Why doesn't Cooking Light list sugar in the nutritional analysis of recipes?
We're considering it. The problems are partly logistical. The sugar-content data for many of the whole foods we use in recipes, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, isn't always available. That makes complete sugar analysis difficult.
Another complication: There is no scientifically agreed upon recommendation for daily sugar intake, and we base our recipes on recommended daily allowances. In part, there's no sugar standard because sugar occurs naturally in some foods while it's added to many others. Based on available nutrition information, we found that both mango and fruit-flavored candy contain a double-digit sugar count. Does the sugar render mango unhealthy, or candy a good swap for fruit? Obviously not.
Obesity concerns put the spotlight on the role of added sugars in the diet. Food manufacturers do list total sugars on their labels, but it's impossible to know how much of a food's sugar is added and how much occurs naturally. The ingredient list provides some clues (is sugar at the top or near the top of the list?).
Still, the database we use to do our nutrition analysis is getting better, and that will mean we will be able to provide more complete sugar information. For now, though, you can use the recipe itself to get a quick idea—how much added sugar is in the ingredient list? Our desserts and sweets tend to lean on sugar (both natural and added) to compensate for reduced saturated fat, but sensible portion sizes keep sugar—and calories—in check, based on our nutritional standards.
Bottom Line: Stay tuned for more sugar numbers when we can provide them.Other vexing sugar questions:Is one kind of sweetener healthier than another?