UW study finds added sugar in two-thirds of packaged food

A new study by the University of Waterloo analyzed 40,000 packaged foods and found that two-thirds have added sugars - including those marketed as healthy alternatives.

Baby food, flavoured dairy products and even granola bars have high levels of added sugar

(TZIDO SUN/Shutterstock)

A new study out of the University of Waterloo has revealed that foods generally considered to be healthy alternatives to pop, candy and baked goods may not be as healthy as you would think.

The study analyzed 40,000 packaged foods and found that two-thirds have added sugars – including those marketed as healthy alternatives, according to David Hammond, a professor in the school of public health and health systems at the University of Waterloo.

The study pointed out that some food products, like baby food, juice, vitamin water, flavoured dairy products and even granola bars, had high levels of added sugar known to be linked with health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

New labelling measures

Hammond said manufactures in  the U.S. will soon list the amount of added sugars on their food labels, but Health Canada has decided that it will not follow suite. 

"When they announced their regulations last fall, I think most people were shocked they decided not to," he said.

In an email to CBC News, Health Canada said it introduced two new labelling measures to help Canadians understand the sugars content of their food.

Those measures include requiring that manufactures group sugar-based ingredients between brackets after the words 'sugars' on food labels.

Health Canada has introduced two new labelling measures to better help Canadians understand the sugars content of their food. (Health Canada)

The second measure looks at adding the per cent of daily value for the amount of total sugars in the Nutrition Fact table. Health Canada says it's not a recommended level of intake, rather it is "the amount of total sugars that is consistent with a healthy eating pattern."