Added Sugars – Watch Out!

Added sugars creep in quickly if you are not careful.  In light of the many studies and articles I have been reading lately, there are increasingly more reasons to limit added sugars, the kind that do not occur naturally in food.  Cholesterol levels seem to be adversely affected, in addition to bodyweight, insulin resistance and triglycerides.  All of this points to higher risks for diabetes, coronary artery disease and other illnesses.

Various recommendations can be found regarding limits on added sugar intake, but a common one is 10 teaspoons per day for someone on a 2000 calorie diet.  Sound like a lot?  You might be surprised how fast you can get there without even trying.  A report in the U.S. News and World Report (Aug., 2009) lists some foods with “sneaky” values.  Keep in mind that 4 grams of added sugar is equivalent to 1 teaspoon.  This does not include naturally occuring sugar in foods like fruit and milk.  See if you get any surprises:

Fortune cookies. Just one fortune cookie packs about 3.6 grams of added sugar.

Flavored booze. Exercise good judgment when you drink: One ounce of crème de menthe has 14 grams of added sugar; 53-proof coffee-flavored liqueur has 16 grams of added sugar per ounce.

Baked beans. A one-cup serving of canned baked beans with no salt added will cost you nearly 15 grams of added sugar.

Dried, sweetened cranberries. Without the sweetener, this fruit can be incredibly tart. But one serving—a third of a cup—of this treat will hit you with 25 grams of added sugar.

Ketchup. A favorite condiment, a single one-cup serving of regular—or low sodium—ketchup racks up nearly 40 grams of added sugar.

Cream substitutes. A one-cup serving of a liquid “light” cream substitute packs 22 grams of added sugar, while a one-cup serving of a powdered “light” cream substitute adds a whopping 69 grams.

BBQ sauce. A one-cup serving of this summertime favorite adds 9 grams of added sugar onto those ribs and chicken.

“Reduced” salad dressings. A one-cup serving of reduced-calorie French dressing heaps 58 grams of added sugar, and a one-cup serving of reduced-fat coleslaw dressing hits a home run with 103 grams of added sugar.

Lemonade. A cup of lemonade powder has a massive 200 grams of added sugar. A single serving of the drink has almost 17 grams of added sugar.

Flavored popcorn. Think the added sweetener can’t be that bad here? Fat-free-syrup caramel popcorn has 18 grams of added sugar per ounce serving.

Granola bars. Often deemed a healthful snack, some are tricky—a 1-ounce serving of a granola bar with oats, fruit, and nuts has 11 grams of added sugar.

From U.S. News and World Report, Aug., 2009


2 responses to “Added Sugars – Watch Out!

  1. is there a difference between sugar and pure cane crystals or the like?

    i ask because i’ve seen this trend in the organic section of the store.


  2. kimthedietitian

    Pure cane sugar is just less processed – it’s still sugar, and will affect your blood sugar similarly.

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