Category Archives: Added Sugar

Dunkin’s new Tropical Mango Smoothie … a great way to beat the heat?

1435117835051Summer is in full swing here in the U.S. Depending on where you live, mid-July can bring 100 degree temperatures and the kind of humidity that can make walking to your car feel like walking around inside a steam room. knows that at this time of year so many of us are looking for ways to cool down and beat the heat.

To try and help us do that, Dunkin Donuts has just introduced their new Tropical Mango Smoothie. Just the use of the word smoothie conveys the idea of a healthier beverage. That may have been true a while back, but these days you really never know what’s going on with any new food or beverage introduction until you take a closer look. So let’s explore the Tropical Mango Smoothie.

Nutrition Facts
Calories:                 260
Fat:                          2 grams
Saturated Fat:       1 gram
Sugar:                     50 grams

There are 12.5 teaspoons of sugar in the small size (that’s the only one available on the website for nutrition facts). Cooling down doesn’t mean we need to load up on sugar and this smoothie really goes overboard with sweetness. Now let’s see what Dunkin has chosen to include in the smoothie recipe.

INGREDIENTS: Water; Yogurt: Pasteurized and Cultured Skim Milk, Sugar, Cream, Nonfat Dry Milk, Stabilizer (Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Locust Bean Gum), Yogurt Cultures: Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus; Tropical Mango Flavored Concentrate: Water, Mango Puree Concentrate, Sugar, Passion Fruit Puree, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Yellow 5, Yellow 6; Diced Pineapple; Diced Peaches (Peaches, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid and Malic Acid to promote color retention); Liquid Cane Sugar: Pure Cane Sugar, Water, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).

While the list isn’t overweighed with controversial ingredients, we really don’t like the idea that there are artificial colors included in the list. We’re don’t understand why it was necessary. There’s actual fruit in here – mango puree, passion fruit puree, pineapple and peaches. All of which are beautifully colored by nature. We’re assuming Dunkin didn’t think it would be yellow enough to be attractive to consumers, so including artificial color made sense. We just don’t think like that.

We’ll be turning to other cooling beverages this summer to keep ourselves from overheating. We still believe that iced water and freshly brewed iced tea are better options in the midst of rising temperatures. And if we want a smoothie, we can mix one up ourselves without Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. We’re sure we’ll like the resulting color just fine.

Sugary beverages can boost your risk of cardiovascular disease in just two weeks

sugarydrinksNew York City wanted to ban them. The federal government wants to tax them. Sugar-sweetened beverages have been under fire for quite a while now. But consumers keep right on drinking them. Soda, flavored iced coffee, flavored iced tea, fruit punch … these, and others, contain tremendous amounts of added sugars. Sugary drinks are a major culprit in the overconsumption of sugar that has contributed so heavily to the obesity crisis.

Beverages sweetened with low, medium and high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup significantly increase risk factors for cardiovascular disease, even when consumed for just two weeks by young, healthy men and women, reports a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis.

The study is the first to demonstrate a direct, dose-dependent relationship between the amount of added sugar consumed in sweetened beverages and increases in specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The data reinforce evidence from an earlier epidemiological study showing that the risk of death from cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world — increases as the amount of added sugar consumed increases.

The results will be published in the June print edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“These findings clearly indicate that humans are acutely sensitive to the harmful effects of excess dietary sugar over a broad range of consumption levels,” said Kimber Stanhope, the study’s lead author and a research scientist in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

The 85 participants, including men and women ranging in age from 18 to 40 years, were placed in four different groups. During 15 days of the study, they consumed beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup equivalent to 0 percent, 10 percent, 17.5 percent or 25 percent of their total daily calorie requirements.

The 0-percent control group was given a sugar-free beverage sweetened with aspartame, an artificial sweetener.

At the beginning and end of the study, researchers used hourly blood draws to monitor the changes in the levels of lipoproteins, triglycerides and uric acid — all known to be indicators of cardiovascular disease risk.

These risk factors increased as the dose of high-fructose corn syrup increased. Even the participants who consumed the 10-percent dose exhibited increased circulating concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride compared with their concentrations at the beginning of the study.

The researchers also found that most of the increases in lipid/lipoprotein risk factors for cardiovascular disease were greater in men than in women and were independent of body weight gain.

