Nutrition Articles

The Hunt for Hidden Sugar

How Much of the Sweet Stuff is Hiding Your Foods?

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To determine how much sugar has been added to a food product, follow these two tips:
  • Read the ingredients list. Learn to identify terms that mean added sugars, including sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, dextrin, honey, invert sugar, maple syrup, raw sugar, beet sugar, cane sugar, corn sweeteners, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, malt, molasses, and turbinado sugar, to name a few.
  • Refer to the chart below for approximate amounts of hidden sugar in foods.
     
Hidden Sugars in Foods

Food

Serving Size

Added Sugar

Cakes and Cookies

Angel food cake

4 oz piece

7 tsp

Banana Cake

4 oz piece

2 tsp

Brownie, no icing

1 oz piece

4 tsp

Cheesecake

4 oz piece

2 tsp

Chocolate cake, iced

4 oz piece

10 tsp

Chocolate chip cookie

1 cookie

2 tsp

Coffee cake

4 oz piece

5 tsp

Cupcake, iced

4 oz piece

6 tsp

Fig Newtons

2 cookies

2 tsp

Gingersnaps

1 cookie

3 tsp

Glazed doughnut

1 doughnut

4 tsp

Oatmeal cookie

1 cookie

2 tsp

Candies

Chocolate candy bar

1 bar

4.5 tsp

Chocolate mint

1 piece

2 tsp



For more information about hidden sugars in foods, check out this helpful resource from the USDA.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • Great article. Sugar is in so many things these days, its is just terrible. - 6/18/2016 2:24:49 PM
  • Thanks JRSTERN29. I finally got to see the FDA article. - 6/17/2016 9:23:04 PM
  • I couldn't follow the link to the paper on the http://fnic.nal.u
    sda.gov website, but with a little digging I found this article:https://w
    ww.nlm.nih.go
    v/medlineplus
    /ency/article/002444.htm - 6/17/2016 10:01:20 AM
  • I think the FDA has new labeling requirements regarding sugar, separating natural and added sugar plus a single total. These are either only proposed or already passed and awaiting implementation. Of course it was opposed by food processors. Sounds like a great idea to me, especially since as a personal choice I avoid all artificial sweeteners and even stevia and the sugar alcohols. I've lived long enough to hear - "it's safe, it's safe, it's been tested...oops, it's not safe" Reducing my sugar consumption gradually has been and continues to be my plan. - 6/17/2016 6:11:25 AM
  • I wish the big food companies wouldn't add sugar but let us do it on our own. Of course, then we wouldn't become addicted.. oh, I see. $$$$ - 6/1/2016 11:00:45 AM
  • Angel food cake is so light and fluffy that it seems to me a 4 ounce piece would be HUGE! - 5/19/2016 10:32:42 AM
  • I only use stevia as well. - 4/29/2016 9:50:56 AM
  • Really that much sugar in a ginger snap? The ones I've eaten are about an inch and a half across!

    I've sworn off any of the artificial sugars and just use stevia, which to my knowledge is just dried juice. - 4/28/2016 2:20:21 PM
  • Great info.
    My question is as a diabetic, which is better real sugar or sweeter like Equal. Always wondered. - 4/28/2016 9:50:31 AM
  • MSMTGE
    The link on the article for more information from the USDA considered "forbidden"
    on the server? What gives? Am I the only one having this problem? - 4/28/2016 9:05:32 AM
  • It's good to know that there are four grams in a teaspoon. I've always wondered. - 4/23/2016 9:49:26 AM
  • MOINSDEMOI
    7 tsp of sugar in a slice of angel food cake - so much for a healthy alternative - 4/14/2016 1:44:09 PM
  • I forgot all about this challenge tonight, when I shared a piece of Keylime Mango pie with my sister-in-law. I'll have to start again tomorrow. - 4/8/2016 8:38:04 PM
  • So pleased to see these articles on sugars and Diabetes. Information is invaluable. I will share it with my daughter, a diabetic. Of 5 years, and others. - 4/1/2016 4:39:17 AM
  • ETHELMERZ
    This is good info for people NEW to dieting, they will remember it the rest of their lives, but, unfortunately, it still doesn't prevent you from eating it. Just not as much, during those times you go on one plan or another. There is a lot more to overeating than crying and pointing to sugar or carbs, the experts just don't "get" that. It's decades we have tried to stop overeating, before processed foods, people over ate. - 2/6/2016 7:02:00 AM

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