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Nutrition Labels and Hidden Sugars

JaneSnoweJaneSnowe Posts: 1,282Member Member Posts: 1,282Member Member
There's been some discussions in other threads about added and hidden sugars in foods so I thought we could use a thread specifically for this topic.

Here's the question: Is sugar ever actually hidden in food?

I'd love to hear viewpoints from both sides.
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Replies

  • Sabine_StroehmSabine_Stroehm Posts: 19,431Member Member Posts: 19,431Member Member
    Hidden? No. Unknown to some folks, and unknown for some foods, perhaps. My local mexican joint recently swapped lard for HFCS. Do most patrons know that the sugar content of the tortilla probably doubled or tripled? Probably not. Do they know that the glycemic load of their tortilla probably doubled? I doubt it.

    I think "hidden" is the wrong word. Added sugar. That said, I'll be curious to see MFP posts when the label thing launches. I predict some folks WILL be surprised about the added sugar content of some foods. Who know though.
  • ForecasterJasonForecasterJason Posts: 2,582Member Member Posts: 2,582Member Member
    I think about it from a logical perspective. For instance, there are some foods like ketchup that at one point I didn't think of as having added sugar, but yet it's there. I would consider it "hidden" in that sense. Whereas, it's common knowledge that a normal cookie contains added sugar.
  • JaneSnoweJaneSnowe Posts: 1,282Member Member Posts: 1,282Member Member
    Hidden? No. Unknown to some folks, and unknown for some foods, perhaps. My local mexican joint recently swapped lard for HFCS. Do most patrons know that the sugar content of the tortilla probably doubled or tripled? Probably not. Do they know that the glycemic load of their tortilla probably doubled? I doubt it.

    I think "hidden" is the wrong word. Added sugar. That said, I'll be curious to see MFP posts when the label thing launches. I predict some folks WILL be surprised about the added sugar content of some foods. Who know though.

    Good point. I was thinking more in terms of food that comes with a nutrition label. But that's interesting that they'd swap lard for HFCS.
  • zyxstzyxst Posts: 9,156Member Member Posts: 9,156Member Member
    I agree with Sabine. The sugar isn't hidden. You just have to know what to look for in the ingredients list.
  • Sabine_StroehmSabine_Stroehm Posts: 19,431Member Member Posts: 19,431Member Member
    JaneSnowe wrote: »
    Hidden? No. Unknown to some folks, and unknown for some foods, perhaps. My local mexican joint recently swapped lard for HFCS. Do most patrons know that the sugar content of the tortilla probably doubled or tripled? Probably not. Do they know that the glycemic load of their tortilla probably doubled? I doubt it.

    I think "hidden" is the wrong word. Added sugar. That said, I'll be curious to see MFP posts when the label thing launches. I predict some folks WILL be surprised about the added sugar content of some foods. Who know though.

    Good point. I was thinking more in terms of food that comes with a nutrition label. But that's interesting that they'd swap lard for HFCS.
    Yeah, I'm seeing it more and more in tortillas.

    But yeah, good point about foods with and without nutrition labels.
  • JaneSnoweJaneSnowe Posts: 1,282Member Member Posts: 1,282Member Member
    JaneSnowe wrote: »
    Hidden? No. Unknown to some folks, and unknown for some foods, perhaps. My local mexican joint recently swapped lard for HFCS. Do most patrons know that the sugar content of the tortilla probably doubled or tripled? Probably not. Do they know that the glycemic load of their tortilla probably doubled? I doubt it.

    I think "hidden" is the wrong word. Added sugar. That said, I'll be curious to see MFP posts when the label thing launches. I predict some folks WILL be surprised about the added sugar content of some foods. Who know though.

    Good point. I was thinking more in terms of food that comes with a nutrition label. But that's interesting that they'd swap lard for HFCS.
    Yeah, I'm seeing it more and more in tortillas.

    But yeah, good point about foods with and without nutrition labels.

