Test Your Label IQ. Your Key to Understanding Sugars

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1 Test Your Label IQ Your Key to Understanding Sugars The Sugar Association, Inc L Street NW, Suite 1001 Washington, DC (202)

2 This fun quiz will help you learn about Sugars on the Food and Drug Administration s (NF) label. Use the labels on pages 3-4 to help you, or try it on your own The panel shows how much sugar has been added to a food product. Which of these contain sugars? (See labels 1-3) a) Milk b) Canned green beans c) Fresh peaches d) All of the above e) None of the above A Tablespoon (1Tbsp = 3 tsp) of sugar has fewer calories than an equal amount of margarine. (See labels 4-5) A food labeled less sugar always has fewer calories than a similar full sugar-sweetened food. (See labels 13 and 14) Pre-sweetened cereals and their unsweetened counterparts are similar in calories per-serving. (See labels 15 and 16) Which sweeteners are natural? (circle all that apply) a) Honey b) Table sugar c) Brown sugar d) Granulated Cane Juice e) Turbinado sugar Sugar has no: (circle all that apply) (See label 5) a) fat b) carbohydrates c) sodium d) protein A level teaspoon of sugar has calories. (See label 5) a) 45 b) 15 c) 100 d) 10 Which sweetening ingredient contains the most nutrients? (See labels 5-9) a) Honey b) Table sugar c) Brown sugar d) Granulated Cane Juice e) Turbinado sugar Note: Pay attention to the serving size when comparing labels 10 Here are two ingredient statements for graham crackers. Circle the ingredients that are used as sweeteners. a) Graham Crackers Ingredients: Enriched Wheat Flour, Graham Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Shortening, Molasses, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Leavening (Baking Soda, Calcium Phosphate), Salt b) Graham Crackers Ingredients: Unbleached Wheat Flour, Crystalline Fructose, Soybean Oil, Concentrated Grape Juice, Whole Wheat Flour, Vanilla Extract, Baking Soda, Salt. 11 A food labeled sugar free may contain corn syrup or other carbohydrate sweeteners. 12 Canned fruit cocktail in fruit juice syrup contains less calories and is healthier than fruit cocktail made with sugar. (See labels 17 and 18) Check your answers on page 5. 2 The Sugar Association

3 Labels All NF labels are taken directly from name brand products. Comparison labels are from the same brand. 1. Milk (2% Fat) 2. Green Beans 3. Fresh Peaches 4. Margarine Serving Size 1 Cup (236ml) Calories 130 Calories from fat 45 Total Fat 5g 8% Saturated Fat 3g 15% Cholesterol 20mg 7% Sodium 135mg 6% Total Carbohydrate 13g 4% Dietary Fiber 0g 0% Sugars 12g Protein 8g Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C 2% Calcium 30% Iron 0% Serving Size 1/2 Cup (120g) Calories 20 Calories from Fat 0 Sodium 400mg 17% Total Carbohydrate 4g 1% Dietary Fiber 1g 3% Sugars 2g Protein less than 1g Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 4% Calcium 2% Iron 4% Serving Size 1 medium (98g) Calories 40 Calories from Fat 0 Total Carbohydrate 10g 3% Dietary Fiber 2g 8% Sugars 9g Protein 1g Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 10% Calcium 0% Iron 0% Serving Size 1 Tbsp (14g) Calories 80 Calories from Fat 80 Total Fat 9g 14% Saturated Fat 1.5g 8% Sodium 110mg 5% Total Carbohydrate 0g 0% Dietary Fiber 0g 0% Sugars 0g Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C * Calcium * Iron * INGREDIENTS: Green Beans, Water, Salt. *Not a significant source of these nutrients 5. Granulated Sugar 6. Honey 7. Brown Sugar 8. Turbinado Sugar Serving Size 1 tsp (4g) Calories 15 Total Carbohydrate 4g 1% Sugars 4g Serving Size 1Tbsp (21g) Calories 60 Total Carbohydrate 17g 6% Sugars 16g Serving Size 1 tsp (4g) Calories 15 Total Carbohydrate 4g 1% Sugars 4g Serving Size 1 tsp (4g) Calories 15 Total Carbohydrate 4g 1% Sugars 4g 9. Granulated Cane Juice 10. Strawberry Preserves Serving Size 1 packet (3.5g) Calories 15 Total Carbohydrate 3g 1% Sugars 3g Serving Size 1 Tbsp (20g) Calories 50 Calories from Fat 0 Sodium 10mg 0% Total Carbohydrate 13g 4% Sugars 7g INGREDIENTS: Strawberries, Corn Syrup, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Fruit Pectin. *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. The Sugar Association 3

