When you go to the grocery store, read the food labels of the food in your cart. Each box, can, or bottle shows a list of every ingredient. How much sugar is in everyday products? Even products labeled “Heart Healthy” may have a lot of sugar. For instance, a serving of yogurt can contain up to 20 grams of sugar.1
Here’s a sample of how much sugar is in a typical chewy granola bar:2
† This is the amount of carbohydrates left after you subtract the amount of fiber. If a food has a lot of simple carbohydrates, it contains a lot of net carbs.
A typical serving of granola cereal contains:3
A typical serving of light yogurt contains:4
The American Heart Association recommends that men consume less than 36 grams of added sugar per day. That’s just 9 teaspoons! Women should consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day, or 6 teaspoons. That’s the total amount of added sugar you should eat each day—in all your meals, beverages, and snacks.5
If you eat just one granola bar a day, you’ve already taken in half or a little more than half of ALL the added sugar you should eat every day.
1) Heart-check food certification program nutrition requirements. Updated June 7, 2017.
2) Kashi.com. Kashi® Chewy Granola Bars Cherry Dark Chocolate. Available at : https://www.kashi.com/our-foods/snack-bars/kashi-chewy-granola-bars-cherry-dark-chocolate. Accessed January 28, 2018.
3) GeneralMills.com. Nature Valley product list. Available at : https://www.generalmills.com/en/Brands/Snacks/nature-valley/brand-product-list. Accessed January 28, 2018.
4) WordPress.com. Yoplait Light yogurt with granola. Available at : https://coconutcreamcare.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/yoplait_light_yogurt_with_granola_strawberry.jpg. Accessed January 28, 2018.
5) American Heart Association. Survey: Sugar is bad, but people can’t stop eating it. Available at : https://news.heart.org/survey-sugar-is-bad-but-people-cant-stop-eating-it/. Accessed February 9, 2018.
If you’re like most consumers, you try to buy foods that are labeled “no sugar added” or “sugar free.” That’s a good start, but it’s not enough. There are more than 60 different names for sugar.1 Almost three fourths of the food you buy in the grocery store contain added sugar.2 That’s too much to keep track of! So what can you do?
On the food labels, look for the amount of total added sugars. You can also look for words like dextrose, maltose, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, and rice syrup. You’ll notice that a lot of these other names for sugar end in “ose.”2
Pay attention to the amount of carbohydrates, or carbs, on a food label. Sugars are carbs. This can seem confusing: although sugars are listed separately on food labels, they are also included in the amount of carbohydrates.3
Carbs can be simple—like sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Simple carbs are digested quickly. They release a lot of a specific type of sugar, called glucose, into your blood. This happens all at once. It’s a lot for your body to handle! You get a sudden rush of sugar and you get a quick jolt of energy. It makes you alert. People call this a “sugar high.” But your blood contains more glucose than it can use. It releases extra insulin to get the sugar out of your blood quickly. As your system struggles to move the sugar into your cells, it often removes too much sugar. That’s when your mood shifts. Your body no longer has enough sugar. You get irritable, tired, and anxious. People often call this a “sugar crash.”4
Other carbs are complex—like vegetables or some whole grains. Complex carbs contain a lot of fiber. They take a long time to digest. They release glucose into your blood slowly. That keeps your body working right.
How can you tell which kind of carb you’re eating? When you read the food label, look for the amount of fiber. Then subtract that from the total number of carbs. The number you get is the “net carbs”. The lower it is, the less likely it is that food will cause problems for your body.5
1) American Heart Association. Survey: sugar is bad. But people can’t stop eating it. February 2, 2017. Available at : https://news.heart.org/survey-sugar-is-bad-but-people-cant-stop-eating-it/. Accessed January 28, 2018.
2) University of California, San Francisco. Hidden in plain sight. Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged foods. Available at : http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.Wm3aGKinHIU_. Accessed January 28, 2018
3) University of California, San Francisco. Learning to read labels. Available at : https://dtc.ucsf.edu/living-with-diabetes/diet-and-nutrition/understanding-carbohydrates/counting-carbohydrates/learning-to-read-labels/. Accessed January 28, 2018.
4) American Heart Association. Carbohydrates. Available at : http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Carbohydrates_UCM_461832_Article.jsp#.Wm3eJ6inHIU. Accessed January 28, 2018.
5) Spritzler F. How to calculate net carbs. Healthline. Available at : https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/net-carbs. Accessed February 9, 2018.
The average person consumes 19.5 teaspoons of sugar every day. That’s about 66 pounds of added sugar every year for every American.1
It's easy to put away too much sugar. A cup of low-fat yogurt can contain almost 12 teaspoons of sugar. Just one generous helping of barbeque sauce can give you more than 3 teaspoons of sugar. A serving of granola may have more than 6 teaspoons of sugar. A large flavored coffee from popular chains may be loaded with up to 25 teaspoons of sugar. A cup of baked beans may contain 5 teaspoons of sugar.2
The American Heart Association recommends that:
Start by putting it into perspective.
When you read a label on a food product in the grocery store, it will measure sugar in grams.
A teaspoon of sugar contains 4 grams. If a label says a product has 20 grams of sugar, it contains 5 teaspoons of sugar.
Other ingredients, such as rice syrup, are also sugars.
Eat too much sugar and you increase your risk for being overweight. That increases your risk for diabetes. Sugar is also linked to increased risk for high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and chronic inflammation of your arteries. These conditions make you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.5
1) University of California, San Francisco. How Much is Too Much? Available at : http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/the-growing-concern-of-overconsumption/#.Wm8kfyOZM3g. Accessed January 29, 2018.
2) West H. 18 Foods and drinks that are surprisingly high in sugar. Healthline. July 18, 2016.
3) Ervin RB, Kit BK, Carroll MD, Ogden C.L. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). NCHS Data Brief No. 87: Consumption of added sugar among U.S. children and adolescents, 2005–2008. Available at : http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db87.htm. Accessed January 29, 2018.
4) By any other name its still sweetener. The American Heart Association. Updated April 21, 2017.
5) Harvard Heart Letter. Abundance of fructose not good for the liver, heart. Available at : https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/abundance-of-fructose-not-good-for-the-liver-heart. Accessed February 9, 2018.
Here is a new option with SOLA products
Switch to SOLA granola, yogurts, snack bars, bread, and more. Our products are made from sweeteners found in nature and do not cause glucose spikes or large spikes in insulin release.
SOLA sweetener bakes, measures, and caramelizes just like sugar, and you can use SOLA in your own recipes and enjoy the sweet taste—without the sugar. To help your patients stay on track, SOLA has launched a line of products that people typically eat every day. These products include yogurt, granola, bread, and snack bars. SOLA also has a delicious ice cream with no added sugar!