Stanhope noted that the study findings underscore the need to extend the research using carefully controlled dietary intervention studies, aimed at determining what would be prudent levels for added sugar consumption.

We tend to think of the relationship between sugar consumption and health in terms of obesity and weight gain. While that’s certainly an issue, wants to point out that this study indicates that the harmful effects of added sugar can, in fact, be independent of weight gain. Too much sugar is bad for your heart, even if you aren’t experiencing challenges with weight. Slowly but surely, science is proving that even the person you know who can “eat and drink whatever they want and not gain weight” isn’t immune to the harmful effects of consuming added sugar. It’s not just about your weight. It’s about your health.

Surprisingly, sugar consumption may be worse for blood pressure than salt

sugar (1)It really seems that every day we get more news about the effects of sugar and salt consumption on our health. We know that there’s too much of both in the processed foods flooding our grocery stores as well as the foods being served in fast food restaurants everywhere. We consume far too much sugar and salt, far too often. We’re aware that too much salt is bad for blood pressure. But did we ever think that sugar may be having the same effect?

Sugar is worse than salt for blood pressure and health, according to a new study published on Thursday.

Two researchers, James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD, of St. Luke’s Mid America Hearth Institute and Sean C. Lucan, MD, MPH, of Montefiore Medical Center, examined how dietary efforts to control high blood pressure have focused on limiting sodium. However, their research found added sugar in processed foods is a large contributor to hypertension than added salt.

More so, the study published in BMJ journal Open Heart argued that the guideline to limit salt intake is misguided and not based on evidence.

Even though the negative effect of salt is not proven, health experts still believe the consumption of salt and sugar should be regulated to avoid poor health.

The researchers studied humans and animals to see how sugar is worse than salt for blood pressure, hypertension, and heart disease.

DiNicolantonio and Lucan wrote, “Added sugars probably matter more than dietary sodium for hypertension, and fructose in particular may uniquely increase cardiovascular risk by inciting metabolic dysfunction and increasing blood pressure variability, myocardial oxygen demand, heart rate, and inflammation.”
The most recent version of the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology lifestyle guidelines suggested no more than 2,400 mg of sodium a day to benefit blood pressure.

Though the authors agree salt intake from processed foods should be reduced, they also propose “that the benefits of such recommendations might have less to do with sodium – minimally related to blood pressure and perhaps even inversely related to cardiovascular risk – and more to do with highly-refined carbohydrates.”

After feeding sucrose to rats, the results showed that it stimulated the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). This led to increased heart rate, renin secretion, renal sodium retention, and vascular resistance. All of these effects raised blood pressure.

The authors suggest “reducing consumption of added sugars by limiting processed foods containing them.” feels like this is especially bad news for soda consumers — and sugary beverage consumers in general. There are people who drink multiple cans of soda every day. And there are folks that aren’t trying to gage the amount of added sugars in their diets at all. We all need to limit processed foods — if not make an earnest attempt to eliminate them from our diets completely. That is the only way we can be confident that we can avoid the risks of excessive sugar consumption. Changing our diets can prove to improve our health and lengthen our lives!


Dunkin celebrates the holidays with the Snickerdoodle Latte

1387790365401Tis the season for all sorts of holiday beverage innovations from the world of fast food! We know — people really love these holiday flavor concoctions. But even if these treats only come around once a year, still thinks it’s important to understand exactly what’s in those holiday flavors.

Today we’re exploring the new Snickerdoodle Latte from Dunkin Donuts. We’re pretty sure everyone remembers Snickerdoodle cookies. They’re especially popular during the holidays. Pillowy soft and slightly chewy, Snickerdoodles are rolled in cinnamon sugar just to make sure they’ve reached a sinful level of sweetness. Well now you can taste that cookie right in your latte.

If that sounds too good to be true, we’re probably about to burst your bubble.

Here are the nutrition facts for a medium Snickerdoodle Latte with whole milk:

Calories:                   340
Fat:                           9 grams
Saturated Fat:         5 grams
Sugar:                      51 grams

Yes, you read that right. There are 51 grams of sugar in a medium Snickerdoodle Latte. That’s almost 13 TEASPOONS of sugar in a 16 ou. cup. We’ve featured that size because it is the most commonly ordered — so that’s what most people are consuming at Dunkin.

