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Sunday, March 16, 2014

How Much Added Sugar is In Your Diet?

The World Health Organization created quite a stir recently when they announced we should cut our added sugar intake to only 5% of our daily calories (WHO | Draft Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children).    Sounds easy?  Not really as manufacturers sneak added sugar into almost every food we eat.   The WHO focused on all sugars, but in this blog I will focus on ADDED sugar, what manufacturers add in processing.  Added sugars are not sugars naturally present in foods like fructose in an apple or lactose in milk.  

So what did the WHO propose and why? 
Currently, WHO recommends added sugars should make up less than 10% of our daily calories.
WHO Draft guidelines:  Sugar should be less than 10% of our total calories with even more health benefits if we reduce sugars to less than 5% of our daily calories.
What is 5%?   This means reducing our sugars to about 25 grams a day or 6 teaspoons for adults. 
Most of us enjoy our sugary treats whether it is Girl Scout cookies this time of year, ice cream or other desserts which, of course, would have added sugars.   But manufacturers put added sugars in almost everything.  My husband read the WHO article and then went into our kitchen and found added sugars in many foods.

  • 1 slice whole wheat bread  3 grams sugar
  • 1 serving instant oatmeal apple, cranberry  12 grams sugar
  • Catsup 1 T.  4 grams sugar
  • Salad Dressing 2 T.  5 grams sugar
  • Prego Spaghetti Sauce – ½ cup 7 grams sugar 
Look through your cupboards to find all the hidden added sugar in our foods.  That is before we even get to our desserts.
Then there are the culprits we expect to be loaded with sugars and they are:

  • Soda – sugared 12 ounce  39 grams sugar
  • Red Bull one can 27 grams sugar
  • Iced Tea – sugared 8 ounces   24 grams sugar
  • Capri Sun one pouch – 18 grams sugar

Yes, one sugared soda and you are over your daily limit of sugar. 
You really can’t tell if a food has added sugar by reading the “sugars” on the food label.  You need to look at the ingredients.  For example, milk notes it has “Sugars 12 grams” on the food label, yet the ingredients are only Milk, vitamins A and D.  No sugar is added.  The “sugars” in milk are lactose, a naturally present sugar. Not something added by the manufacturer.  Very confusing to those wanting to cut back on “added sugars”
I enjoy my dark chocolate, Girl Scout cookies and other treats and I know these foods have added sugars.  But I really don’t appreciate manufacturers sneaking added sugars into every food under the sun.  I don’t need added sugars in my bread, in spaghetti sauce, and in my catsup. 

Sources: Image source: WHO | WHO opens public consultation on draft sugars guideline, How Much Sugar in Sodas and Beverages?    

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