For all the sugar lovers out there

Written by
Diana Dutcher
on October 13, 2020

Do you have a sweet tooth? I have a sweet tooth for cake and ice cream but I’m happy to pass on candy. Which sweet treats do you crave?

Are donuts your downfall?

Halloween is coming up so sweet treats are all over. As we move into this season of indulgence, I wanted to bring awareness to sugar and its affect on the body so you can be a more informed consumer and conscientious eater.

Here are some spooky facts about sugar:

  • Sugar is as addictive as drugs like cocaine.
  • The average American eats 152 pounds of sugar in a year
  • Overconsumption of sugar leads to a 40% increase in deaths from heart disease.
  • Processed sugar feeds diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Most people have NO IDEA how much added sugar they consume on a daily basis because it is hidden every type of processed food.
  • The USDA allows for 50grams of sugar per day in their recommendation – that is the same as 12.5 teaspoons of sugar – however based on the average amount consumed, Americans actually eat a whopping 189 grams per day. That is nearly 48 teaspoons and 4 times the USDA recommended limit.

Do these numbers surprise you? The fact is, most people are not getting their daily fill of sugar through cake, candy, and cookies so why is sugar such a problem in America? The issue is really hidden sources of sugar in processed & fast foods and sugar-sweetened beverages.

How much hidden sugar is in your spaghetti dinner?

I know it is easy and convenient to run through a drive through or pick up frozen meals that just need to be heated and served; cooking scratch meals can be time consuming and stressful when the kids are bouncing off the walls and hangry. When I feel the pull to go for convenience foods, I have to remind myself that processed foods always contain excess amounts of sodium (salt), sugar, and unhealthy fats that I want to avoid.

Check out this article for hidden sources of sugar in popular foods. How good are you at reading labels to know if your choices are clean?

Hidden sources of sugar:

  • Prepared coffee-based drinks
  • Soda pop
  • Pasta sauce
  • Granola bar
  • Yogurt
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Salad dressing
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Energy drinks
  • Packaged fruits
  • Coleslaw/prepared deli-style salads
  • Bottled teas
  • Dried fruit
  • Ketchup and other condiments

Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and prepared coffee drinks account for 36 grams of sugar PER DAY for an average youth or adult in America. 36 grams of sugar = 9 teaspoons of sugar which is 75% of the daily sugar limit.

Something as simple as an oatmilk honey latte from your favorite barista can contain 28 grams of sugar (7 teaspoons of sugar)

Here is the nutrition label for Prego pasta sauce. Things to notice to be a savvy label-reader. What’s the serving size? How much sugar is added per serving?

The serving size is 1/2 cup – assess if you actually only eat one serving or if your typical intake is more than 1 serving. I like a lot of sauce so my intake is 2 servings.

4 grams of sugar are added per serving which is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of added sugar. Since I would consume two servings of sauce, I am taking in 2 teaspoons of added sugar. It may not seem like a lot when you are talking 1 or 2 teaspoons here and there, but think about if you make sauce at home from scratch – you would probably not add any sugar at all.

Here is one of my top rules for deciding whether to make something at home or buy it:

Are ALL the ingredients on the list something I would keep in my pantry at home and add to my food in this quantity if I made it from scratch? If the answers is no then I pass most of the time – I’m not perfect.

We have just scratched the surface of interesting facts about sugar. Join me over the next week as we discover even more about sugar in America.

Follow along daily in our Facebook group The Hassle-Free Family or use the form below to have the series sent to your email inbox.

Written By
Diana Dutcher

I am an educator and entrepreneur who is passionate about non-toxic living. I get to be with my five kiddos (8, 6-year old twins, and 4-year old twins) in the mornings and teach in the afternoons or evenings. It’s a beautiful abundant life 💖

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