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Pour it on—Sugar Sources in our Diet

You probably won't be shocked to learn that sugar is the number one food additive in the United States, but did you know that the average American's diet includes nearly 150 pounds of added sugar each year?  That is equivalent to more than one third of a pound of sugar daily! Hearing that number may make some of us say "there's no way I take in that much". Well...let's take a closer look at what those numbers mean in measurements we can visualize.

2 rules of sugar:
4.2 grams of sugar  =  a teaspoon
454 grams = a pound

So what exactly does that mean? It means that the third of a pound mentioned earlier that sounded so crazy is 151 grams - about 40 teaspoons, the equivalent of  2 - 20z bottles of soda . All of a sudden it's not sounding so ridiculous or difficult to sneak in a third of a pound a day (gross perhaps, but not ridiculous). 

Refined Sugar - Hidden In Plain View
Of course, there are many obvious high sugar sources that are readily available to us; candy bars and sugary drinks line supermarket checkout aisles.  But unfortunately, we are often misled into thinking we've effectively reduced sugar consumption when in reality the amount of refined sugars hidden in many common foods can be surprising. 

Here are a few examples:
  • The average soda contains 9 percent sugar (about 40 grams per 12 ounces)
  • The average 12 ounce apple juice (100% juice) provides 25 grams sugar.
  • Ketchup contains 29 percent sugar (Nearly 1 teaspoon of sugar per tablespoon).
  • Peanut butter contains approximately 9 percent sugar.
  • The sugar content of salad dressing can range from 7-30 percent.
  • Yogurt is approximately 14 percent sugar.

Keep track of your hidden sugar sources.
What's the best way to reduce your sugar intake? Follow the basic rules of healthy eating - read the labels and stick to eating as many fresh, unprocessed foods as possible.

Published November 10, 2010
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