-Not all conspiracies are theories- James Badge Dale
Most of us know that sugar isn’t great for us. Companies know it tastes great, makes the chemistry of baking work, keeps bacteria from growing, and keeps us buying. So how to get an increasingly health aware public to keep buying sugar laden products?
Tactic #1- A Rose by any Other Name
Slip that sugar under the radar by calling it something else. There are 61 names for sugars that companies can use on ingredient lists to fool people. Many you may recognise as sugar, glucose, fructose, cane juice, corn syrup, malt syrup, etc., but some are sneakier. There is a bakery close to Toronto that claims to be “sugar free”, but when you look at the ingredients “dehydrated coconut nectar” is used. News flash, that’s sugar from a coconut! Call it “Dehydrated Wizard Tears” if you want to, you can’t fool your body, sugar is sugar. That feels quote worthy, just a sec,
Call it “Dehydrated Wizard Tears” if you want to, you can’t fool your body. Sugar is sugar. -Amanda Carroll, Tiny Toad Creations
Tactic #2- Math games
Legally, ingredients need to be listed by weight on nutrition labels. If you made a label for the scrambled eggs you made for breakfast, it would read; EGGS, MILK, BUTTER, SALT. Based on this label, you know that in the mix eggs are the biggest percentage and salt is the lowest. The way companies can make it look like there is less sugar in their products than there actually is, is by using more than one kind of sugar, like both white sugar and “dehydrated coconut nectar”. A muffin mix could contain 50g of flour, 40g of white sugar, and 30g of dehydrated coconut nectar. There is more total sugar in the mix, 70g, than there is flour, 50g. Yet, the company can make the label like this; FLOUR, WHITE SUGAR, DEHYDRATED COCNUT NECTAR, making it appear that the mix is mostly flour.
Tactic #3- Natural Born Killer
There is a misconception that everything natural must be healthier. Sometimes this is true, sometimes it’s just spin. Take “concentrated fruit juice” for example. Fruit is healthy right? When you take juice from an apple and boil it down, you get a syrup, then crystals (sugar). When you take liquid from a plant called a sugar beet, you get a syrup, then crystals (sugar). It’s the same thing, but “concentrated fruit juice” sounds healthier than “sugar” and is used as a way to fool people into thinking the product containing is actually healthier. It isn’t!
The good news:
In Canada, nutrition labels are changing to help people make better choices. Over the next 5 years, companies will have to change their nutritional labels to tell people how much total sugar there is in products. Take our muffin mix example, the ingredient lists will have to look like this; SUGARS (WHITE, DEHYDRATED COCONUT NECTAR), FLOUR, letting you know that the mix is mostly sugars. In the united states, labels will have to list “added sugars’ on the nutritional panel. Until all companies have become compliant with the new rules, make sure you really read and understand labels.