No Added Sugar – The Most Misleading Term of All
They say you shouldn’t believe everything you read, and nowhere is this more true than for the labels on your food.
Now, no-one is outright fibbing (except perhaps the manufacturers of a certain Chinese weight loss coffee which was recently recalled because it contained a mystery pharmaceutical drug. Their label claim that coffee alone would make you lose up to 10kgs I think could be construed as a fib) but boy, is some of what is legally acceptable incredibly misleading.
The worst of the worst is the idea that natural sugars are somehow ok for you. Everyday, when I launch into my “sugar is evil” spiel, people interrupt with the “but they’re natural sugars” comment. That people think that the sugar in apple juice is somehow better for them than a coke is understandable; it’s what we’re told in the media and the food manufacturers certainly aren’t going to say otherwise.
But ask yourself: where does sugar come from? It’s from a plant. A very natural plant that has admittedly undergone some processing but it is still a natural product.
Our body is not a fussy creature. It likes sugar of all kinds and will happily absorb whatever form you choose to put in it. A coke? Yummo! The sucrose from cane sugar splits into glucose and fructose in the intestine and is absorbed into the blood stream. An apple juice? Sure, why not? The fructose and glucose are already mostly separate so shoot across the gut wall directly into the bloodstream. A teaspoon of honey? At roughly 70% fructose, this whizzes into the bloodstream and heads straight to the liver.
The point of this is that your body can’t tell, and frankly doesn’t care, whether the sugar you eat was put there by mother nature or a food technologist. It absorbs and uses them all in exactly the same way.
If I see “no added sugar” on a label, I can almost guarantee that it is chock full of the “naturally occurring” ones, which are no better for you or your waist line.
My favourite example of this (and by favourite I mean makes me cry quietly on the inside) is Boost Juice. Their cheerful brochure helpfully outlines the nutritional content of their products and even puts them into categories so you can choose one that best suits your requirements.
Watching your waist line and looking for a diet friendly drink? Look no further, why not have a delicious low fat blueberry smoothie? ”Fresh fruit and good- for- you yoghurt ” you say? That’s got to be healthy right? Umm. No. Not. At. All. The Original size Blue Blueberry smoothie contains 95 grams of sugar, which the equivalent of 19 teaspoons. 19! Try drinking that regularly and see how low fat you are. Yes, some of that is “naturally occurring” sugar from fruit juice but remember, your gut can’t see you drinking from a healthy looking green cup, so you might as well drink two and a half cans of coke instead.
Sugar is sugar folks and don’t belive anyone that tries to tell you otherwise.