Sugar, it’s found its way into an alarming number of the foods that we consume on a daily basis. We’re often completely unaware of how much sugar we’re eating. If you’re eating food that is packaged, or prepared by someone else, you can bet that it’s high in sugar.
Recent changes to the recommended daily intake of sugar have resulted in a much lower upper limit for dietary “added sugars.” We’re not talking about the sugars found naturally occurring in most fruits and vegetables, we’re talking about the kind that are added to foods to make them sweeter, sugars like glucose, fructose, sucrose — beet and cane sugar, whether white or brown — and high-fructose corn syrup. It’s all sugar, and it’s all bad – if not consumed in moderation.
Moderation is the key. But, it is also the problem. As a society, we have lost the ability to gauge moderation in sugar consumption.
The American Heart Association recommended sugar intake for adult women is 20 grams of sugar per day, for adult men, it’s 36 grams daily, and for children 12 grams a day. Wow. Let’s see how that might work.
- 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar: 4 grams of sugar
- Multigrain Bagel from Dunkin Donuts: 9 grams of sugar
- Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil spaghetti sauce, 1/2 cup = 12 grams of sugar
- Bull’s Eye Brown Sugar & Hickory BBQ sauce, 2 tablespoons: 14 grams of sugar
- Kellogg’s Smart Start Strong Heart Cereal, Toasted Oat: 17 grams of sugar
- Delmonte diced pears in light syrup, single serving cup: 17 grams of sugar
- Weight Watchers Blueberry Muffins: 18 grams of sugar
- 1 6oz serving of fruit on the bottom yogurt: 25 grams. Oops! That’s the whole day’s allotment!
- V8 Fusion Vegetable Fruit 100% juice, 8 ounces: 26 grams of sugar!
- Minute Maid lemonade, 8oz: 29 grams of sugar!
- 18 jelly beans: 32 grams of sugar!
- Glaceau Vitamin Water, 20 ounce bottle:32 grams of sugar
- 1 can of Barq’s Old Time Rootbeer: 39 grams of sugar
- A small Dairy Queen chocolate sundae: 41 grams of sugar
Some of the most surprising sources of added sugar are items like spaghetti sauce, and yogurt: foods that we have come to think of as healthy.
Low sugar options
- plain or Greek style yogurt: 2-5 grams of sugar
- water: 0 grams of sugar
- home made spaghetti sauce: limited added sugar
- home juiced vegetables: 0 grams of sugar
- avoid muffins, ice cream, pop, bagels, and packaged fruit.
Eliminating added sugar from your diet really boils down to one thing: Eat natural foods, in their whole state, prepared by yourself with little added sugar. If it’s got a package, read the lable, chances are it also has more sugar than you’re willing to add to your diet.
Notice that we are not counting the naturally occurring sugar found in fruits and vegetables. These bring fibre, minerals and vitamins into your diet that are essential for good health, and they also supply an adequate amount of sugar for healthy body function when eaten as part of a healty diet. Fruits and vegetables are sweeter than they have ever been in history due to being selectively grown for taste appeal. Consuming these natural foods will provide us with all the sugar we need to be healthy.
Want more information about sugar and it’s effects try the following:
Sugar- Are You Addicted?
60 minutes, Is Sugar Toxic?
Rodale: Report Provides New Sugar Recommendations for Adults
FitWatch: Signs that you may be addicted to Sugar