Many Canadians are surprised to hear that sugar by any other name is nutritionally the same. The different names for sugars do not affect what they really are, which is simple carbohydrates that taste sweet and provide quickly absorbed energy at 4 calories per gram. For example on an ingredient label, sugar, honey, maple syrup and evaporated cane juice could all be listed separately, but the human body treats them all the same – as sugar.
FOOD LABEL TRANSLATION:
It’s important to look at the Nutrition Facts table to check how much sugar is in a serving of a food. On food labels, sugar is shown in grams, but most people think of sugar in teaspoons. The conversion is easy: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. Health Canada plans to set 100g of sugar/day as the recommended Daily Value (100% DV). When you do the math, 100 g of sugar is equivalent to 25 teaspoons of sugar per day from all sources. You’ll be able to use the % Daily Value to estimate if there is a little (5% DV) or a lot (15% DV) of sugar in a serving of food.
NATURALLY OCCURRING AND ADDED SUGARS
Did you know that both added and naturally occurring sugars are broken down in a similar way? Once sugar is digested, the body really can’t tell the difference! But there is a difference between where sugar is found in the foods we eat and what other nutrients come along with the sugar. For example, sugars are found naturally in all fruit, dairy, and wholegrain breads and cereals, which are all foods that are important for our health. Sugars that come from these foods provide many other nutrients too and are healthier choices than foods that only contribute sugar calories. Sugars that are added to foods during preparation contribute only calories and sweet taste.
It’s a good start to cut down on sugary foods but it’s still okay to leave some sweet foods in to keep it real. Make your sugar calories count by choosing foods that give you a chock full of other nutrients not just sugar.
CALL TO ACTION:
Help shape the future of nutrition labelling. Before January 13, 2017, let your voice be heard by participating in an important Health Canada consultation on front of package labelling, which includes sugars. There are 2 ways to participate online at http://bit.ly/2f1Weow
- Complete the consumer questionnaire, which has background information and 8 questions.
- Review the consultation document and complete the technical questionnaire, which has 15 questions.
Have questions? We can help. Let’s chat about how Health Canada’s proposed front of package labelling may affect your business. Contact us at: Lucia@WeilerNutrition.com