The ingredients reveal what’s behind those 51 grams of sugar:

Milk; Brewed Espresso Coffee; Snickerdoodle Cookie Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk (Skim Milk, Sugar), Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt; Ground Cinnamon.

So we have sugar in the condensed milk, more sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and brown sugar … in addition to some natural and artificial flavors. A bit over the top for us.

There’s sweet. Then there’s too sweet. And finally, there’s ridiculous. For us the Snickerdoodle Latte falls into that last category.

Baskin-Robbins picks up on the latest Fall trend with new Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream

mainLogoIt appears we no longer need to see the leaves falling from the trees around us to know that Fall has finally arrived. We just wait to see fast food chains and packaged food and beverage manufacturers introduce their new pumpkin-flavored anything to know that the new season is upon us. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin tea, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pudding … there’s pumpkin everywhere!

Baskin-Robbins didn’t miss out on the pumpkin trend this year, introducing Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream.

We’re slowly discovering that many of the pumpkin options being offered don’t include any actual pumpkin, containing instead natural and/or artificial flavors. So had to investigate Baskin-Robbins latest fall addition.

We found out that in fact Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream DOES, in fact, include pumpkin in its ingredient list! But don’t get too excited — there’s more news ahead, and it isn’t all good.

Let’s start with the nutrition facts for a 4 ounce serving:

Calories:                          260
Fat:                                    12 grams
Saturated Fat:                    7 grams
Sugar:                               27 grams

Baskin-Robbins refers to a single 4 ounce scoop as a large serving. We’re not in agreement with their serving size assessment. 4 ounces of ice cream is the basic single serving size detailed on most packaged ice creams — and it’s not what most people are consuming as a serving. So we need to keep that in mind. We also need to keep in mind that the 4 ounce serving detailed on the Baskin-Robbins website contains almost 7 teaspoons of sugar, most of which (as indicated by the ingredient list) is added sugar. Please don’t misunderstand, we know it’s ice cream, but this one does appear to be somewhat over-sweetened. In addition, the ingredient list is really unpleasant, at best. Take a look:

Cream, Nonfat Milk, Cinnamon Cream Cheese Flavored Ribbon [Sugar, Cream Cheese (Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Cheese Culture, Salt, Carob Bean or Xanthan or Guar Gum), Invert Sugar, Water, Corn Starch, Spice, Caramel Color, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Natural Flavors, Annatto (Color)], Pumpkin Pie Base [Solid Pack Pumpkin, Brown Sugar (Sugar, Cane Molasses Syrup), Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Spices, Orange Juice Concentrate, Propylene Glycol, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Citric Acid, Yellow 6], Sugar, Ginger Snaps [Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Molasses, Soybean Oil, Leavening (Baking Soda, Calcium Phosphate), Ginger, Salt, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Sulphur Dioxide], Corn Syrup, Cheesecake Base [Corn Syrup, Water, Cheese Blend (Nonfat Milk, Cellulose Gum, Lactic Acid, Cultures), Buttermilk, Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)], Whey Powder, Stabilizer/Emulsifier Blend (Cellulose Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80), Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 1.

Well over 50 ingredients. Artificial color. Natural Flavor. Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80. High Fructose Corn Syrup. And that’s just a handful of the controversial ingredients featured in this ice cream. There are so many sugar additions in this list — Sugar, Brown Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Molasses — even someone with a sweet tooth might think this is overkill. Even Ben & Jerry’s Cheesecake Brownie ice cream contains less sugar per serving — and honestly, those sugar additions are actual sugar unlike what we’re finding in this new Baskin-Robbins flavor.

It occurs to us that if we’re craving pumpkin flavor, it makes sense to cook with this beautiful fall vegetable. We can find organic pumpkin puree and prepare an actual cheese cake — one that doesn’t include the ingredients featured here. O.k. – it’s won’t be ice cream. But the weather’s cooling down anyway.

So Baskin-Robbins, while you did manage to include pumpkin in this new pumpkin-flavored offering, we’ll definitely be skipping the Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream. There are better treats out there to satisfy our fall food cravings!

Proposed Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Under Federal Consideration

Three Soda BottlesWe followed the fate of the proposed Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Ban in New York City and watched as it was defeated. Former Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to curtail the sweet tooth of millions of New Yorkers was met with everything from applause to extreme criticism. A pizzeria in Manhattan actually refused to serve the former mayor a second slice of pizza, telling him that if he wanted to force New Yorkers to count their calories and reduce their sugar intake, the pizzeria could also control his. While that made for some memorable headlines, there are many who still believe that the Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Ban (which applied only to drinks over 16 ounces) was a healthy move for New Yorkers. In that spirit, the federal government is moving towards its own version of health-oriented legislation.

