Foods With Hidden Sugar

Are Americans addicted to sugar? You may not think so, but we consume an average of 160 pounds of sugar per person per year. The problem with sugar is that it provides a lot of calories, with no nutrients or other health benefits. So, while sugar isn’t ‘bad’ in and of itself, for a country where obesity is becoming a national health crisis, sugar and its empty calories are part of the problem. Hidden sugar is one of the reasons.

Three primary factors have contributed to the overconsumption of sugar. The first factor is the fact that sugar ‘hides’ in many foods. The second is sugar comes by many different names and finally, we don’t have realize how much sugar is in the foods we eat.

Are you aware that sugar is found in many common products? In addition, added sugar is found in products we think are healthier for you. Catsup is a good example of a product that contains a lot of sugar that most people are unaware. The same is true for products like Spaghetti sauce, and even the bread you buy at the grocery story. Most surprising are foods that are labeled low or non-fat often have more sugar added than their fat-ridden cousins. Often the additional sugar is substantial.

So, how much sugar is in foods. Part of the problem is with labeling. The USDA allows food manufactures to measure their food in metrics, such as grams. Most Americans don’t have a good awareness of how much a gram actually is. If read that a can of soda has 40 grams of sugar, do you know that equals 10 teaspoons of sugar. Imagine putting 10 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee every morning. If you indulge in a 64-ounce soda at the movies, do you realize that you’re consuming an extra 2 cups of sugar? One teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4 grams. As you look at labels, divide the amount of sugar by four to determine how many teaspoons of sugar you’ll consume.

Another problem with sugar is the different names it may be hidden under. You may know that corn syrup is another name for sugar, but did you also know that it may be called molasses, honey, sorghum, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, lactose, dextrose, sucrose, galactose, maltose. In addition, concentrated apple and grape juices are also names for sugar. Because manufactures are required to list foods by the highest to the lowest, manufactures may ‘bury’ sugars in the middle by calling them multiple names.

If you’re concerned about your waistline and who isn’t over 50, then make sure you read labels for hidden sugar in your food.

About Cathy Severson

Cathy Severson helps baby boomers find more meaning and purpose in their lives and work. Get your copy of her complimentary e-book Guide to Retirement Activities a comprehensive look at work, volunteering and leisure based on an individuals’ personalities. Call for a complimentary 20-minute consultation to answer your most pressing concern. 928.775.4949 or email Cathy at

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