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As a healthy eater you are of course trying not to eat too much refined sugar. This means that you’re carefully reading the label to make sure that any sugars have not been snuck in. But what should you be looking for?
Sugar comes in many guises. Usually sugars are labelled as part of a food’s carbohydrate content. So the label will say “carbohydrate 20g of which sugars 16g”. This shows us that sugar is a carbohydrate, but unfortunately it is the only carbohydrate containing only energy. So there are no nutrients, vitamins or indeed anything useful contained within. The less the sugar content of a food, the more complex carbohydrate it has. So a better ratio would be “carbohydrate 15g of which sugars 0.2g”. This is a similar reading to that found in chick peas and other fibre filled healthy beans and pulses.
However, sugars are not always labelled this plainly, especially in the US. If your label has a high content of fructose (fruit sugars), dextrose, maltose, molasses, corn syrup, hydrolysed starch or invert sugar then it’s the same thing.
So proceed with care and read the label!!!