I was reading the USA today a few days ago and they had an article about the amount of sugar in certain candies and cookies. I was horrified and a little surprised to learn that an Oreo cookie has approximately 1 tsp of sugar per cookie. I did some internet searching and found this website that you may find interesting as well. It’s called SugarStacks and the authors of the site have taken several different foods and stacked sugar cubes in front of each food/drink so we can visually see how much sugar is in a serving. The sugar cubes are 4 grams, and a teaspoon of sugar is 4.2 grams, so the visual picture is pretty close.
I consider myself pretty well-informed on nutrition in general. I’m not a nutritionist, but I’m a label reader and have read lots of books, articles, and studies on food, dieting, and weight loss. But even I was shocked at the amount of sugar in some very common foods. I don’t know why I was shocked because I understand that sugar sneaks into a lot of processed foods – even foods that you aren’t expecting to find it in.
For example, many tomato products like spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, and ketchup have high sugar contents. Fruit juices are another source of sugar, and even when I was in the midst of losing weight I’d forget about how much sugar was in 20 oz of juice! A lot! Cereals are also notorious for containing lots of sugar – even some of the “healthier” cereals have quite a bit of sugar added to them. Fruit flavored yogurt is another source of sugar that I sometimes forgot about too.
So what do you do about all this sugar floating around?
Well, I think one of the first things to do is be aware of how the sugar appears on the labels. Obviously if you see sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, or maple syrup that’s sugar. But, there are a lot of sugars that masquerade under other names, like sucrose, glucose, lactose, and fructose. There are also sugar alcohols, like sorbitol and others which are found in chewing gums and breath mints. So watch out for sugars that aren’t obviously listed as sugar on the label!
Once you are cognizant of how the sugars are labeled and how much there is you can begin to make more informed choices. There may be some foods you want to avoid. I don’t drink much juice – instead opting to eat real fruit. Obviously things like candy and cookies have a lot of sugar so those are best saved for special occasions and not as a daily snack.
And as you are working on reducing your sugar intake you can begin to influence people around you to make healthier choices. I know that once I showed friends of mine how much sugar was in certain foods they started choosing healthier alternatives.
How do you feel about the sugars in foods? Do you try and avoid sugar altogether or just watch your sugar intake? Diane