Where’s the Sugar?

February 07, 2022 | Jody Gatewood

As a dietitian, some people think I don’t eat candy or sweets, but I do! And on Valentine’s Day next week, I’ll enjoy the box of chocolates my husband and kids get me (and I’ll share some too!). Food and eating should be pleasurable so it’s okay to enjoy sugary foods and drinks once in a while. It’s just important to not eat or drink so many sugary foods and drinks that they take the place of healthier ones like fruits, vegetables, and water.

The Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods helps us see how much sugar is in an item. And recent changes to the label help us determine how much sugar is naturally occurring and how much is added. Naturally occurring sugars are found in many nutritious foods and drinks, such as milk (lactose) and fruit (fructose). These foods also contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Added Sugars are sugars or other sweeteners that are added to foods and drinks when they are processed or prepared. If we consume a lot of calories from added sugars, it can be difficult to meet recommended levels of other important nutrients while staying within calorie recommendations. Therefore, choose foods most often that have a % Daily Value of 5% or less for added sugar.

For more tips on determining the amount of added sugar in a product, watch our video on Added Sugar on the Food Label.

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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