Added Sugars

Sugars in your diet can be naturally occurring or added. Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). Added sugars are sugars and syrups put in foods during preparation or processing, or added at the table.

Foods Containing Added Sugars

The major sources of added sugars are regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks (fruitades and fruit punch); dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles).

Too Much Sugar Isn’t So Sweet for Your Health

Many people consume more sugar than they realize. It’s important to be aware of how much sugar you consume because our bodies don’t need sugar to function properly. Added sugars contribute zero nutrients but many added calories that can lead to extra pounds or even obesity, thereby reducing heart health.

If you think of your daily calorie needs as a budget, you want to “spend” most of your calories on “essentials” to meet your nutrient needs. Use only left over, discretionary calories for “extras” that provide little or no nutritional benefit, such as sugar.

The Hidden Ingredient with Many Different Names

To figure out if a packaged food contains added sugars, and how much, you have to be a bit of a detective. On the Nutrition Facts panel, the line for sugars contains both the natural and added types as total grams of sugar.

There are four calories in one gram, so if a product has 15 grams of sugar per serving, that’s 60 calories just from the sugar alone, not counting the other ingredients.

To tell if a processed food contains added sugars, you need to look at the list of ingredients. Sugar has many other names. Besides those ending in “ose,” such as maltose or sucrose, other names for sugar include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates. Learn more about reading food labels.

See large image . . . . .

Limit your consumption of foods with high amounts of added sugars, such as sugar-sweetened beverages. Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda contains eight teaspoons of sugar, or 130 calories and zero nutrition.

How much is just right?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons. The AHA recommendations focus on all added sugars, without singling out any particular types such as high-fructose corn syrup.

Source: American Heart Association

Two-thirds of Packaged Foods and Drinks in Canada have Added Sugars

An analysis of over 40,000 commonly available packaged foods and beverages in Canada has found that 66 per cent of these products – including some infant formulas and baby food products and many so-called ‘healthier’ foods such as yogurt, juice, breakfast cereals, and snack bars – have at least one added sugar in their ingredients list, according to new research from Public Health Ontario (PHO) and the University of Waterloo.

Published in CMAJ Open, the research examined the ingredients of 40,829 packaged foods and beverages sold at national supermarket chains of a major Canadian grocery retailer. The researchers searched for 30 different added sugar terms – everything from ‘sugar’ to dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose and fruit juice concentrate. Excluded from the analysis were fresh fruits or vegetables, fresh meat, raw ingredients (water, baking ingredients, coffee, tea, fats and oils, etc.) and non-food items (such as natural health products or nutrition and protein supplements).

“People may be surprised to learn how many packaged foods and beverages have sugars added to them, especially foods that most would consider ‘healthier,’” says Dr. Erin Hobin, a scientist in PHO’s health promotion, chronic disease and injury prevention division and an author on the paper. “Added sugars were highest in the expected food products such as candy, sweet bakery products and soda pop. But we also found that the majority of products frequently marketed as ‘healthy’ options, like granola bars or yogurt, also listed added sugars in their ingredients. In addition, almost half of all infant formulas and baby food we studied listed added sugars as part of their ingredients.”

In this study, ‘added sugars’ are defined as all sugars added to foods by the manufacturer plus the sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. These naturally-occurring sugars are considered ‘added sugars’ in this study because fibre slows down the absorption of sugar, and the fibre is removed during processing (e.g., fruit juices) or is never present in these types of foods (e.g., honey). Added sugars are particularly concerning as they tend to be consumed in much larger quantities than naturally-occurring sugars found in foods such as bananas or a glass of milk. Added sugars can also be added to foods and beverages that normally contain little, if any, sugars, say the researchers.

Eating and drinking excess amounts of sugars are associated with a variety of health problems. However, there is limited research detailing the amount of added sugars in Canada’s food supply. This study provides a baseline snapshot of the added sugars in packaged products commonly found in grocery stores.

A number of health organizations including the World Health Organization, United States Dietary Guidelines Committee, the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada have all recently recommended limiting intakes of added sugars to a maximum of five to 10 per cent of daily calories consumed.

“The number of products that contained added sugars was surprisingly high, particularly for beverages and baby foods,” says Dr. David Hammond, of the University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health and Health Systems and senior author on the research paper. “At the moment, it is very difficult for consumers to identify the presence of added sugars using nutrition labels and impossible to identify amounts of added sugars in packaged foods. Health Canada recently proposed changes to nutrition labelling, which may include ‘traffic lights’ for high sugar labels on the front of packs, to help consumers to identify and avoid foods high in added sugars.”

