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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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A total of 70 different terms was found for
sugars and sweeteners

Many consumers make a habit of checking the sugar content in the products they buy and eat. If they find "sugar" towards the end of a list of ingredients, they may well assume that a product has a low sugar content. But this can be a fallacy as the vzbv (Federation of German Consumer Organisations) found out in a country-wide marketing check. 276 processed foods were checked for "hidden sugars".

It’s no great news that lists of ingredients contain many substances that contribute to the sweet taste or to the sugar content, but that the name given to them does not identify them as sugars. But now this is interesting: in the foodstuffs the vzbv came across a total of 70 such terms and reckons that only very few consumers are able to spot all sugars and so be able to estimate the actual sugar content of a product.

How to spot the sugars

If the list of ingredients contains the term "sugar", such as grape sugar or invert sugar, the situation is clear.

All ingredients ending on -ose, such as glucose; lactose, maltose, also indicate the presence of sugars. These are technical terms to identify, for example, grape sugar, milk sugar and malt sugar.

Ingredients with "syrup" in their name, such as glucose or fructose syrup, also indicate the presence of sugar.

Also, substances such as (malto)dextrine, skimmed milk powder, barley malt extract, syrup, fruit extract or puree, whey products or powder, sugar beet and dried fruit contribute to the sugar content or the sweet taste.

By contrast, sweeteners and sugar substitutes (eg, sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol) are easy to recognise. These substances must be identified in the ingredients list by their class name plus E-number or their trade name, for example "Sweetener E 960" or "Sweetener Steviolglycoside".

Savoury products such as meat salads or corn starches can also contain sweeteners. So you’re well-advised to play it safe and check the ingredients list carefully.

Source: Hedda Thielking, www.aid.de