4 Labels continued 11. Spaghetti Sauce 12. No-Sugar-Added Spaghetti Sauce 13. Peanut Butter 14. 1/3 Less Sodium & Sugar Peanut Butter Serving Size 125g Calories 60 Calories from Fat 0 Trans Fat 0g 0% Sodium 330mg 14% Potassium 380mg 11% Total Carbohydrate 13g 4% Dietary Fiber 2g Sugars 9g Protein 2g 4% Vitamin A 15% Vitamin C 15% Calcium 2% Iron 6% Serving Size 125g Calories 60 Calories from Fat 9 Total Fat 1g 2% Trans Fat 0g 0% Sodium 320mg 13% Potassium 420mg 12% Total Carbohydrate 10g 3% Dietary Fiber 2g Sugars 6g Protein 2g 4% Vitamin A 15% Vitamin C 15% Calcium 4% Iron 6% Serving Size 2 Tbsp (32g) Calories 190 Calories from Fat 140 Total Fat 16g Saturated Fat 3.5g 18% Trans Fat 0g 0% Sodium 150mg 6% Total Carbohydrate 6g 2% Dietary Fiber 2g 8% Sugars 3g Protein 7g Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 4% Vitamin E 10% Niacin 20% Serving Size 2 Tbsp (32g) Calories 210 Calories from Fat 150 Total Fat 17g 26% Saturated Fat 4g 20% Trans Fat 0g 0% Sodium 75mg 3% Total Carbohydrate 6g 2% Dietary Fiber 2g 8% Sugars 2g Protein 7g Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 4% Vitamin E 10% Niacin 20% INGREDIENTS: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Diced Tomatoes In Puree, Onions, Sugar, Salt, Garlic Powder, Spices, Basil, Natural Flavor. INGREDIENTS: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Diced Tomatoes In Puree, Onions, Salt, Olive Oil, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Spices, Basil, Natural Flavor. INGREDIENTS: Roasted Peanuts, Sugar, Palm Oil, Salt. INGREDIENTS: Roasted Peanuts, Sugar, Palm Oil, Salt. 15. Wheat Squares 16. Frosted Wheat Squares 17. Canned Fruit Cocktail in Fruit Juice Syrup 18. Canned Fruit Cocktail in Lite Syrup Serving Size 30 Biscuits (55g) Calories 190 Calories from Fat 10 Total Fat 1g 2% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g Monounsaturated Fat 0g Sodium 0mg 0% Potassium 250mg 7% Total Carbohydrate 45g 15% Dietary Fiber 8g 30% Sugars 0g Protein 6g Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 90% Thiamin Riboflavin Niacin Vitamin B 6 Folic Acid Vitamin B 12 Phosphorus Magnesium Zinc 15% 10% INGREDIENTS: Whole grain wheat, contains 2% or less of BHT for freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Reduced iron, niacinamide, vitamin B 6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B 2 (riboflavin), vitamin B 1 (thiamin hydrochloride), folic acid, zinc oxide, vitamin B 12. CONTAINS WHEAT INGREDIENTS. Serving Size 21 Biscuits (54g) Calories 190 Calories from Fat 10 Total Fat 1g 2% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g Monounsaturated Fat 0g Sodium 0mg 0% Potassium 200mg 6% Total Carbohydrate 46g 15% Dietary Fiber 6g 23% Sugars 11g Protein 5g Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 90% Thiamin Riboflavin Niacin Vitamin B 6 Folic Acid Vitamin B 12 Phosphorus Magnesium Zinc Copper 20% 10% 10% 10% INGREDIENTS: Whole grain wheat, sugar, contains 2% or less of brown rice syrup, gelatin, BHT for freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Reduced iron, niacinamide, vitamin B 6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B 2 (riboflavin), vitamin B 1 (thiamin hydrochloride), zinc oxide, folic acid, vitamin B 12. CONTAINS WHEAT INGREDIENTS. Serving Size 1/2 Cup (124g) Calories 60 Calories from Fat 0 Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 0% Monounsaturated Fat 0g 0% Sodium 10mg 0% Potassium 120mg 4% Total Carbohydrates 15g 5% Fiber 1g 4% Sugars 14g Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 4% Calcium 0% Iron 2% INGREDIENTS: A tasty combo of fat-free peaches, pears, grapes, pineapple and cherries, packed in 100% real fruit juice from concentrate. *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Serving Size 1/2 Cup (124g) Calories 60 Calories from Fat 0 Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 0% Monounsaturated Fat 0g 0% Sodium 10mg 0% Potassium 130mg 4% Total Carbohydrates 15g 5% Fiber 1g 4% Sugars 14g Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 4% Calcium 0% Iron 2% INGREDIENTS: Peaches, Water, Pears, Grapes, Pineapple, Sugar, Cherries (Cherries, Carmine) 4 The Sugar Association

