Sugar Alert – Food Components to Reduce

Articles, Obesity

Dean L. Jones, C.P.M.

On average, American men, women, and children consume too much, in particular those foods and food components that contain sodium, solid fats (major sources of saturated and trans fatty acids), added sugars, and refined grains.  This statement comes directly out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.  This 112-page report primarily is intended for Americans that are 2 years and older, including those at increased risk of chronic disease; however, it is clear that healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity are essential for normal growth and development and for reducing risk of overweight and obesity that are major causes of illness and death.

Overall, this government report signed by Kathleen Sebelius Secretary of Health and Human Services and Thomas J. Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture recommends that Americans make significant positive changes in their eating habits and lifestyles.  The scientific experts’ data shows that 72% of men and 64% of women are overweight or obese, with about one-third of adults being obese, which are associ­ated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer.

The most common reason given for people getting to this stage of poor health results from over eating what the scientists call food components like added sugars.  Simply put, this report states that the typical American diet has sugars added to foods during processing, preparation, or placed into the food at the dinning table.  Moreover, food manufactures say they need to add sugar to sweeten the flavor of foods and beverages to improve their tastiness.  The food producers also say that added sugar helps preserve and give their respective product viscosity, texture, body, and browning capacity.

These formal dietary guidelines seem to sugarcoat its message addressing how foods contain added sugars and result in needless calories containing few or no essential nutrients and no dietary fiber.  Although, in the half-page added sugar section of this report it states that sugar is the cause of tooth decay.  In addition, there is a subtle message that process sugar is clearly a serious problem, comparable to how the government slowly revealed the dangers of smoking cigarettes in the 1970’s.

Major sources of added sugars in American diets are soda, energy and sports drinks (36% of added sugar intake), grain-based desserts (13%), sugar-sweetened fruit drinks (10%), dairy-based desserts (6%), and candy (6%).  Added sugars include high fructose corn syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, raw sugar, malt syrup, maple syrup, pancake syrup, fructose sweetener, liquid fructose, honey, molasses, anhydrous dextrose, and crystal dextrose.  So be sugar alert and reduce the intake of food components found in products readily available at checkout stands, parties, mini-markets, work & church functions, school fund raisers, and the like.

Mr. Jones, is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), sharing his view on mismanagement practices of packaged foods & beverages.