People who are on a diet or want to cut back on their sugar intake love the label “sugar free.” They see it as an opportunity to indulge – to have their cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, the term “sugar free” can be misleading.
It’s a known fact that manufacturers can put the label “sugar-free” on their products even if it contains sugar, and it is perfectly legal to do so. How is it legal, you say? According to government guidelines, a product can be considered sugar-free if it contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. And sugar is defined in the guidelines as sucrose.
Why is the distinction “sucrose” important? Simple. Identifying the limits of the sucrose content in a product means the exact amounts of sucrose will be monitored to earn the right to say a product is “sugar-free”, but these same guidelines do not specify the limits for other nutritive sweeteners like fructose. In other words, food manufacturers can say a product is “sugar-free” even if it is laden with fructose or any other type of sweetener that has calories just as long as the sucrose level is below 0.5 grams per serving.
The sad thing about this is situation is that it has a really bad ramifications. For example, do you know that sometimes a so-called fat-free product may contain more carbohydrates compared to the same product that uses sugar? This is bad news for diabetics because the sugar-free product will raise their blood sugar levels more than the product with sugar – and we know that diabetics are more likely to buy sugar-free products than any other group because they think they are making a healthy choice by getting a sugar free product. What they don’t know is that they may actually be endangering their health more.
That huge bar of sugar-free sweets doesn’t look so appetizing anymore, does it?