For the first time since 2009, legislation proposing a national tax on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages is under consideration in the House of Representatives. U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act — or SWEET Act — last week.

The bill would levy an excise tax on sugar content in beverages. Under the SWEET Act, manufacturers would pay a tax of one cent per teaspoon of sugar or other sweetener added to most beverages. For point of reference, a 20-ounce soda contains 16 teaspoons of sugar. The tax works out to just under a penny-per-ounce of beverage. Drinks such as milk, infant formula, alcoholic beverages and many juices are excluded.

But because the tax is based on amount of sugar and not on ounces of beverage, the federal approach is “a built-in incentive for manufacturers to diminish the concentration of sugar,” says Dr. Lynn Silver with Oakland’s Public Health Institute. Silver and other PHI staff gave input to DeLauro’s staff in formulating the bill and also has been part of the Berkeley coalition that helped draft the measure there.

She said the national approach is different from local efforts, because a graduated tax is “more complicated” to implement at the local level. “It makes more sense at the federal level which has the resources to track down all the beverages and figure out how much they should be taxed,” Silver said. “But for smaller communities, that would be challenging.”
One of the first questions that reasonably pops into people’s minds when they hear about such a bill is what is the possibility of it passing? Silver countered that question with a question: “How many times did health care reform get introduced? Lots. Almost a hundred years before it actually passed — and it passed in pieces, with Medicare and Medicaid each being created separately.”

Silver said she expected “many attempts and incremental efforts to really make change.”

Mexico passed a similar soda tax to the one proposed — a peso per ounce, or about 10 percent — which took effect in January. The Wall Street Journal reported in late February that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages promptly dropped 5 to 7 percent. At the same time, consumption of diet sodas and bottled water are up.

“I think the first lesson of the Mexican soda tax,” said Silver, “is that it’s working as expected.” People are cutting back on sugary beverages and increasing consumption of more healthy alternatives.

If the SWEET Act passes, the money would go to the Prevention and Public Health Fund created under the Affordable Care Act. In addition to any public health programs the money might fund, a tax is estimated to have modest effects on health, because of reduced consumption of sugar.

A U.C. San Francisco study found that a national penny-per-ounce tax would reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption by 15 percent. Researchers said that reduction would lead to modest weight loss and reductions in diabetes. Over 10 years, researchers estimated there would be 26,000 fewer premature deaths, 95,000 fewer instances of heart disease and 8,000 fewer strokes.

The American Beverage Association opposes the tax. A statement on its website is titled, “Taxes Do Not Make People Healthy.” can agree with that general statement. But we’d follow it up with “Taxes can motivate people to consume healthier beverages.”

We all know that as soon as manufacturers are being charged for sugar by the teaspoon in their sodas, iced teas, and some of their juice drinks, they will immediately pass those costs off to their consumers with higher prices. We feel pretty comfortable making the assumption that once prices go up, consumption will go down. Seems like a pretty good reason for those same manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar in their beverages.

Up to 15% of coconut water brands may contain more sugar than their labels reveal

coconutWe love transparency in food labeling. believes that every consumer has the right to know exactly what’s in the foods and beverages we’re purchasing. It’s necessary for so many reasons — from food allergies, to ingredient concerns, to the health requirements many consumers must adhere to under doctors’ advice.

Often there are products introduced that we all feel good about — products with known health benefits that become trends almost instantly. Unfortunately, some mainstream manufacturers begin production and adulterate those healthy products, offering additional ingredients that consumers aren’t expecting. Almond milk is a great example of this. An otherwise healthy trend, many brands of almond milk feature ingredients that health conscious consumers aren’t comfortable with. It appears that the same may be true for coconut water.

iTi Tropicals, an importer of 100% pure coconut water in bulk, is alleging that as much as 15% of the imported coconut water contains added sugars that are not being declared on the product labels.

