Most packaged foods, even healthy ones, contain added sugars: Study

most-packaged-foodA new review of Canadian packaged food revealed that majority of products, even those labeled healthy, still contain high amounts of added sugar. The study found that two-thirds of products contain at least one source of added sugar. Coauthor of the study Erin Hobin explained, “People may be surprised to learn how many packaged foods and beverages have sugars added to them, especially foods that most would consider ‘healthier’.”

Numerous health agencies recommend restricting the amount of added sugars to a maximum of five to 10 percent of daily caloric intake.


The researchers looked at over 40,000 packaged foods and beverages and found that 66 percent contained at least one source of added sugar. Products included in the review varied from baby formulas, baby food, yogurt, to juices, cereal, and snack bars.

Added sugars included sugar, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, and fruit juice concentrate.

Of course, the highest amount of added sugar was found in sweet food products such as candy, pastry, and soda pop. However, a great number of products labelled as “healthy” – such as granola bars or yogurt – also contained added sugars. What’s even more striking is that half of all baby formulas and food in the review had added sugars among their ingredients.
Senior study author David Hammond added, “The number of products that contained added sugars was surprisingly high, particularly for beverages and baby foods.”

Health Canada is currently making revisions to food product labels to help keep consumers better informed as to what they are eating and feeding to their children.

Related: Eat these foods for a strong immune system

Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.


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