According to NPD Group, nearly half of US adults look for sugar on nutrition labels. This is great news, and a positive sign that consumers are trying to make better choices when it comes to their diets. Unfortunately, the statistics around health issues linked to sugar consumption are more alarming than ever. Currently 38% of American adults over 20 are obese. And in a 15-year study on added sugar and heart disease, participants who took in 25% or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10% added sugar, regardless of weight.
The problem is what consumers say they are concerned about and what they actually do about it are two different things. NPD’s latest report, “Impact of Sugar Concern on Consumption Behavior: What we Say vs. What We Do,” states: “The decision on what to keep and what not to keep eating in terms of sugary foods varies by generations, with some acting on their concern and others just saying they’re concerned but not acting on it.”
When deciding which sugary foods to keep in or out of their diets consumers tend to separate them into categories, like more healthful versus indulgent sugary foods, finds the NPD study, which looked at the impact of consumer choice on 40 different sweet foods and beverages. Cola drinks and fruit juices both contain a fair amount of sugar. Consumers are more likely to cut back on cola drinks than fruit juices because they feel that juice has more nutritional benefits and the sugar is naturally occurring.
Sugar Comes in Many Forms
Adding another layer of complexity to the situation is the fact that sugar can come in many forms besides the obvious “added sugars” we hear so much about. There are hidden sugars in many of the foods consumers eat and research suggests that a combination of sugary non-alcoholic beverages (e.g., soft drinks and fruit-flavored drinks) and processed grain products (e.g., sweet bakery products) contain the highest percentage of hidden sugars. These include:
- Cereals, including hot cereals like flavored oatmeal
- Packaged breads, including “whole grain” kinds
- Snack or granola bars
- “Lower calorie” drinks, including coffees, energy drinks, blended juices and teas
- Protein bars and meal replacements
- Sweetened yogurts and other dairy products
- Frozen waffles or pancakes
- Bottled sauces, dressings, condiments and marinades Dried fruit and other fruit snacks
- Restaurant foods, where sugar is used in sauces, various desserts and dressings for extra flavor
Managing Hunger & Reducing Blood Sugar Spikes
With consumers eating almost 82 grams of sugar per day — two to three times the recommended amount — blood sugar management is an increasing concern. In addition to dietary intervention, taking supplements that target carbohydrate metabolism and reduce the urge to snack can help support a healthy glycemic response.
According to a study recently published in Nutrients, the inability to be satiated can lead to excessive overeating in the obese before, during and after weight loss.
The CARBS Study (Carbohydrate Appetite Reduction and Blood Sugar) was a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, 3-way cross-over study and the first to examine the effects of a proprietary extract of Salacia chinensis (OmniLean™) on glycemic indices and gut hormones after a meal. OmniLean, taken with a meal, resulted in an improved glycemic response and changes in gut hormones in healthy overweight/obese individuals, thereby reducing blood sugar spikes and impacting appetite and satiety.
Healthy carbohydrate metabolism plays a key role in weight management and overall health. Reducing dietary intake of sugary foods is the best approach to blood sugar management and supplements like OmniLean™ can help consumers on their quest to beat the sweets.