Exposing Hidden Sugar

Think you don't eat a lot of sugar? Consider this-every day the average American consumes the equivalent of 22 teaspoons of "extra" sugar-sugar that's been added to food and beverages.

That's about a half of a cup every day!

If you're pretty sure you don't have a sweet tooth, Consumer Reports says you may be in for a surprise.

Sodas...candy...and cookies. They're the usual sugary suspects. But Consumer Reports says even if you don't buy a lot of theses, you still could be taking in too much sugar.

Jamie Hirsh of Consumer Reports says, "A high intake of sugar comes with some serious health risks. The American Heart Association says it increases the risk of high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels."

So how much sugar is too much?

Hirsh says, "You want to try to keep the added sugar to no more than six teaspoons a day for women and nine teaspoons for men, but that can be easier said than done."

Consider how much sugar is in some supermarket staples. A half-cup serving of Prego's Traditional Italian Sauce contains the equivalent of two-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar.

A six ounce container of Dannon's All-Natural Vanilla Lowfat Yogurt contains over six teaspoons of sugar!

So does a half-cup serving of Mott's Original Apple Sauce.

Even a serving of Vlasic Sweet Midgets pickles has almost two teaspoons-that's just three little pickles!

Hirsh says, "A teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to about four grams, so that can help give you a good estimate."

Also look under the ingredients. You probably recognize sucrose...glucose...and high fructose corn syrup as added sugar.

But it's listed under many names, like fruit juice concentrate...malt syrup...and evaporated can juice...to name a few.

Consumer Reports says eliminating sugary beverages, like soda, bottled teas, and juice drinks, will cut your sugar significantly.

Some sodas can have as much as 16 teaspoons in a 20-ounce bottle!

Instead, try seltzer with a splash of fruit juice, unsweetened teas, or a smoothie made with fresh fruit and plain nonfat yogurt.

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