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No Added Sugar? The Truth About Sweeteners In Your Favorite Treats

Get ready to laugh out loud as we dive into the world of sugar claims! It’s time to talk about those sneaky labels that we see on food packaging. I mean, who doesn’t love a good dessert every now and then, am I right? But with all the fuss about sugar, it’s important to keep an eye on what we’re putting into our bodies. You know what they say: “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”


So, picture this: You’re at a cafe, and you see a variety of desserts with a label that says “no added sugars.” Your eyes light up, and you think to yourself, “I can indulge without the guilt!” You order a few desserts, and to your surprise, they all taste sweet. Your curiosity gets the best of you, and you ask the staff what they used to sweeten the desserts. They proudly proclaim, “No added sugar!” But after some digging, you find out that they actually added Maltitol. Maltitol? What’s that? It’s like getting tricked into a blind date with someone who looks nothing like their profile picture.


When it comes to sweeteners that can be added to products with a “no added sugars” claim, they can fall under three categories. First, we have artificial sweeteners, which are synthetic compounds that provide sweetness without adding calories. (e.g. Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose.,Erythritol).


Second, we have natural sweeteners, which are derived from natural sources and generally have a lower impact on blood sugar levels. (e.g. stevia, monk fruit).  And finally, we have sugar alcohols, which are chemically similar to sugar but metabolize differently in the body, resulting in fewer calories and a lower impact on blood sugar levels.(e.g.  Xylitol, Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol). It’s like a game of sweetener roulette!


Now, here’s where the humor comes in: A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that consuming artificial sweeteners may lead to an increase in food intake and weight gain due to their effects on the gut microbiota. It’s like these sweeteners are pulling a fast one on us, making us think we’re doing something good when really we’re just setting ourselves up for a sugar crash. And don’t get us started on sugar alcohols. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that consuming sugar alcohols led to digestive issues in healthy adults. A recent study showed that erythritol, that we often find clubbed in with stevia and monk fruit, has been linked to blood clotting, stroke, heart attack and death. Further adding that the degree of risk was not modest !!!!


It’s like those “low-fat” snacks that we used to gobble up in the 90s. We thought we were being so healthy and doing our bodies a favor by choosing the low-fat option. But in reality, those snacks were often packed with extra sugar and artificial flavors to make up for the lack of fat. It’s like we were tricked into thinking we were making a smart choice, but really we were just consuming a whole bunch of junk in disguise.


In the end, it’s important to read the ingredient label carefully and not get deceived by marketing claims. We may not be able to trust those labels, but we can trust ourselves to make informed decisions about what we put into our bodies. So, go ahead and treat yourself, but just remember to keep an eye on those sneaky sugars. Your health and well-being depend on it!


Definition and History of the “No Added Sugars” claim

The technical definition of “no added sugars” is a labeling claim that the food product does not contain any added sugars or sweeteners, including honey, syrups, and concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.


The “no added sugars” labeling claim was added by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 1, 2020 where the updated label includes a separate line for “added sugars” under the “total sugars” section to help consumers understand how much sugar in a food or beverage is naturally occurring and how much is added during processing or preparation.

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