No Sugar Added

@emeraldisle (13146)
United States
April 30, 2007 6:21pm CST
I'm sure you have all seen the items in the grocery stores that say "No Sugar Added" and think that's a great thing. If you are trying to lose weight or you are diabetic you think this is a good thing. You are getting things without sugar. Well you are but you aren't. What you are getting are things without refined sugar added. You know white sugar or brown sugar, things like that. Instead you get fructose (sugar from fruits) or sugar alcohols. You can actually end up getting more sugar in the item then if you had bought a normal item. Just goes to show you do have to check those side panels carefully.
12 people like this
21 responses
• United States
30 Apr 07
People need to read labels more carefully. I am a label reader. If it says sugar free, it is just that. I also check out the fats, sodium, and calories. What may seem a good thing is only good looking and not healthy for you.
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
1 May 07
There is a difference though between sugar free and no sugar added. That's the problem. Most think that no sugar added means it's sugar free and that's not the case. They just don't use refined sugar in it. You do need to also check especially with the "No fats" or "Low Fat" foods because many of them add in sugar in place of the fat. I've run into that. So if you are watching your sugar intake you have to watch. I agree it's always best to watch those labels and see what is what. You can't assume with anything.
2 people like this
@nowment (1758)
• United States
1 May 07
I remember when my mom was diagnosed as diabetic, spending hours in the grocery store, reading the labels carefully, and knowing that those "no sugar added" fructose items meant a fruit exchange or meant couldn't have it at all. So many times when things are saying "fat free" "sugar free" or in some way are supposedly healthier, or beneficial to health or weight loss, they are actually more harmful, because the additives needed to bring the flavor that is missing when these items are fat or sugar free, that you are doing more harm then good. With my mom's blood sugar going so high for the slightest thing, since she had other health issues, she was actually allowed very little in starches, and fruit sugars or the "healthy" sugars. During a time when she thought she was being very strict with her diet, it turned out that the products, used starch additives, when it went sugar free, for flavor, as you know starches turn to sugars so quickly, that it turned out that this one product which was high in starch but the label wasn't clear because of the wording, was the reason her sugar levels were high despite doing the right thing. I have learned that you can write to companies and get a real break down on ingredients some will be very forthcoming, I found this was even more so when I specified that I needed to know of the ingredients due to health reasons. How would this affect diabetic, etc. I suppose because these companies didn't want to get caught with a written lie if their products did say elevate the sugar levels of my mom, we were just lucky she didn't go into a diabetic coma, her blood sugar level from the starchy rather than sugar food, had gone up to 438. I never would have thought to check starches in the labels til then.
2 people like this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
1 May 07
OMG I'm glad your mom was all right. I can just imagine what all happenned and how shocked you were to find something you thought was good wasn't. That's my father's big down fall. He eats a lot of carbs and startches. He just can't get it into his head that those turn to sugar in the body.
1 person likes this
@nowment (1758)
• United States
21 May 07
Well my mom ended up ok, it was a miracle she didn't go into a diabetic coma, and we became real careful about foods. One thing that we did was go to a nutritionist with the specific goal of learning about food and how it works and effects those who are diabetic. I remember at one point we watched a video that they showed and my mom said "I don't do that" She wanted confirmation from me and I said well... yeah you do. This was in reference to the diabetic mood swings where sometimes the emotions of a diabetic will swing wildly with out their even knowing it is happening. As for your dad and the issue of starches that is going to be hard, I mean for years those in my family who are older and diabetic were the kind of plain and simple meat and potatoes kind of people, with part of my family being Irish potatoes with every meal and bread was natural, with part of my family being Italian pastas and bread with all the meals were natural. Now to convince diabetics that breads, are a starch and that means they are converting to sugar right away, and that potatoes are no longer a vegatable but a starch, that pasta is a starch, and so it is now an issue was for some unacceptable. Then learning that some vegatables such as carrots, lima beans, beets and corn were high starchy foods so that they yes were vegtables but could not be eatten as much as other vegtables became a problem as well. I mean you serve lima beans and small amount of potatoes and you figure you are serving vegatables. only to find out you are serving starches which will convert to sugar rapidly. Then realizing that the sugars from fruits can not be substituted for the sugar conversion of the starchy foods since each is a different kind of sugar reaction was something we had to learn and work on. It is all very simple now, now that I know it, but it was complicated back then, while I was learning. Hope your father gets the idea to becareful of his starchs. Maybe you can get him to make an appointment with a nutritionist who specializes in explaining about diabetic menus to him. It is not like it was a few years ago now there are many foods out there that he can eat, and there are many excellent diabetic cookbooks that will supplement his foods and keep things from being boring, or to restricting.