    I definitely wouldn't expect it in freshly made tortillas at a local Mexican restaurant, having made them myself and having watched others make them. Can you notice a difference in the flavor since the switch?
  • Sabine_StroehmSabine_Stroehm Posts: 19,431Member Member Posts: 19,431Member Member
    JaneSnowe wrote: »
    JaneSnowe wrote: »
    Hidden? No. Unknown to some folks, and unknown for some foods, perhaps. My local mexican joint recently swapped lard for HFCS. Do most patrons know that the sugar content of the tortilla probably doubled or tripled? Probably not. Do they know that the glycemic load of their tortilla probably doubled? I doubt it.

    I think "hidden" is the wrong word. Added sugar. That said, I'll be curious to see MFP posts when the label thing launches. I predict some folks WILL be surprised about the added sugar content of some foods. Who know though.

    Good point. I was thinking more in terms of food that comes with a nutrition label. But that's interesting that they'd swap lard for HFCS.
    Yeah, I'm seeing it more and more in tortillas.

    But yeah, good point about foods with and without nutrition labels.

    I definitely wouldn't expect it in freshly made tortillas at a local Mexican restaurant, having made them myself and having watched others make them. Can you notice a difference in the flavor since the switch?

    I don't notice a taste difference (but haven't had the old recipe and new recipe side by side), but they definitely last longer. They sell them by the dozen. I've switched to getting them from a new place when we do buy them. One with good old fashioned lard.
    edited May 2016
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    I think about it from a logical perspective. For instance, there are some foods like ketchup that at one point I didn't think of as having added sugar, but yet it's there. I would consider it "hidden" in that sense. Whereas, it's common knowledge that a normal cookie contains added sugar.

    Ketchup is pretty sweet. That's actually why I don't care for it.

    I've yet to hear about a food that surprised me with the added sugar (even apart from reading labels, which I do carefully). There are some that have more (in at least some brands) than I would have expected, like many kinds of bread (I don't buy supermarket bread much, so might have been more aware if I did) and pasta sauce (again, something I don't buy).

    I do think lots of people don't read labels/ingredients, but that's on them, and suggests to me that they don't really care.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    The local restaurant example is where you seem most likely to consume sugar without knowing it, depending on the kind of restaurant and ingredients they use, since no nutritional information is going to be available.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,592Member Member Posts: 9,592Member Member
    I think about it from a logical perspective. For instance, there are some foods like ketchup that at one point I didn't think of as having added sugar, but yet it's there. I would consider it "hidden" in that sense. Whereas, it's common knowledge that a normal cookie contains added sugar.
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    I've yet to hear about a food that surprised me with the added sugar (even apart from reading labels, which I do carefully).
    zyxst wrote: »
    I agree with Sabine. The sugar isn't hidden. You just have to know what to look for in the ingredients list.

    I don't really like the idea of "hidden" sugars because in most cases it sounds way more sinister than I think the reality of the situation is. It's not a bunch of dastardly super villains rubbing their hands together as they pour a vat of sugar into the city's water supply. But to play devil's advocate, I had no idea there was sugar in McDonald's French fries until I saw that movie. They're a salty, supposed-to-be-crunchy snack, pretty much as far apart from sugar as I could imagine. And there's no ingredients list.
  • Sabine_StroehmSabine_Stroehm Posts: 19,431Member Member Posts: 19,431Member Member
    I think about it from a logical perspective. For instance, there are some foods like ketchup that at one point I didn't think of as having added sugar, but yet it's there. I would consider it "hidden" in that sense. Whereas, it's common knowledge that a normal cookie contains added sugar.
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    I've yet to hear about a food that surprised me with the added sugar (even apart from reading labels, which I do carefully).
    zyxst wrote: »
    I agree with Sabine. The sugar isn't hidden. You just have to know what to look for in the ingredients list.

