Ever look at a list of ingredients and wonder why they use so many different types of sweetener? It’s just one of the tricks food manufacturers use to take advantage of loopholes in our food labeling laws.
Often it has very little to do with flavor…plain old table sugar would work just as well as corn syrup or fructose. But because each ingredient on a food label is listed in order of the amount used, using multiple sources allows food manufacturers to disguise how much added sugar products contain.
The primary ingredient in a product might be added sugar. But by dividing it up and using multiple sweeteners, instead of seeing “sugar” first on the list of ingredients, it might be third…followed by brown sugar in 5th, corn syrup in 6th, fructose in 8th, etc.
Another loophole they exploit is to break down components of a product separately. On a Nutri-Grain bar you will see “More Whole Grains” emblazoned on the packaging, and indeed, whole grain rolled oats are listed first in the ingredient list. But upon further review you will see that the “crust” and the “filling” have been broken down separately. While there’s plenty of added sugar in the crust (HF corn syrup, sugar, and honey) the filling is almost entirely made up of sugars (HF corn syrup, corn syrup, blueberry concentrate, and sugar).
This adds up to 12 grams of sugar per bar, which is slightly higher than a serving of Chips Ahoy cookies (3 cookies=11 grams of sugar). And while this isn’t a huge amount of sugar compared to many other products, it does show how easily a lot of added sugar can make it into your diet.