Did you know that according to national nutrition intake surveys, most Americans eat more than 22 teaspoons (~350 calories) per day from added sugars? The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.  It’s easy to see how we get too much as research from the University of North Carolina shows that about 75% of processed foods sold in grocery stores have added sugars.  If you eat too many processed foods, your sugar intake is likely over the recommended limits.
Here are five sources of sugar that may be lurking in your diet.

1. Sauces such as Barbecue and Ketchup:

Most barbecue sauce has about 17 grams of sugar in just 2 Tablespoons (~4 ½ tsp sugar).  Ketchup has 8 grams of sugar in 2 teaspoons.  Look for lower sugar versions or make your own sauce instead.

2. Fancy Coffee Drinks: 

Is your morning pick-me-up more like a dessert than a beverage?  A tall white chocolate mocha with no whip packs in 46-49 grams of sugar (~12 tsp added sugar)!  Check the nutrition facts and find lower sugar alternatives….they are out there!

3. Sports Drinks: 

Yes, sports drinks sound like a healthier alternative to soda, but the energy source to fuel your exercise comes from sugar.  If you’re watching your calories or sugars, stick with water or a lower sugar sports drink, it will still give you the sodium and potassium you need for optimal performance.

4. Yogurt:

While yogurt provides many beneficial nutrients such as calcium, potassium and protein, if you eat flavored or a fruit-on-the-bottom variety, it probably has quite a bit of sugar.  One cup of plain yogurt has 7 grams of natural milk sugars…one cup of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt can set you back 32 grams of sugar (8 teaspoons).  Instead, go for plain, nonfat Greek yogurt and add berries!

5. Pasta Sauce:

Sugar is much less expensive than tomatoes, so it’s no wonder that many pasta sauces load up on sugar while they cut back on real tomatoes in their products.  A half-cup of sauce often has 7 or more grams of added sugars.  Pasta sauce doesn’t need much sugar to taste delicious; try making your own or looking for brands with less sugar.


Breann Ellis ~ Registered Dietitian, Owner Absolute Wellness, LLC

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