Lawrenceville, NJ-based iTi engaged an independent laboratory, Krueger Food Laboratories, to determine if commercially available coconut waters are properly labeled. “iTi is concerned that the continued sale of coconut waters with undeclared added sugars and other ingredients threatens to jeopardize consumer confidence in the category,” according to a statement from the company. “iTi, therefore, feels it is incumbent on the industry to take proactive steps to put an end to this misleading practice. By releasing the summary of the results of these analyses, iTi hopes that retailers and brand-holders will strive to ensure the ingredients added to coconut water are properly labeled.”

iTi released its survey of market data revealing that coconut water products with added sweeteners represent about 75% of the coconut water market.
“Consumers may not realize there are essentially two categories of coconut water products: (1) those with no added sugars and (2) those with added sugars. It may be challenging for consumers to identify all products with added sugars because testing by a reputable laboratory revealed that some of the sweetened coconut water products, which represent about 15% of the market, fail to declare added sugars,” the iTi statement said.

The market leaders in the unsweetened category represent 25% of all volume sold, according IRI data, and include brands such as Coco Libre, Naked, Purity Organics, Zico, and Zola, which supply 100% pure coconut waters without added sugars declared on the label or found in the products, according to iTi.

“Consumers of these products are demonstrating an interest in the pure coconut water taste and the lower levels of total sugars they provide. As consumers continue to look for products without added sugars, we believe the unsweetened coconut water is poised for rapid growth. For that growth to occur, companies will need to properly label added sugars to allow consumers to distinguish the sweetened and the unsweetened varieties of coconut water. Unfortunately, our testing of coconut water beverages in the market has revealed that numerous brands that are not properly labeling their products with added sugars,” the iTi statement said.

The added sugar category represents 75% of all volume sold and includes brands such as Vita Coco and Goya who combined represent 60% of all volume sold in the United States. These products declare the added sugars and generally contain more sugars than the 100% pure coconut water. For example, according to the product label of the market leader Vita Coco, it contains “less than 1% natural fruit sugar.” While one percent may sound like a small number, it can represent approximately 25% of the total sugars in the product.

In addition, iTi identified 12 canned and bottled brands packed in Thailand that contain undeclared added sugars. These inexpensive added sugars sweeten the products and help mask the taste of the naturally occurring minerals in pure coconut water and in some cases are even used to replace coconut water sugars. The practice offers unfair economic advantages to the perpetrators; it also hurts iTi (which markets only 100% pure coconut water in bulk, as an ingredient, with no added sugars) and it also harms companies that properly label their products. This latter group represents approximately 15% of the total market and brings the total sweetened category to 75%, according to iTi.

This particular story goes beyond the adulteration of almond milk with ingredients like carrageenan, because that carrageenan is identifiable on labels. It’s disturbing to understand that there are brands of coconut water avoiding the declaration of added sugar on their labels. This flies in the face of regulations, misleads consumers and adds to the already existing problem of sugar consumption. The last thing health conscious consumers need or want is to unknowingly purchase products that introduce more sugar into their diets. This study offers valuable insight on what can be going on behind a nutrition label that manufacturers don’t want to reveal.

Food Fight! Sugar lobbyists and public health advocates at odds over added sugar transparency on food labels

iStock_000001563163SmallFor many of us of a certain generation, the words “Food Fight” will always invoke the memory of John Belushi’s Bluto screaming the phrase in the middle of the cafeteria featured in the classic movie, Animal House. If only the world could always be that simple and funny. This post, however, details a real-life, real-time food fight that has erupted between powerful Big Sugar lobbyists and public health advocates on the heels of the Food And Drug Administration’s proposed changes to nutrition labels that include listing the amount of added sugar in food products.

Here at, we think everyone would like to know how much sugar the food industry is actually adding to the products we purchase. We’re sure that even the most uneducated food consumer would choose transparency when it comes to this serious and well-publicized issue.

Scientific studies increasingly are finding links between sugar consumption and chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. With public health at stake, advocates say, consumers need to be informed of what is being introduced into their food.

“Food producers and others that represent sugar interests are robbing us of this information that we should have access to, they’re robbing us of our health,” said Gretchen Goldman, an analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “People have a right to know how much sugar is in their foods.”
The inclusion of added sugars appears to be a jab from the FDA at food manufacturers, whether the agency intended for it to be or not. Other measurements on nutrition labels—calories, fat, sodium—are passive: They simply state how much is in the food. But the added sugars measurement is active: It implies that the company the consumer is purchasing from has included something that could be dangerous in high doses over the long term.