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
1 May 07
My mom and I just had this argument. She is diabetic, and although I'm not I did have gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my son. It is so misleading for alot of diabetics to think that they can just trust these labels. I think there should be somne sort of regulations by the FDA for what can be truly considered safe for diabetics, and the products should be labeled accordingly.
2 people like this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
1 May 07
It would be nice if the FDA would do something like that. You can't go just by what the front label says that's for sure. They are out to sell their product and if something like that on the front does it they don't care if people don't look to see if it's misleading or not.
1 person likes this
@rakhii (1302)
• India
2 Jul 07
That is true! FDA should regulate these products carefully in public concern. If these labels are misleading the public, its not good for our health.
@magica (3710)
• Bulgaria
30 Apr 07
Some of theese nutrional substitutes are perhaps more harmfull then the white sugar. In fact i never carry so much - i am not a fanatic of loosing weight. But for my father this is very important,because of diabet.That`s why he keeps strictly diet and for example he must eat black dietical then white bread -and one of the reasons is the sugar. The nutrional rejimes are too difficult and the opinions vary.
2 people like this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
1 May 07
Oh I know. My father is diabetic as well and he's run into problems due to misleading labels. Ones that say "no sugar added" are a big problem because he thinks that means he doesn't have to worry. Wish it were that easy.
1 person likes this
@rakhii (1302)
• India
2 Jul 07
Hey, I really didnt know that. I was thinking that these labels are true, but they are again misleading. I would like to have your opinion on my discussion I started on a similar concern. Your suggestions are highly required. http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/1179870.aspx?p=0 Thanks!
@aprilgrl (4460)
• United States
2 May 07
yeah I agree. My hubby get so angry when he buys the wrong thing, he wants sugar (always) I told him I think it's good for lot of people not to have the sugar and I told him to start reading the labels so he won't get the wrong thing.
2 people like this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
3 May 07
That's a wise thing to do, to have him check each and every label. That way you know for sure what you are getting.
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
2 May 07
I know and what people don't realize is sugar is sugar, no matter what the form... I happen to have a low blood sugar problem--and many think just because it's low one needs more sugar..uh, no--and while I'm not on as restrictive of a diet as a diabetic, I also have to be careful about eating anything with too much sugar...of any kind
2 people like this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
2 May 07
Low sugar or high, it's the same treatment of having to watch your diet. Not fun at all. I know sugar is sugar whether it's refined or not. Too much of anything is not good and when you have a blood sugar problem it just makes it even more difficult.
1 person likes this
@PsychoDude (2018)
• Netherlands
1 May 07
And fructose is bad for your liver, it bulks up and your liver can barely process it since it's made to handle normal sugar. But as a diabetic you can eat some sugar, within limits of course but you don't need a complete sugar-free diet. It's some sort of weird myth which goes amongst the population. Same goes for high blood pressure, suddenly you shouldn't be eating any salt at all they think.
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
1 May 07
There are a lot of myths out there about different health conditions. That's why it's always wise to double check everything with one's doctor.
• United States
1 May 07
A lot of "sugar free" candies are this way! I never realized until my dad was diagnosed with diabetes. I had purchased some "sugar free" cookies and candies for him only to find out that they contained just as many carbohydrates as the regular stuff and it's the carbs that really count. Isn't it amazing how they can word things to be so deceiving?
• United States
1 May 07
my godmother is diabetic-i wonder if she's noticed that? i'll have to ask her-i hate to think of her drinking it by accident. thanks for mentioning this-i'll have to check up on that:)
2 people like this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
1 May 07
You're quite welcome. It is something we need to watch for. I know we gave my dad some "No Sugar Added" Pies and it shot his blood sugar way up because it had all the other forms of sugar like corn syrup. You just have to watch.
1 person likes this
@calvin222 (1607)
• India
1 May 07
Thes day the advantage a consumer has is that it is mandatory for the ingredients to be written on the packaging. We must read them very carefully especially if we have special needs.
2 people like this
• Canada
1 May 07
I totally agree with you ...people are fooled by t hese labels everyday and instead of reading the rest of the label.......they just assume that it is what it says it is, people who are respectfully not reading the labels on the products have to learn to take the time to do this otherwise why bother.....
2 people like this
@natalie1981 (2000)
• Singapore
1 May 07
Oh, this is new. I thought fructose was okay and has less calories. So which sugar substitute has no calories? Is it aspartame? I usually go for no sugar added products because my family has a history of diabetes. Thanks for the info. I'll check the nutrition information more.
