By Dean L. Jones, CPM
Pursuing to purge processed sugars from my diet is daunting as the more stuff you eat away from your personal preparation the more sugar shows up. The phrase ‘awe man’ immediately came to mind when reading the Lemon Pepper condiment label where the ingredients included Salt, Black Pepper, Sugar, Garlic, Onion, Lemon Peel, Oil of Lemon, and Turmeric Extract. It was sort of heartbreaking to find all of that stuff mixed with lemon and pepper, but it fortified my mission to disclose sugar when it may be unsuspectingly hidden from view.
The American Heart Association recommends men have no more than 150 calories of sugar per day, or about 9 teaspoons, and for women no more than 100 calories per day, or 6 teaspoons of processed sugar. If you eat out or buy packaged foods, limiting yourself to these recommended amounts is a huge achievement, where stuff prepared by others will use the sweet stuff to make their thing special.
For instance, Taco Bell discloses all of their ingredients online and although not surprising, it is somewhat interesting. For starters, take the Taco Bell Avocado Ranch Dressing that lists processed sugar as the 8th out of 29 ingredients for just one condiment. Taco Bell uses bacon as a topping, but hauntingly it is cured with sugar as number the 7th and 8th out of roughly 12 ingredients, which includes the bacon.
The Taco Bell pinto beans add processed sugar as its 3rd out of 13 ingredients. Their black beans do not list sugar, instead Taco Bell adds dextrose which is close to the same thing as processed sugar. Cantina Salsa adds a little sugar to its 16 ingredients, similar to its Chalupa Shell, and Chipotle Sauce.
The Taco Bell Citrus And Herb Seasoned Chicken adds processed sugar as the 6th out of 21 or ingredients. In lieu of processed sugar, Taco Bell’s Pepper Jack Sauce uses high fructose corn syrup in the 7th ingredient out of 30. As expected, the seasoned beef adds sugar as the 16th ingredient out of 40 other added components. The shredded chicken adds a little processed sugar in the 21st spot out of 25 ingredients.
Sugar is so obvious when let’s say you are eating a Carl Jr.’s Strawberry Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich that exceeds 31 grams of processed sugar, or 8 teaspoons full of the tiny white crystals. When consuming something like this it is easy to know when you are potentially inflaming your arteries. Yet, when you order salsa, chicken, beans, or a simple condiment it really hurts to not realize you are eating all of that sugar. Consequently, always stay Sugar Alert when eating prepared foods away from home, or you may find an element of the sweet stuff lurking in food items that you would never think it would be.
Dean Jones, Ethics Advocate, Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), contributes his view on health attributes derived from foods & beverages.