Food business groups argue that a gram of sugar, natural or added, is a gram of sugar—so why distinguish it?

“There is no chemical difference between naturally occurring sugars or added sugars, and…there is no scientific evidence that added sugars are linked to obesity or other chronic diseases,” said Lee Sanders, a spokeswoman for the American Bakers Association.

But foods containing added sugar are among the most unhealthy, supporters of the FDA proposal say, and more information is a good way for consumers to be more conscious of that.

“The food industry response has said that the body doesn’t distinguish between added and natural sugar, and that’s true…but we do no harm by limiting added sugar, and we know it’s a good way to limit calorie intake. It seems to be a logical step to include added sugars on the label,” said Rachel Johnson, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont.

The American Heart Association, which supports the label change, came out with a scientific statement in 2009 that recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day for women, and nine teaspoons a day for men, citing the body of evidence that connects high intake of sugar to health problems.

Big Sugar, advocates say, is employing strategies reminiscent of Big Tobacco in its heyday.

“[They’re] different players, but it’s the same game,” Goldman said. “We’re seeing the exact same tactics that Big Tobacco was using. They’re trying to manufacture doubt in the science, they’re trying to pay their own experts to carry their talking points, and they’re doing these things with the intent to undermine public policy.”

Industry also has other objections to the proposed change to nutrition labels: Sanders, from the bakers’ lobbying group, said it would be “difficult, if not impossible, to calculate added sugar.” The FDA acknowledges the costs of the rule change for businesses, estimating that the one-time expenditure would be $2.3 billion for labeling, reformulation of products, and record keeping.

And there are more individualized concerns. The International Dairy Foods Association, for example, is concerned that the definition of added sugar includes natural sugars isolated from a whole food and concentrated so that sugar is the primary component—fruit juice concentrate, for example. That would affect the added sugar count for dairy products such as whey, nonfat dry milk, or milk protein concentrate.

The proposed FDA change appears to have left the biggest of the industry lobbying groups unenthusiastic about communicating with the media. A Sugar Association spokeswoman, Tonya Allen, declined to speak by phone on the issue, pointing only to a weeks-old statement put out by the organization. The Corn Refiners Association did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Stakeholders and business groups have until August 1 to comment on the proposed change. The FDA then will review the comments and consider them in edits to the proposed label, followed by the enactment of a final label. Industry will then, under the proposed rules, have a two-year transitional period over which to comply with the new requirements.

Over the next two weeks, as the FDA comments period draws to a close, industry groups are expected to turn up the heat on the proposal.

“The food industry knows that when they add it to food, you buy more. They don’t add it for any other reason,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, a University of California-San Francisco professor who has campaigned against sugar consumption. “You [currently] can’t tell how much sugar has been added, and the food industry wants it that way.”

Read that last quote carefully. We can’t tell how much sugar has been added to our food. We’re being told to keep sugar consumption to between 6 and 9 teaspoons per day (depending on our gender). It appears we don’t know how much sugar we’re consuming and lobbyists are trying to keep it that way. And it certainly doesn’t appear that the “sugar is sugar” argument being made by the sugar lobby has much to do with the problem. The problem originates with the question, “how sweet is sweet enough?” The food industry wants to continue to answer that question without transparency or input. We’re hopeful that the FDA will begin making these major changes next month.

Yogurt has more sugar than a Twinkie???

Yogurt has more sugar than a TwinkieIt’s actually not a question. In plenty of cases, it’s very true. What could very well be your favorite healthy breakfast or snack may be much less healthy than you think it is. In fact, many of the mainstream brands contain more sugar than the classic junk food you’d probably never think about eating.

The American Heart Association recommends that men eat no more than 36 grams of sugar per day, and women no more than 20. One Twinkie makes a big dent in that recommended daily max, packing 19 grams of the sweet stuff. Many of the top-selling yogurts have even more.

Part of this high sugar count is due to sugar that occurs naturally in yogurt, but the amount of natural sugar varies dramatically, depending on the kind. Lowfat yogurt, for example, is notorious for being high in sugar, Monica Reinagel, M.S., LDN, CNS reported. The first 17 grams of sugar per serving, in lowfat varieties, is naturally occurring lactose. In original yogurt, it’s common to see anywhere between 12 and 15 grams of natural sugar, according to Heather Bauer, R.D., CDN. That’s why Bauer recommends going Greek. Greek yogurt, she said, has as little as 6 grams in plain flavors.