Fast facts:

  • 66 per cent of packaged food products analyzed contained at least one added sugar in their ingredients list
  • Snacks and Sweets: 12,534 products examined, 86 per cent listed at least one added sugar;
  • Beverages: 3,161 beverages examined, 78.7 per cent listed added sugars;
  • Yogurt: 1,003 products examined, 73.8 per cent listed added sugars;
  • Infant formula and baby food products: 530 products examined, 47.7 per cent listed added sugars.

Canadian, U.S. and international groups recommend limiting intake of added sugars to a maximum of five to 10 per cent of calories consumed.

Source: Public Health Ontario

Thai-style Dried Curry with Pork Belly


1/2 lb skin-on pork belly
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce
1-1/2 tsp pickled green peppercorns, lightly crushed
3/4 tsp grated palm sugar
5 fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves, roughly torn
6 fresh green Thai chilies, stemmed and halved
1 3-inch-piece galangal, peeled and grated
1/2 lb long beans or regular green beans, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
1 cup packed basil leaves

Red Curry Paste

12 dried red Thai chilies, stemmed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup small dried shrimp, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro root or stems
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
6 small Asian shallots or 2 medium regular shallots, roughly chopped
6 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 4-inch-piece galangal, peeled and thinly sliced


  1. To make the paste, place chilies in a bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Let sit until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain chilies, reserving 5 tbsp liquid.
  2. Place chilies in a small food processor with dried shrimp, cilantro root, salt, garlic, shallots, lemongrass and galangal; pulse until roughly chopped. Add reserved liquid; purée until smooth. Set 1/2 cup aside; refrigerate remaining paste for future use up to 2 weeks.
  3. Bring pork and 6 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt saucepan over high heat. Cook until pork is tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer pork to an ice bath. Drain, dry completely, and discard skin.
  4. Cut pork into 1-inch pieces about 1/2-inch thick and set aside.
  5. Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add pork. Cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides and fat is rendered, about 12 minutes.
  6. Add garlic and cook until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Mix in the 1/2 cup curry paste. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Add fish sauce, peppercorns, palm sugar, lime leaves, chilies, galangal, and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil. Add beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes.
  9. Remove wok from heat. Stir in basil. Serve with cooked jasmine rice on the side.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Thai Food

In Pictures: Foods of the Vineet Bhatia Restaurant in London, UK

Gourmet Indian Cuisine

The Restaurant

Weekend-only Workouts Still Give an Important Health Boost

“Weekend warriors, take a victory lap. People who pack their workouts into one or two sessions a week lower their risk of dying over roughly the next decade nearly as much as people who exercise more often,” the Mail Online reports.

New research looked at data from almost 64,000 participants collected as part of health surveys for England and Scotland from 1994 to 2012.

Researchers were particularly interested in what have been termed “weekend warriors”: adults who only exercise at the weekend.

They placed participants into four groups based on how much and how often they exercised: inactive, insufficiently active, weekend warriors, and regularly active.

Compared with people who did no physical activity, all active groups – including insufficient activity, regular activity and weekend patterns – saw a reduction in their risk of death from any cause or cardiovascular disease.

But weekend activity had no significant effect on reducing cancer risk, unlike the people in the regularly active groups, and surprisingly the insufficiently active group.

While this large and reliable study is unable to prove cause and effect, the results do seem to confirm the Mail’s headline: “It’s all good: Any exercise cuts risk of death, study finds”.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Leicester, Loughborough University, University College London and the University of Sydney.

Funding was provided by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care–East Midlands, Leicester Clinical Trials Unit, and the NIHR Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit.

It was published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Internal Medicine on an open access basis, so you can read it free online.

This study has been widely covered by the UK media, but there were some inaccuracies with the reporting.

BBC News states weekend warriors were found to lower their risk of dying from cancer by 18% compared with the inactive group, but this finding was not statistically significant, so it could have been the result of chance.

The Daily Mirror repeats this error while making the mistake of putting it in its headline: “People who exercise just once or twice a week reduce their risk of dying from cancer by 20%, according to a new study”.

What kind of research was this?

This survey aimed to investigate associations between leisure time physical activity patterns and mortality, overall and from specific cardiovascular and cancer causes.

Themes can be identified in this type of study, but it is difficult to have a good level of certainty in the findings.

Surveys are subject to recall bias and cannot prove cause and effect, as unmeasured health and lifestyle factors may be involved in the links.

