Thursday, August 20, 2015

Recognizing Hidden Sugar in Your Diet

In a world with ever-growing diet and health trends, knowing which foods are good and bad can be tricky. One thing most experts agree on is that too much sugar can cause short- and long-term health issues such as obesity, tooth decay, metabolic syndrome, liver issues, diabetes and more. Tracking the amount of sugar in your daily diet may seem like an easy task – everyone knows there is sugar in items like regular soda, candy, cookies and baked sweets – but it can be found in some unexpected foods, too. If you are interested in eliminating extra sugar from your diet, get to know the obvious and “hidden” sources.

Candy, cookies, ice cream, frozen yogurt, baked sweets (pies, cobblers, custards, turnovers, brownies, etc.) – Most people realize that baked goods, candies and desserts contain sugar, but they may not know how much. This category of items contains the most common sources of sugar in the daily diet. Examples include:
  • Cookies – 8-23g per serving (not necessarily per cookie)
  • Ice cream – 14-24g per ½ cup serving
  • Pie – 18-20g per slice
Soda, fruit juice, alcohol, enhanced waters, sports drinks, coffee drinks, milk, soy or almond milk, salsa – Many people forget about the sugar used to sweeten regular soda, fruit juices, flavor-enhanced waters, sports drinks, coffee drinks like frappuccinos and mochas, iced teas and other drinks with any type of sweetness involved. Even certain types of milk are sweetened, so pay attention to nutrition labels. These sources of sugar add up quickly, often packing upward of 15g of sugar per serving (and often including more than one serving per container). Examples include:
  • Soda – 44g per can
  • Soy milk (chocolate) – 19g per cup
  • Caramel frappuccino – 45g per serving (12 oz) 
  • Gatorade – 14g per 8oz serving
Condiments, sauces, syrups – Any time you add ketchup, mustard, relish, barbecue sauce, salad dressings, gravies, butter sauces, glazes, maple syrup, fruit syrups, honey, chocolate and caramel syrups and other types of condiments to your food or drinks, you are adding sugar to your diet. Though in smaller increments, each gram of sugar adds up quickly. Examples include:
  • Ketchup – 3.7g in 1 tbsp
  • Barbecue sauce – 6g per 1 tbsp
  • Maple syrup – 14g per 1 tbsp
According to the American Heart Association, the average woman should only consume about 24 total grams of sugar each day. Men should consume about 36 grams total, teenagers about 20 to 32 grams, children ages four to eight about 12 grams and preschoolers about 16 grams per day. One teaspoon of granulated white sugar equals about four grams. Whenever possible, limit your intake of processed sugars found in items like sweets, condiments and soda. Instead, consume small amounts of fruit or vegetables when you would like something sweet, or stick to one serving of 70 to 80 percent cacao (or darker) dark chocolate, which only has about 6.7g of sugar in a one-ounce bar.

Limiting the abundance of sugar in your diet can have an amazing effect! You might notice improved energy levels, better sleep, less emotional turmoil or mood swings, improved body mass index (BMI) and more. For more information about your diet or blood sugar levels, contact your primary care provider. To find the primary care provider that is right for you, call 443-849-GBMC or visit

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