The Sweet Aisle

By Dean L. Jones

Grocery market aisle coordination seems quite fair on how they display like items, as they even are kind enough to keep the sugary-filled items like candy, cookies, cakes, sodas, and ice crème grouped in their respective places.  So, it makes it easier to go around these items to lessen a possible sweet seduction.

On the other hand, sugary items are not always overtly grouped and we mistakenly buy foodstuff filled with processed sugars.  For instance, granola bars are commonly considered a healthy choice.  Except, granola bars contain a lot of added processed sugar and it will usually not be found on the sugary-filled treat aisles of the store.

Breakfast cereals are the most noticeable sugar deceptions, but still a lot of shoppers are lured into thinking they can select one that is more healthy, especially if the cereal contains some fiber.  Thus, label reading is crucial in the cereal aisle!  For example, going back to granola, where a cereal claiming this as its base can have as many as 13 grams of processed sugar per serving (just shy of 3 teaspoons).

On a side note, take heed that General Mills is running television advertisements showing adults eating Lucky Charms.  General Mills is targeting those who grew up eating Lucky Charms and their sense of naive childhood enjoyment counting sugary clovers and pink hearts.

Another aisle that is a processed sugar disguise is the one displaying barbecue and tomato sauces, ketchup, and soups.  The average ketchup has one teaspoon of processed sugar in every table spoon of the condensed tomatoes.  The challenge is that you may not recognize sugar when reading the label where it will be called corn syrup, sorghum, glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, galactose, maltose, and concentrated juices, like concentrated grape or apple juice.

The majority of shoppers are now familiar with how fruit juice is nothing more than a concentrated source of processed sugar.  Fruit at its natural state always comes with fiber and is a balanced way to digest it so that the natural sugars are not harmful to the body.  However, when that fiber is not in place, drinking all of the added sugar and natural sugar wreaks havoc on the liver and kidneys.  A simple 10-ounce bottle of pure apple juice will average 32 grams of processed sugar (8 teaspoons).

Summertime thirst can mean being careful not to overdo the amount of packaged/bottled lemonade consumed.  Pure natural lemonade is healthy, but the various lemonades sold on grocery shelves add loads of sugars, averaging around 25 grams per serving (a tad over 6 teaspoons). The same holds true with sweet tea, flavored yogurt, and dried fruit which are all items usually found far away from the candy and cookie aisles.  It has become more than a notion to avoid the sweet aisles and stay SugarAlert!
Dean Jones, Ethics Advocate, Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), contributes his view on health attributes derived from processed foodstuff items.