Sin Azucar, or “without sugar,” is a photographic project from Spanish photographer Antonio Rodríguez Estrada. The idea is as simple as can be: Estrada takes packaged foods and photographs them alongside the amount of sugar they contain. The results speak for themselves, and are often–especially in the case of supposedly savory foods–quite surprising.
Estrada’s images need no explanation, and are perfect for sharing on social media. In fact, the photographer encourages doing just that, as a way to raise awareness of just how much sugar is contained in processed foods. Most people would guess that a Coke or a candy bar is stuffed full of sugar, but what about curry mango sauce (nine cubes)? or Caesar salad dressing (six cubes)?
The surprises continue. A pizza has four and a half cubes; bread has almost a cube per slice. How much sugar might you find in a Nestlé yogurt for a baby? A yogurt marked as “natural,” which in Spain, where Estrada is from, means that it has no added flavor? One container hides two and a half cubes.
Estrada says that he uses the same visual language that the industry uses to sell its products–“neat lighting, attractive retouching, visual impact, etc.”
In the U.S., around 60% of packaged foods and drinks found from the average grocery store contain added sugar, according to a new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina. And just looking at the ingredients label isn’t enough, because manufacturers often try to disguise the added sugar by giving it another name: high-fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, rice syrup, and flo-malt are all popular ingredients that are effectively just sugar.
The answer? Well, you can share these images, but best of all is probably to avoid eating too many processed foods, and to assume that any food or drink that has been prepared for your convenience has also been pumped full of sugar. Or just stick to a diet made up exclusively of Coke and candy bars–at least you’ll know where you stand.