5 Quiz Answers 1 False. The (NF) panel shows total sugars those naturally present in fruit and vegetables (sucrose, glucose, fructose) and dairy products (lactose), as well as sugar/ sucrose and any sweetening ingredient added by manufacturers. See Tip True. For example, see labels 15 and 16. See Tip 10. A, B, C, D, E. All these products are natural. Remember that sugar/sucrose is found naturally in almost all fruits and vegetables D) All of the above. All fruits, vegetables and dairy products contain sugars. Note: The NF label for plain milk (label 1) shows 12 grams of sugars from the lactose in the milk. Similarly, a serving of green beans (label 2) has 2 grams of sugars even though in the ingredient statement there is no sugar/sucrose or sweeteners added. True. A tablespoon of margarine has 80 calories. A tablespoon of sugar/sucrose has 45 calories. There are 3 teaspoons of sugar/sucrose in 1 tablespoon and each teaspoon of sugar/sucrose has 15 calories. A, C, D. Sugar/sucrose is a pure carbohydrate A) Sugar, Molasses, High Fructose Corn Syrup. B) Crystalline Fructose, Concentrated Grape Juice. False. A food labeled sugar free will contain practically no sugars. To claim a product is sugar free it must not only be sugar/sucrose free but it cannot contain any caloric sweeteners. False. As the panels show, these two products are nutrition equals. Fruit juice syrups used to sweeten foods have no more nutrients or less calories than sweetening with ordinary sugar/ sucrose. See Tip 5. 5 B) 15. At 15 calories per teaspoon, sugar/sucrose is a calorie bargain. See Tip 7. 6 Trick question! They are all about the same. See Tip 8. 7 False. The addition of sugar/sucrose is not the key to a food s calorie content. Sugars (including sugar/sucrose), like all carbohydrates, provide 4 calories per gram. Leaving sugar/sucrose out of products like spaghetti sauce and peanut butter (see labels 11-14) will not significantly lessen calories per serving. If additional fat is added instead of sugar/sucrose, calories increase (fats provide 9 calories per gram). See Tip 4. The Sugar Association 5

6 Tips about sugar/sucrose and sugars... Tip 1 What does sugars mean in the panel? Sugars refers to the family of simple carbohydrates that are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products as well as sugar/sucrose and other sweeteners added to foods. What is sugar? FDA s definition is, For the purpose of ingredient labeling the term sugar shall refer to sucrose, which is obtained from sugar cane or sugar beets Sugar/sucrose occurs naturally in almost every fruit and vegetable. Sugar/ sucrose is extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets because those plants contain the largest quantities. Tip 2 Can I tell how much sugar/sucrose or other sweeteners has been added to a food by just reading the NF labels? Not precisely. The panel shows total sugars. The ingredient statement will list sugar/sucrose and other sweeteners by name in order of the amount in the product. The sugars content of a food is not a reliable measure of its nutritional value. Check the Daily Value for information on whether a food is high or low in important nutrients like fiber or calcium. Tip 3 The panel gives a % Daily Value (DV) for total carbohydrate. Why is there no % Daily Value for sugars? % Daily Value shows whether a food is high or low in a nutrient such as carbohydrates. The DV is a guideline to show how a food fits into your overall daily diet. A % DV is not given for sugars because there is no recommended maximum or minimum for sugars intake. Tip 4 Why does my favorite brand of spaghetti sauce contain sugar/sucrose? Sugar/sucrose, in small amounts, is a key ingredient in many non-sweet foods. In tomato-based products like ketchup and spaghetti sauce, sugar balances the flavors of these foods by taking the edge off the acidic, tart taste of tomatoes. If you checked out the spaghetti sauce and peanut butter labels (labels 11-14) you learned that reducing the sugar/sucrose doesn t necessarily mean cutting calories. Tip 5 How come fruit cocktail in fruit juice has the same nutrient content as fruit cocktail in sugar /sucrose? Isn t fruit juice more nutritious than sugar/sucrose? Fruit juice concentrates used to sweeten canned fruit, jams and preserves are purified for food processing purposes and are nearly identical in taste and nutrient content to ordinary sugar/sucrose. Generally, foods sweetened with juice concentrates are similar in nutrient profile to foods sweetened with sugar/sucrose. If in doubt, use the panel to compare products. See labels 17 and 18. Tip 6 I m counting calories. How can I cut the amount of sugar/sucrose in my cake and cookie recipes? Sugar/sucrose is essential in baking and performs many functions besides sweetening. Sugar/sucrose is necessary for proper browning and texture and helps improve shelf life. No guidelines exist for reducing sugar/ sucrose in baking recipes that will guarantee acceptable results. Just cutting the sugar/sucrose won t help since the amount of fat stays the same. Research has shown that decreasing fat by as much as 50% gives better baking results than cutting sugar/sucrose and the calorie savings are more substantial. Tip 7 I m not on a diet but I m trying to keep calories and fat intake down. How can the food label help? First, all nutrition facts panels show calorie content per serving. Do check the serving size to be sure you re counting calories accurately and compare the serving size to what you actually eat. Also, the food label can help you make trade-offs. Choosing strawberry jam (Tablespoon=50 calories) instead of margarine (Tablespoon=80 calories), for example, will save you not only fat, but calories as well. See labels 4 and 10. Tip 8 Do some sweeteners have more nutrients than others? Surprised by the answer to Question 8? The sweeteners listed are pure sources of carbohydrates and do not contain vitamins or minerals in significant amounts. However, sugar/sucrose is an important ingredient that is essential in cooking and baking and adds eating enjoyment to many nutritious foods. 6 The Sugar Association