What really ups the sugar, though, is what we put into that plain yogurt. Fruit, especially the syrupy kind mixed into store-bought yogurts, is a common culprit. Plus, once you start throwing in candied nuts or sweetened granola, you’ve can quickly find yourself well beyond the sugar content of an entire Twinkie. “If you’re going to add toppings, always stick to a plain flavor,” Bauer says.

But many would-be yogurt eaters will tell you they just don’t care for the bitter taste of a plain scoop. To make it more palatable, nearly all big brands, like Yoplait and Dannon, offer a large selection of fruit- and sometimes even dessert-flavored options.

Yoplait Original Strawberry Banana Low Fat Yogurt contains 26 grams of sugar. If you like Stonyfield Farms Organic Low Fat Blueberry Yogurt, you’ll be consuming 30 grams of sugar in one eight-ounce serving.

O.k., knows that yogurt isn’t a Twinkie. And we know that plenty of yogurt ingredient lists have been improving over time. We can’t possibly say the same thing about Twinkies. At the same time, we also know that added sugars in our diets are a major contributor to the obesity crisis, the sharp rise in diabetes and heart disease. So sometimes even the foods we perceive as healthy require further investigation before we consider including them in our diets. We would like to mention that not every yogurt is sweeter than a Twinkie. We just need to remain committed to reading nutrition labels for every single product we purchase.

How tough would it be to eat just 6 teaspoons of sugar every day?

sugar.jpgIt sounds like a simple enough challenge, doesn’t it?  You might be thinking that you don’t add sugar to your foods or that you don’t use much sugar in your coffee.  But wants you to think really carefully about that question, because it certainly isn’t as simple as it might appear.

In a new guideline on sugar consumption, the World Health Organization reiterates its 2002 recommendation that no more than 10% of daily calories come in the form of sugar. But this time around, the WHO adds that people would get additional benefits if they can keep their sugar consumption below 5% of daily calories.

That’s likely to be a tall order. For an adult with a normal body mass index, 5% of daily calories works out to about 25 grams of sugar, or six teaspoons, the WHO says.

In an announcement on its website, the WHO says it is offering new guidance on sugar consumption in response to research documenting its deleterious effects: “There is increasing concern that consumption of free sugars, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, may result in both reduced intake of foods containing more nutritionally adequate calories and an increase in total caloric intake, leading to an unhealthy diet, weight gain and increased risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).”
Worries about cavities and other dental problems played a role too, WHO says: “Dental diseases are the most prevalent NCDs globally and … continue to cause pain, anxiety, functional limitation and social handicap through tooth loss, for large numbers of people worldwide.”

A study published last month in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that a whopping 71.4% of American adults get more than 10% of their calories from sugar. Even worse, the study linked higher levels of sugar consumption with an increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.

Added sugars go by many names when they are listed on nutrition labels of processed foods. Some of their aliases include high fructose corn syrup, anhydrous dextrose, maltose, evaporated cane juice and fruit juice concentrates.

So let’s take a look at three meals on a busy day for a U.S. consumer who is not eating food prepared at home and is somewhat careful about the foods he or she is choosing. Perhaps there was a bowl of Quaker Instant Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal for breakfast before running to work, then lunch at Panera Bread with a co-worker for the Low-Fat Garden Vegetable Soup with Pesto and a soft roll, then two slices of a Kashi Margherita Pizza for a quick dinner before the gym. We won’t even count snacks and beverages. At the end of the day, those three meals cost that consumer 7 and a half teaspoons of sugar. Add a few snacks and drinks into the mix and we’re more than one and a half teaspoons over the World Health Organization recommendation.

The scenario we just detailed is for someone making “better” choices. We can only imagine the teaspoon count for someone who isn’t. It’s eye-opening to realize that a small chocolate shake at McDonald’s contains 15 teaspoons of sugar … or that drinking two cans of regular coke adds 19 teaspoons of sugar to your daily intake.

It’s time for everyone in America to start taking added sugar seriously and counting up those grams on a daily basis. How much sugar are you really eating every day?,0,4431783.story#ixzz2vcANtHIZ