School district tries low-sugar dessert menu

Tucson Unified School District in Tucson, Ariz., is now offering low-sugar dessert items for school bake sales and celebrations, Tucson News Now reports.

Ingredients like black beans, whole wheat, fruit and oatmeal are being used in place of sugar to produce desserts that have between 7 to 15 grams of sugar per serving.

“People are shocked when they taste a brownie that has black beans in it," Lindsay Aguilar, TUSD administrative dietitian, said.

The new menu debuted just as the American Heart Association released new guidelines to limit children’s daily added sugar intake to less than six teaspoons.

Aguilar says the timing of the menu and the guidelines was just a coincidence, and that the district was looking for ways to reduce sugary snacks and desserts long before the guidelines came out.

Since nutrition labels do not clearly differentiate between added sugars and natural sugars, the district typically has to do a lot of research to understand how much added sugar is actually in an item.

“That can be very confusing when you’re looking at products that have fruit, or dairy has natural sugar," Aguilar said.  

In the future, however, the district will be able to quickly determine how much added sugar is in an item. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just required manufacturers to clearly distinguish between added and natural sugars on their labels. Most manufacturers will need to implement the new labels by July, 26 2018.

Read the full story via tucsonnewsnow.com.

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