your own yogurt parfait  Kids Kitchen sends this in lunchboxes at school.  But, don’t forget to pack a spoon!

parfaitlunch

Take plain yogurt and get all the toppings you would like and layer them one by one.

Try adding honey or maple syrup (un-processed natural sugars) or fruit like strawberries, raspberries or blueberries and granola to make your yogurt parfait!

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