Sugar: The Hidden Ingredient in Everything

Sure, sugar’s sweet. But in great quantities, it can be harmful to both your mind and body. After feeling a rush, sugar can quickly sap your energy.

While the recommended daily intake of sugar per day is 9 teaspoons for men and 6 for women, the average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Sugar contains nutritionally empty calories that often contribute to conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Because sugar can come in over 50 different names, they can easily sneak into your diet. Here is a list of some of their more common monikers:

  • agave nectar
  • cane crystals
  • cane sugar
  • corn sweetener
  • corn syrup
  • dextrose
  • evaporated cane juice
  • fructose
  • fruit juice concentrates
  • glucose
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • maltose
  • malt syrup
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose
  • sugar syrup

The FDA recently announced that they will require a new label that outlines “added sugars” by July 2018. This means the nutrition facts label on a given food will show a separate line with how much sugar has been added to it. It will also show the percent daily value to the added sugars.

A 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, for instance, contains 65 grams of added sugar, which is 130 percent of the daily recommended amount.

Checking labels can help you make healthier choices for you and your family. But even foods that may seem healthy can contain more sugar than your recommended daily intake, like certain brands of yogurt. Many snacks, breakfast foods, and condiments or sauces tend to be loaded with sugar too, including: granola bars, cereal, juice, smoothies, some breads, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and pasta sauce.

Replacing sweet snacks with raw fruit and honey can often do the trick, or try dressing your more savory foods with olive oil and lemon juice.

And by noting some of sugar’s more deceptive disguises, you can help lead a healthier lifestyle.

(Photo by Shardayyy / Flickr Creative Commons)

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