    I don't really like the idea of "hidden" sugars because in most cases it sounds way more sinister than I think the reality of the situation is. It's not a bunch of dastardly super villains rubbing their hands together as they pour a vat of sugar into the city's water supply. But to play devil's advocate, I had no idea there was sugar in McDonald's French fries until I saw that movie. They're a salty, supposed-to-be-crunchy snack, pretty much as far apart from sugar as I could imagine. And there's no ingredients list.

    There's sugar in McDonald's french fries?

    ETA: yep! lookie there! http://www.livestrong.com/article/1002598-whats-really-inside-those-mcdonalds-french-fries/
    edited May 2016
  • JaneSnoweJaneSnowe Posts: 1,282Member Member Posts: 1,282Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    The local restaurant example is where you seem most likely to consume sugar without knowing it, depending on the kind of restaurant and ingredients they use, since no nutritional information is going to be available.

    You're probably right. When I go out to eat I don't worry about calories or ingredients because we go out so infrequently. And admittedly, it can in some cases be difficult for even an informed consumer to find accurate nutrition information about restaurant food so for the sake of simplicity I wanted to focus on foods with nutrition labels.

    I keep seeing references to the upcoming change in US nutrition labels, followed by comments about how great it will be that sugars will no longer be hidden. It seems so strange to me...if someone cares about sugar, just read the ingredients.

  • JaneSnoweJaneSnowe Posts: 1,282Member Member Posts: 1,282Member Member
    I think about it from a logical perspective. For instance, there are some foods like ketchup that at one point I didn't think of as having added sugar, but yet it's there. I would consider it "hidden" in that sense. Whereas, it's common knowledge that a normal cookie contains added sugar.
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    I've yet to hear about a food that surprised me with the added sugar (even apart from reading labels, which I do carefully).
    zyxst wrote: »
    I agree with Sabine. The sugar isn't hidden. You just have to know what to look for in the ingredients list.

    I don't really like the idea of "hidden" sugars because in most cases it sounds way more sinister than I think the reality of the situation is. It's not a bunch of dastardly super villains rubbing their hands together as they pour a vat of sugar into the city's water supply. But to play devil's advocate, I had no idea there was sugar in McDonald's French fries until I saw that movie. They're a salty, supposed-to-be-crunchy snack, pretty much as far apart from sugar as I could imagine. And there's no ingredients list.

    There's sugar in McDonald's french fries?

    ETA: yep! lookie there! http://www.livestrong.com/article/1002598-whats-really-inside-those-mcdonalds-french-fries/

    Super Size Me says so.

    EAT but now you found out for yourself :)
    edited May 2016
  • VioletRojoVioletRojo Posts: 586Member, Premium Member Posts: 586Member, Premium Member
    I don't understand how the sugar can be hidden if it's listed on the ingredient label. Either the sugar occurs naturally in the food, or it's added. If it's added, it'll be on the ingredient label.
  • Sabine_StroehmSabine_Stroehm Posts: 19,431Member Member Posts: 19,431Member Member
    JaneSnowe wrote: »
    I think about it from a logical perspective. For instance, there are some foods like ketchup that at one point I didn't think of as having added sugar, but yet it's there. I would consider it "hidden" in that sense. Whereas, it's common knowledge that a normal cookie contains added sugar.
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    I've yet to hear about a food that surprised me with the added sugar (even apart from reading labels, which I do carefully).
    zyxst wrote: »
    I agree with Sabine. The sugar isn't hidden. You just have to know what to look for in the ingredients list.

    I don't really like the idea of "hidden" sugars because in most cases it sounds way more sinister than I think the reality of the situation is. It's not a bunch of dastardly super villains rubbing their hands together as they pour a vat of sugar into the city's water supply. But to play devil's advocate, I had no idea there was sugar in McDonald's French fries until I saw that movie. They're a salty, supposed-to-be-crunchy snack, pretty much as far apart from sugar as I could imagine. And there's no ingredients list.

    There's sugar in McDonald's french fries?

