Added sugar—where is it hiding?

Sugar, sugar cubes and a spoonful of sugar

Every five years, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture create dietary guidelines that reflect the latest evidence-based nutrition information. The 2015-2020 guidelines pushed for us to decrease the amount of added sugar in our diets. Excess sugar intake is associated with increased risk of diabetes, obesity and hypertriglyceridemia or a high level of a certain type of fat (triglycerides) in the blood.

The guidelines recommend that women consume no more than 100 calories (six teaspoons or 25 grams) of added sugar a day. For men, it’s 150 calories (nine teaspoons or 36 grams). Again, that’s added sugar, which we can now determine with the new labels (See Welia Health blog post Nutrition labels updated to reflect current guidelines).

“Naturally occurring sugars in apples or juice are paired with important nutrients that we need for good health,” says Danna Woods. “For example, an apple might have 15 grams of sugar, but it also has fiber and vitamin C. We’re concerned about sugars that are added to products for flavor and have no nutritional value, what we call empty calories.” (See Welia Health blog post An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away)

Alternative names for added sugars
Anhydrous dextroseLactose
Brown sugarMalt syrup
Confectioner’s powered sugarMaltose
Corn syrupMaple syrup
Corn syrup solidsMoasses
DextroseNectars (peach nectar, pear nectar)
FructosePancake syrup
High-fructose corn syrupRaw sugar
HoneySucrose
Invert sugarWhite granulated sugar

Woods adds that individual nutrition recommendations really depend on a person’s health concerns. For example, for weight control, calorie intake is important. For patients with cardiovascular disease, consuming saturated fats is something to watch, while choosing healthier fats such as Omega-3s and monounsaturated fats. For those with high blood pressure, Woods and her colleagues look closely at the amount of sodium being consumed in the patient’s diet.

To learn more about your nutritional needs and considerations, schedule an appointment with one of Welia Health’s Registered Dietitians – Melissa Merrick, RD, LD, CLC, or Danna Woods, RD, LD, CLC. Call 320.679.1313 or schedule online through MyChart. Please note that a referral from your provider is required.


Calorie information now available at Welia Health’s dining center

The Welia Health dining center is now open to the public, and we felt it was important to make the nutrition information available on the foods we serve.

So earlier this year, the Welia Health food service purchased a nutrition label maker to ensure all foods served to customers would include nutritional information. Kitchen staff and dietitians have been reviewing food ingredients and analyzing recipes to determine calories, added sugar, protein and serving size information, among other details. Many of the options in the dining room are homemade and now have accurate counts of nutrients. The undertaking has been a significant, months-long project that is now complete. Look for the information next time you’re dining at Welia Health.