For most people, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Patterns allow extra calories every day for solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS) in the processed foods they eat.
Choosing foods that are low in fat and without added sugar whenever possible might just leave you with some extra calories left over each day. These extra calories can be used as you like. Some mornings you could have a glazed donut—but don’t forget to count it as a grain and don’t go over your suggested limits for SoFAS.
With both the USDA Food Patterns and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan, added sugars mean more calories without more nutrients. For some people, added sugars can lead to higher levels of fats in the blood, raising their risk of heart disease.
Read the ingredients label to see if the processed food you are eating has added sugar. In addition to other updates, the FDA recently proposed to include “Added Sugars” on the Nutrition Facts label to inform consumers of their sugar intake. Learn more about how FDA’s Proposed Changes Aim to Better Inform Food Choices. Key words on the label to look for:
- brown sugar
- corn sweetener
- corn syrup
- fruit juice concentrate
- high-fructose corn syrup
- invert sugar
- malt syrup
- raw sugar
- maple syrup
What's On Your Plate? is based on the nutrition recommendations for older adults in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).