    ETA: yep! lookie there! http://www.livestrong.com/article/1002598-whats-really-inside-those-mcdonalds-french-fries/

    Supersize Me says so.
    It seems they do. That's ALSO an issue without the current label breakdown: keeping track of all the names for sugar.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,592Member Member Posts: 9,592Member Member
    I think about it from a logical perspective. For instance, there are some foods like ketchup that at one point I didn't think of as having added sugar, but yet it's there. I would consider it "hidden" in that sense. Whereas, it's common knowledge that a normal cookie contains added sugar.
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    I've yet to hear about a food that surprised me with the added sugar (even apart from reading labels, which I do carefully).
    zyxst wrote: »
    I agree with Sabine. The sugar isn't hidden. You just have to know what to look for in the ingredients list.

    I don't really like the idea of "hidden" sugars because in most cases it sounds way more sinister than I think the reality of the situation is. It's not a bunch of dastardly super villains rubbing their hands together as they pour a vat of sugar into the city's water supply. But to play devil's advocate, I had no idea there was sugar in McDonald's French fries until I saw that movie. They're a salty, supposed-to-be-crunchy snack, pretty much as far apart from sugar as I could imagine. And there's no ingredients list.

    There's sugar in McDonald's french fries?

    ETA: yep! lookie there! http://www.livestrong.com/article/1002598-whats-really-inside-those-mcdonalds-french-fries/

    Apparently it's there to brown the outside of the fries when they're cooked. Kind of like how caramel is brownish. I don't know. I've never worked at a McDonald's, I can only go by what I've read. Anyway, you sound as surprised as I was.
  • Sabine_StroehmSabine_Stroehm Posts: 19,431Member Member Posts: 19,431Member Member
    JaneSnowe wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    The local restaurant example is where you seem most likely to consume sugar without knowing it, depending on the kind of restaurant and ingredients they use, since no nutritional information is going to be available.

    You're probably right. When I go out to eat I don't worry about calories or ingredients because we go out so infrequently. And admittedly, it can in some cases be difficult for even an informed consumer to find accurate nutrition information about restaurant food so for the sake of simplicity I wanted to focus on foods with nutrition labels.

    I keep seeing references to the upcoming change in US nutrition labels, followed by comments about how great it will be that sugars will no longer be hidden. It seems so strange to me...if someone cares about sugar, just read the ingredients.

    We eat out a couple of times a week. I usually try to just do protein/veg.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,592Member Member Posts: 9,592Member Member
    So people are incredulous when they hear that McDonald's fries have sugar in them. There isn't an ingredients list to check, at least not when you're placing an order. (Maybe that's changed in the years since I've been in one.) Does this count as a "hidden" sugar?
  • JaneSnoweJaneSnowe Posts: 1,282Member Member Posts: 1,282Member Member
    JaneSnowe wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    The local restaurant example is where you seem most likely to consume sugar without knowing it, depending on the kind of restaurant and ingredients they use, since no nutritional information is going to be available.

    You're probably right. When I go out to eat I don't worry about calories or ingredients because we go out so infrequently. And admittedly, it can in some cases be difficult for even an informed consumer to find accurate nutrition information about restaurant food so for the sake of simplicity I wanted to focus on foods with nutrition labels.

    I keep seeing references to the upcoming change in US nutrition labels, followed by comments about how great it will be that sugars will no longer be hidden. It seems so strange to me...if someone cares about sugar, just read the ingredients.

    We eat out a couple of times a week. I usually try to just do protein/veg.

    When we ate out more often, even a few times a week, I knew what to order at each place so as not to blow my calories and end up starving later. Now it's a rare treat for me. Sometimes I miss going out regularly. :)
  • J72FITJ72FIT Posts: 5,440Member Member Posts: 5,440Member Member
    zyxst wrote: »
    I agree with Sabine. The sugar isn't hidden. You just have to know what to look for in the ingredients list.
    +1
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