What did the research involve?

The researchers pooled data from adults aged 40 years or older collected as part of the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey. Data was collected between 1994 and 2012.

Participants met with trained interviewers and were asked about their level of physical activity using an established questionnaire.

Data was gathered on the participants’ physical activity in the four weeks before the interview, and included:

  • frequency and duration of participation in domestic physical activity
  • frequency, duration and pace of walking (slow, average, brisk or fast)
  • participation in sports and exercises (such as cycling, swimming, running) and the associated frequency, duration and perceived intensity

Based on the findings, the patterns of physical activity were defined as:

  • inactive – not reporting any moderate- or vigorous-intensity physical activities
  • insufficiently active – less than 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity and less than 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity
  • weekend warrior – at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity or at least 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity from one or two sessions
  • regularly active – at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity or at least 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity from three or more sessions

In addition to questions on physical activity, the interviewers gathered information on illness, occupation and ethnicity.

Socioeconomic status was established from participants’ occupations. The trained interviewers also measured height, weight, and body mass index (BMI).

Causes of death were obtained from death certificates.

What were the basic results?

A total of 63,591 participants were included in the study, with an average age of 58.6 years.

During the follow-up period there were 8,802 deaths from all causes, 2,780 deaths from cardiovascular disease, and 2,526 from cancer.

When compared with inactive participants in the study, the risk of death from any cause was lower for all other activity groups:

  • 34% lower for insufficiently active participants (hazard ratio [HR] 0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62 to 0.72)
  • 30% lower for weekend warriors (HR 0.70, 95% CI, 0.60 to 0.82)
  • 35% lower for regularly active participants (HR 0.65, 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.73)

Compared with inactive participants, any level of activity reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease by around 40%:

  • insufficiently active participants (HR 0.60 (95% CI, 0.52 to 0.69)
  • weekend warriors (HR 0.60 (95% CI, 0.45 to 0.82)
  • regularly active participants (HR 0.59 (95% CI, 0.48 to 0.73)

Compared with the inactive participants, the risk of death from cancer was significantly reduced for insufficiently active (HR 0.83, 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.94) and regularly active participants (HR 0.79, 95% CI, 0.66 to 0.94), but the risk was not significantly lower for weekend warriors (HR 0.82, 95% CI, 0.63 to 1.06).

When comparisons were drawn with the insufficiently active group, no benefit was seen for weekend warriors for all causes of death, death from cardiovascular disease, or death from cancer.

Those who were regularly active saw a reduction in causes of death and death from cancer.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded that, “Weekend warrior and other leisure time physical activity patterns characterised by one or two sessions per week may be sufficient to reduce all-cause, CVD [cardiovascular disease], and cancer mortality risks regardless of adherence to prevailing physical activity guidelines.”


This survey aimed to investigate patterns of physical activity in adults over the age of 40 and the potential impact on their cause of death.

The study found that, compared with those who were not physically active, all active groups saw a reduction in their risk of death from any cause and cardiovascular disease. Being active at the weekend only had no effect on cancer mortality.

However, interpretations around the optimal level of activity are difficult when you note that insufficient activity gave similar mortality reductions as the recommended regular activity.

This study has both strengths and limitations. It is a very large study and data was collected using validated tools and other reliable sources.

The main limitation, however, is it’s not able to prove that the amount of exercise taken is responsible for any reductions in risk of death.

There may be a number of unmeasured health, lifestyle and sociodemographic factors at play here.

Also, the weekend warriors only made up a small proportion of the total study population at 3.9%.

Analyses involving smaller numbers of people are less reliable, and this may have been why some of the findings were significant and others not. It’s hard to be sure that these are reliable estimates.

The study also only looked at links with cardiovascular and cancer deaths – not at diagnoses of these conditions.

The research team acknowledged a number of other limitations themselves:

  • Most of the participants were white, which may reduce the generalisability of the findings to other ethnic groups.
  • Physical activity was only assessed at the start of the study, and this may have changed during the study period.
  • Self-reported information on physical activity is subject to recall bias – though in this case participants only had to recall the past four weeks.
  • Occupational physical activity was not formally assessed, and this may have an effect on the findings.
  • Reverse causation is possible in this type of study: that is, participants with an illness that may increase mortality risk are less likely to be active.

Current physical activity guidelines for adults advise taking 150 minutes of moderate activity a week and doing strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Meeting these guidelines could reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Source: NHS Choices

Today’s Comic