Sugar, Oh How Sweet It Is

3SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/11/2012 10:00 AM   :  3 comments   :  7,688 Views

When you read the ingredient listing on a nutrition label, do the sugar terms jump out at you? Perhaps listings like sugar, brown sugar, or honey cause you to pause. What about listings such as evaporated cane juice, malt or turbinado sugar? Do they register as sources of added sugar?
 
Sugar has been in the news quite a bit recently. Learning ZoneXpress, a USDA national strategic partner, announced a new educational poster highlighting the sugar content found in popular beverages.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) just released a newly updated position paper regarding full-calorie and low-calorie sweeteners.  Why is there so much attention on sugar?

Americans consume around 22 teaspoons of sugar each day--that's almost half a cup. Since one teaspoon contains four grams of sugar, those 22 teaspoons equal 88 grams or about 352 calories from added sugars--"empty" calories that add no nutrition. . Recommendations suggest women should consume no more than six teaspoons or 26 grams (equaling 100 calories of added sugar) while men should limit their intake to around nine teaspoons (or 36 grams equaling 150 calories each day).
 
It is important to remember that not all carbohydrates are created equal while on the hunt for hidden sugar. Sugar recommendations do not include naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy, only the sugars added to things like the 12 teaspoons in a 16 ounce glass of sweetened tea or the three teaspoons added to a packet of instant oatmeal. We consume hidden sugars in many of our favorite foods without even realizing it. Since high sugar intake contribute to obesity rates as well as diabetes and heart disease, it is important to begin taking note of our hidden sugar sources.
 
Here are some helpful resources to help you begin taking control of your sugar intake.
  • Would you know which picnic “salad” has more than a tablespoon of sugar per serving? What about which sauce contains more than 2 teaspoons of added sugar in a one-ounce serving? The answer to those questions and 13 other top "added" sugar offenders can be found in the slideshow 15 Surprising Sources of Added Sugar.

  • Are you confused by all the "natural" sweetener options and how they fit into your healthy eating plan? Get the rundown of the most common types in The Truth about "Natural" Sweeteners.

  • Do you know sugar by its many other names? Take the quiz Is It Sugar or Something Else to test your sweet smarts.

  • We all want a little sugar from time to time. Do you wonder if your sweet cravings go beyond the norm? Take the quiz Are Your Sugar Cravings Out of Control to find out if your sweet cravings need some goal setting attention. 

  • Need a plan to help break your sugar addiction? Check out the 4-week plan Breaking Your Sugar Addiction  to help you learn ways to turn things around.

  • Check out these Sugar-Free Desserts and Snacks for fun, simple desserts and snacks that will leave you feeling satisfied without the added sugar.
 
Where does most of your added sugar come from? Did you find other alternatives to help you begin reducing your added sugar intake?


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   7 Super-Powered Food Pairings

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 3
    There are several reasons why you can't track sugars. Sugars are a newer addition to nutrition labels. Only products that make a claim about sugar or sugar alcohols on their package (such as "sugar free" or "reduced sugar") must list the sugar content (in grams) on the nutrition facts label. Foods and products that contain sugars but do not make any sugar-related claims do NOT have to list sugars on their label. Because of this, it is impossible to get an accurate picture of what you're really eating.

    Also, tracking this particular nutrient is misleading because sugars listed on a nutrition facts label are NOT added sugars, as one might think. For example, fruit naturally contains the sugar fructose. Milk and other dairy products naturally contain lactose, which contributes 12 grams of sugar per cup of milk. None of this is added sugar, yet it is treated the same way on a nutrition facts label as table sugar or corn syrup.

    - 6/11/2012   3:30:36 PM
  • 2
    So, Spark lets me track number of carbs consumed, grams of fiber consumed, but when I tried to add sugar as a nutrient to track, it wasn't an option (or I couldn't find it). I'd like to know what my daily sugar intake is, but can't track it, apparently! - 6/11/2012   1:21:57 PM
  • SCIFIMOM
    1
    Yes, as a type 2 diabetic I already knew how important it is to avoid added sugars, and all the cryptic names for hidden sugar, like "natural cane juice." Recently, however, I also have been learning about the dangers of the artificial sweeteners, so I have been avoiding them as well. I'm also carefully monitoring the amount of naturally occurring fruit sugars I consume in a day.

    That's why it's ironic that the Spark People recipes -- which I love to use! -- do not list sugar grams on the nutritional breakdown. Maybe all the accumulating evidence against too much sugar will help to change that!

    -- Claudia - 6/11/2012   10:12:40 AM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by November 12! Get a FREE Personalized Plan