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The Michelle Mina Guide – Why “sugar free” shouldn’t be trusted

So many times we see the words “no added sugar” or “unsweetened” on a food label, usually in large letters somewhere on the front of whatever item you are looking at.  It is forgivable to think that this item might be healthy.  However, this is simply a marketing item to make the product come across as healthier than it really is.  It’s also a deceiving term that result in endless confusion.

The only way to determine whether or not an item is low in sugar, is to read the nutrient label and the ingredients.  On the nutrient label, you should look for “Carbohydrates”, followed by the words “of which sugars are…” – and you will find the value of sugar against 100g of the product.  This is the best place to determine how much sugar the item contains.

According to the UK Food Standards Agency:

LOW amount of sugar: under 5g per 100g

MODERATE: 5 – 15g per 100g

HIGH: More than 15g per 100g.

You also need to be aware that sugar hiders under many names, that you should look out for on nutrient labels.  These sneaky names include honey, malt extract, grape juice, rice syrup, glucose, dextrose, fructose, lactose, maltose, and apple juice to name a few.  

Remember that 1 teaspoon of sugar is about 4g.  This way you can determine how many teaspoons of sugar in any product.

That said, sugar is not all bad, an it is a great source of energy. Call me to ensure your diet contains the right amount of sugar.

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