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Why does Granola/Cereal have so much sugar?

If you take a look at some of the Nutrition Fact statements on your typical grocery store granola, you’ll probably see anywhere from 4-14 grams of sugar per serving. In many cases the sugar comes in a couple of different forms some of which you’ll recognize…other maybe not.

Different Types of Sugar: Sugar, Cane sugar, agave nectar or syrup, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, evaporated cane juice

Some granolas will have multiple kinds of sweeteners - usually a combination of refined and not refined. So you might see “brown rice syrup, cane sugar, brown sugar” on the label. And the way nutrition labels are formatted is the more of that ingredient that’s in the product, the higher on the list it goes.

So why are there different kinds of sweeteners so high on product lists? A couple of reasons! First of all we tend to like sweeter things. There’s enough evidence and arguments and documentaries and scientific studies out there showing why we like sweet things so I won’t even go into that (if you’re curious, email me! claire[at]teneragrains.com).

One reason there’s so much sugar in there is because sugar acts as a preservative.

In very brief simple terms this is how it works: sugar attracts water from its surrounding environment. If there were any bacteria, mold, or in general alive things that are naturally in the air that were in the environment, they’d be killed because they can’t live without water or moisture. Sugar draws the water via osmosis away from those things. Less moisture means more time on the shelf before things go bad and you get that stale taste.

Another reason is that many forms of sugar are sticky so it helps to hold the clusters together.

For reference, Teffola has 4 grams of sugar and it’s all from maple syrup. Part of the sweetness comes from how fresh it is - fresh food just naturally tastes better and a bit sweeter. Try it out for yourself!