• United States
6 Jul 07
LOL...tell me about it! I'm a Type 1 diabetic. There was this one chocolate bar I got a long time ago that was sugar free. BUT the calories were 300! The fat content? SAME THING. I've found that the two main things you really need to look at for a diabetic is the carbs and the sugars (usually listed right below). As anyone with diabetes knows, carbs turn into sugar faster than protein...which raises your sugar level. It took me years to figure this out, as I never had a doctor explain it... It is possible to find a FEW items that are low carb, low sugar, low fat that don't taste like cardboard...but its very few! lol
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
8 Jul 07
Yeah it is hard. I know my dad has found a few sugar free chocolates but then you have to be careful. You can only eat a couple at a time, any more and you end up in the bathroom all night. Really cleans out the system. We once bought the "low fat" peanut butter and it tasted decent but then we looked at the calories and such and it had twice the amount of sugar. They have to make up for the loss of one with something else. As you pointed out finding something that tastes decent that has low everything isn't always easy.
• United States
10 Jul 07
Yes, sobitol and manitol have laxative effects in big doses. Of course, unless you read about them, there's nothing on a package to tell you about that effect. Oh, I know about that! When the sugar is gone, they add other stuff...and the calories are higher and sometimes, so is the carbs! Sometimes I think its better to have a little sugar and have less carbs!
@APMorison (424)
• United States
4 May 07
You seriously need to check the Carbs listed on the label. Also make sure that they haven't added something like aspartame (nutra sweet). Not only are some people sensitive to it but it can (recent studies) actually stop your body from metabolizing other carbs - it adds no calories but keeps you from burning the ones you take in otherwise.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
5 May 07
Do you have a link to that study? I'd be curious on that. I know I have trouble with some forms of aspertame, it causes me to have migraines. I didn't know that it had the problem of metabolizing other carbs and that I'd like to know more about.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 May 07
I'll have to talk to a friend for that - he's diabetic and started on aspartame and his weight loss slowed to a crawl then stopped. He found the report and switched to sucralose (Splenda) and his weight has begun to drop again. Mine too ;) I get Ugly Migraines from aspartame, any form of aspartame - Hate it! As soon as I can get the info on the aspartame report I'll post it.
1 person likes this
@Eskimo (2317)
7 May 07
Yes, but unless you are a diabetic you need a certain amount of sugar (actually glucose) which your body needs to metabolide and give energy. There are a number of different types of naturally occuring sugars including maltose, lactose and lactose as well as glucose. some people are deficient in specific enzymes for some of these sugars and would have to avoid them. I would rather have a little sugar in some of these items than artificial sweetners like aspartame.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
7 May 07
Very true but one should know what sugars they are putting into themselves. It's very easy to think that no sugar added is the same as sugar free and they aren't. One needs to check the labels to make sure of what they are putting into themselves.
@Kowgirl (3491)
• United States
5 May 07
Sugar in moderation is OK for a diabetic. It's those unneeded carbohydrates that are killing us. I tried all those "no sugar added" and my glucose was still over what it should be. I am now on the low-carb diet and my glucose level is at a steady 100. I have been able to reduce my medication by 5g and expect to be off of it in a few months. I even have a blog that explains why we do not need carbs in our body and it has lots of recipes that I have tried. And I found a place where you can get NO carb Pasta, So I can now eat Lasagna again.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
5 May 07
Nothing personal but no carb pasta sounds a lot like sugar free jelly beans. Just doesn't sound right. I'll have to let my mom know about that because my father loves pasta.
@claudia413 (4284)
• United States
3 May 07
After I was diagnosed with diabetes some years ago, that was one of the first things I learned...always check the breakdown on the side panel. So many things that we think would be good and healthy for us really aren't. I was amazed at the high carb counts in so many products when I started reading the side panels.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
4 May 07
Scary isn't it? I see some people who never check things out and just assume that what they are eating is healthy. When I point out some of the calories or ingredients they are flabbergasted. It gets me because it's right there for them to see. Now the fine print things I can understand not seeing but the calories and such isn't that small.
@rsa101 (13336)
• Philippines
20 Feb 08
yeah that is true. Not all products that say they are sugar free is not really sugar free. Anyway most of the foods we do take in our body eventually gets converted into sugars in some forms that is why the key to it is really moderation in everything that you take in your body. There are things that you need to eat less than others because of these.
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
4 Feb 08
That is why I check the panel and try to avoid things that has frutose in them. I suppose you would have to make your own recipes or stick to the regular item. I know that is what I do when I buy salad dressings. I stick with the regular variety, but it is hard when you are almost on the cusp of diabetic and there is nothing with any substitutes that are beneficial. Too bad they do not use stevia or something like that. I guess I will have to do much of my grocery shopping in the health food stores or develop a taste for not sweet foods.
@memz2000 (16)
• United States
4 May 07
Interesting to know. Thanks.