Gimme' some of that sweet sweet...
November 15, 2007 5:41 PM   Subscribe

How much sugar do I consume every year without my knowledge?

A knowledgeable acquantance once informed me that every year "x" amount of sugar is "smuggled" (his exact words) into your body without your knowledge. I can't recall the exact amount though...1kg, 10kg ??
Does anybody out there have any idea? I've tried the usual searches - google, wiki, for "extrinsic sugar" but I thought maybe someone here can either validate or refute this statement with some sort of evidence that is not mere hearsay from the anti or pro sugar lobby.
posted by robotot to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What kind of sugar do you mean? Most foods have some sugars in them. Do you just mean refined cane sugar and HFCS added to foods that you didn't think had sugar added to them?
posted by hattifattener at 5:44 PM on November 15, 2007

Are you on the average American/European diet, Vegan, fast food only, grains only etc....?
posted by kanemano at 5:48 PM on November 15, 2007

The amount is obviously dependent on what\how much you eat, but a good place to start would be looking on food labels for high fructose corn syrup, which shows up in places you really wouldn't expect.
posted by sanko at 5:54 PM on November 15, 2007

You have to be an educated consumer and read labels. If you eat processed food, you may be smuggling sugar. Some meats are cured with it, some plain breads are baked with's in a lot of food you might not suspect. Look at your label.

Some other ways for them to sneak sugar in there without using the word "sugar": sucrose, dextrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, fructose, glucose, honey, molasses, maple syrup, corn sugar, corn sweetener, lactose, maltose, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, raw sugar, brown sugar, fruit juice concentrate, fruit juice, maltodextrin.
posted by iconomy at 5:59 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Additionally, look for "cane juice." I think that's on some type of energy bars at the very least (Clif?). Isn't there also some wiggle room at the bottom as far as nutritional statements go? A product may have x amount of sugar, but since that's below a certain amount, they don't have to list it on the package?
posted by user92371 at 6:06 PM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: I probably should have clarified a few things:

How much extrinsic sugar or HFCS is smuggled into the average consumer per year? I'm not so concerned about how much I, myself, consume, but more with how much sugar is put into food without the general public knowing about it. Obviously some foods are gonna be obvious, but I expect to be surprised as well. Which foods are the worst? That kind of thing.

Bonus points if anyone can throw me some links too.
posted by robotot at 6:15 PM on November 15, 2007

HFCS is in everything - Wheat Bread, Ketchup, Wheat Crackers, Wheat Buns, Wheat Thins I mean everything. It could be a frickin pretzel and it just might have high fructose corn syrup in it.
posted by cashman at 6:17 PM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: I just though of really cool experiment: get copies of the ingredients/nutritional information on every product in the shopping trolley of a random consumer's weekly grocery visit and calulate how much of it is HFCS or similar, and then survey the consumer, asking them how much sugar they belive they are purchasing etc.

There'd be some pretty interesting results I'm sure.
posted by robotot at 6:19 PM on November 15, 2007

Best answer: Wow. I should have researched this better. This interesting thread was vary close to home.

Maybe I'll give myself best answer. Yay!
posted by robotot at 6:42 PM on November 15, 2007

There's sugar in salt. Yeah, I didn't believe it either. Read the box.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:15 PM on November 15, 2007

w-gp: lemme guess, you live in the USA? Not here (AU), there isn't: salt is just NaCl, maybe some added iodine and sometimes anti-caking agent.

I believe the whole HFCS thing is a result of the US farm lobby - once you get out of the US, it is not the universal sweetener. When I visited the US for a couple months in 2001, I had trouble with the adding of sugar/HFCS to everything because even the white bread was sweet; the rest of the world doesn't do that!

Now to totally derail, one of my friends moved to the US and had a whole freezer-ful of different brands of bread for a few months, each with 2 slices missing. He'd buy a new brand, try it, spit it out and chuck the rest of the loaf in the freezer 'cos he couldn't bear to throw them all out. It wasn't until we found a continental deli run by germans that we could find real bread.
posted by polyglot at 10:21 PM on November 15, 2007

polyglot: some brands available here in Aus use a sugar (dextrose) as the stabilising / anti-caking agent.

Good ol' Saxa table salt uses "anti-caking agent (554)" - sodium aluminosilicate.
posted by Pinback at 11:30 PM on November 15, 2007

Oops - meant to say that some iodised salts use dextrose as a stabilising agent for potassium iodide. Others use potassium iodate, which doesn't require a stabilising agent.
posted by Pinback at 11:39 PM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: aw hell, i ain't too keen on chemicals in my salt either. Only sea salt for me, even if it is three times the price or the bleached stuff.
posted by robotot at 10:53 PM on November 17, 2007

Salt is a chemical, duh.

You don't need iodized salt if you're living near the sea, anyway. (Surprisingly to me, most sea salt is purified enough that it doesn't have significant iodine in it any more.) The iodine supplement is handy if you're living in North Dakota and never get within a hundred miles of seafood, though.
posted by hattifattener at 12:19 AM on November 18, 2007

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