How to Identify Sucrose on Food Labels
Being diagnosed with sucrose intolerance can be overwhelming. Altering your diet and determining which foods contain sucrose can be quite challenging if you are a newly diagnosed patient. Reading the Nutrition Facts label on a food item becomes vital for diet adherence. You may find that some of your staple foods or favorite foods contain sucrose and must be limited.
At the grocery store, both fresh-food items and processed-food items line the shelves. Typically, it is much easier to determine if a fresh food contains sucrose; processed foods are a bit more troublesome. For example, all fresh meat is usually low in sucrose as long as it’s not breaded, marinated, or otherwise processed. Plain, unflavored dairy products and nuts are all naturally low in sucrose. In the produce section, even though the items are fresh, determining sucrose content becomes a bit more challenging. Some fruits and vegetables are low in sucrose, while others are high in sucrose. It’s smart to check a reputable internet list while you adjust to the diet.
Once you are familiar with the low-sucrose and high-sucrose food list, it’s crucial to understand how to read the Nutrition Facts Label. The Nutrition Facts label can be found on all packaged foods and beverages. For those with sucrose intolerance, the most important parts of the Nutrition Facts label are the line indicating “sugar” and the ingredient list. The sugar line gives the total amount of sugar (in grams) found in the product, including lactose, fructose, sucrose, and glucose. For those with sucrose intolerance, lactose, fructose, and glucose are all acceptable sugars; only sucrose must be avoided. This is where the ingredient list comes into play! To determine the exact types of sugars found in the product, you need to read the ingredient list.
Sucrose, as an ingredient, may not be listed directly on an ingredient list, so it’s important to understand which types of sweeteners contain sucrose. When scanning the ingredient list, look for these sucrose-containing ingredients:
- Beet sugar
- Brown sugar
- Brown rice sugar
- Cane juice
- Cane sugar
- Coconut sugar
- Corn syrup solids
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Date sugar
- Maple syrup
- Modified tapioca starch
- Raw sugar
- Sucrose Sugar
To make things a bit more confusing, it is possible for one brand of a given product, like ketchup, to contain sucrose, while another brand may not. That’s why it’s important for you to check food labels frequently. Common sources of hidden sucrose include foods like sauces, desserts, seasonings, and beverages. But, by comparing one brand to another, you may find that one of the brands does not contain sucrose. Remember, not all sweeteners contain sucrose. Some sweeteners that do not contain sucrose include dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, and fructose. Moreover, sugar substitutes like Splenda and sugar alcohols like Xylitol do not contain sucrose.
While the list of foods to avoid may seem long and the label may seem confusing, plenty of foods are naturally low in sucrose. While having processed food options may be important to you, remember that the more you read a label, the more comfortable you will become in selecting the right foods for your diet. When in doubt, visit the manufacturer’s website or call them directly to ask about their ingredients. Before you know it, you will once again feel confident in the grocery store.
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