7 More tips about sugar/sucrose and sugars... Tip 9 Why do manufacturers use different sweeteners in foods? When it comes to home cooking, granulated sugar/ sucrose is the sweetener that consumers know and trust. In the food industry, too, sugar/sucrose is considered the gold standard. Since the food industry uses ingredients in greater quantities than home cooks, economics is also an important consideration. High fructose corn syrup is found in many processed foods because it costs less than sugar/sucrose. Tip 10 Manufacturers add sugar/sucrose to cereals for the same reason we add sugar/sucrose at home to improve taste but it has other functions as well. Sugar/sucrose helps extend shelf life by protecting the cereal from air and moisture. It also works as a flavor carrier in cereals with cinnamon or fruit, and is frequently used to coat fruits such as raisins, which otherwise might stick together. Tip 11 What label terms can I look for to find out about sugars and sugar in a product? Remember in the NF Sugars refer to the family of simple carbohydrates that are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products and sugar/sucrose and any sweetening ingredient added to foods. In the ingredient statement sugar always means sugar/sucrose from sugar cane or sugar beets. Certain claims located on the front of the packages are referred to as Nutrient Content Claims. These claims about the absence of added sweeteners, such as Less Sugar or Sugar Free are not just about the absence of sugar/sucrose but all sugars. The only Nutrient Content Claims referring to sugars content that can appear on food products are: Sugar Free Less than 0.5 grams of sugars per serving size shown on the label. No Added Sugar No sugars were added to the food. This includes all sweetening ingredients including those from juices and fruits. Reduced Sugar or Less Sugar At least less sugars than a similar fully-sweetened food. Tip 12 I ve noticed that many products called sugar free are pretty high in calories. How come? As many labels clearly show, sugar free does not mean calorie free. Don t expect much in the way of calorie savings if a sugar free product contains fat, like chocolate candy or cookies. Sugar free products that are not calorie reduced carry a label advisory such as not for weight control or not a reduced calorie food. Tip 13 Does the food label contain any special information for people with diabetes? While the food label does not contain diabetes-specific information, the label can help people with diabetes choose foods wisely. Guidelines from the American Diabetes Association offer flexible meal planning for diabetic individuals. According to these guidelines, sugar/ sucrose can be treated like any other carbohydrate in the diet. Patients can substitute a sweet food for a starchy food so long as each contains an equal amount of carbohydrate. The food label gives you the ability to track carbohydrate and calories, as well as fat, fiber and important nutrients like calcium. A registered dietitian can help create a meal plan that takes into account your food preferences and lifestyle as well as health concerns. Tip 14 Does light mean a product is low in calories? Not necessarily. Light can mean that a food contains at least one-third fewer calories per serving than a similar full-calorie food. Or it may mean that a food contains no more than half the fat per serving of a full-fat counterpart. Light in sodium means the food contains at least 50 percent less sodium per serving. Light can also refer to texture or color. In that case the meaning will be obvious, as in light brown sugar. Calorie Content Claims Calorie Free less than 5 calories per serving Low Calories 40 calories or less per serving Reduced/Fewer Calories at least fewer calories per serving compared to the traditional food Light or Lite one-third fewer calories or 50% less fat compared to the traditional food The Sugar Association 7

8 The Sugar Association, Inc L Street NW, Suite 1001 Washington, DC (202) Free downloads of this and other publications are available at

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