Friday, March 04, 2005


A rose by any other name may smell as sweet but sugar and salt ingredients under various names may affect your health---especially if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. Some ingredients may be listed on the label and some may not and even those designated may be confusing.


Made up of one, two, or more saccharose groups. The monosaccharide sugars---often called simple sugars---include glucose, dextrose, fructose, and levulose. The disaccharides include sucrose---cane or beet sugar---lactose found in milk, maltose found in starch, and cellobiose from cellulose. Sugars may also occur in gums such as arabic and tragacanth. Sugar is used in processed foods for more than sweetening. It acts as a tenderizer by absorbing water and inhibiting flour gluten development, as well as slowing down starch gelling. It mixes with air into shortening in the creaming process and carmelizes under heat, to provide cooked foods with a pleasing color and aroma. It has many other uses. A teaspoon of common table sugar is 16 calories. Many so-called "dietetic" foods that are labeled "sugar free" or "no sugar added" in fact contain sugar alcohols. they have less calories than table sugar but can raise blood sugar and if eaten in large quantities may have a laxative effect. "Low calorie" on the labels means fewer than 40 calories per serving.

A compound formed by the interaction of an acid and a base. Sodium chloride or common table salt is an example. Sodium combinations in food processing and additives are numerous. Sodium aluminosilicate, for example, is an anticaking agent used in dried eggs and grated cheese. Sodium aluminum sulfate is used as a flour-bleaching additive and sodium acetate is used in many prodcts as a preservative, flavoring and acid-alkali control."Low sodium" on the label means 140 mg or fewer per serving. "Very low sodium", fewer than 35 mg per serving and "sodium free", fewer than 5 mg.

Does any federal agency check the actual amount of sugar and salt in processed foods listed on the label or during processing? If you want to reduce your salt and sugar intake,you have to become knowledgeable about the hidden sugar and salt in your food.

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