Our National Sugar High
Can we escape the high amounts of sugar that are being secretly spoon fed to us by giant food manufacturing corporations?
Of course we can! But first we need to learn to read nutrition labels and understand exactly how food manufacturers manage to sneak such high amounts of sugar into our daily diets.
To help you distinguish which food products are high in sugar, I’ve searched the aisles of my local grocery store and compiled the following list of health foods which are shockingly high in sugar.
I’ve specifically searched for those foods which are marketed towards weight conscious consumers and health conscious moms because we all know that packaged cake mixes, ice creams and cookies contain high amounts of sugar. But, did you know that one serving of a yogurt snack, marketed towards dieting individuals, can contain as much sugar as a piece of pie?
Note: One teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams of sugar. So, 12 grams of sugar in a product is equal to about 3 tsp of sugar.
Low-Fat Peanut Butter
Natural peanut butter has a variety of health benefits and is one of the healthiest foods sitting on our super market shelves today.
Unfortunately though, many commercial brands of peanut butter add a number of additives and preservatives to their products such as high amounts of sodium, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soy protein, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and palm oil.
To appeal to those consumers who relentlessly hunt for the low-fat or low-calorie options despite everything we know about the health hazards of eating such highly processed foods, peanut butter manufacturers have come up with peanut butter options that boost “25% less fat than regular peanut butter”.
But before you reach for that low-fat option, remember this: fat creates flavor and food manufacturers know it. So, when they remove the fat from a food, they put something else in to replace the lost flavor and in the case of low-fat peanut butters that something is often sugar.
In fact, some brands of low-fat peanut butter have as much as a teaspoon of sugar in a 2 tablespoon serving. For example, Skippy’s 25% less fat option has 4 grams of sugar in 2 tablespoons which is double the amount of sugar present in original Skippy’s.
Whole Grain “Healthy” Breakfast Cereals
We all know that breakfast cereals such as Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs, and Kellogg’s Honey Smacks contain astronomical amounts of sugar. Don’t believe me? Consider this: one serving of Honey Smacks breakfast cereal contains nearly 55% sugar, by weight.
But what about whole grain breakfast cereals, that are marketed as the “healthier option? Is it possible that these breakfast cereals also harbor a sinister amount of sugar? One quick look at the nutrition labels of many of these healthy, whole grain breakfast cereals will tell you that they, too, are high sugar breakfast cereals.
For instance, Kellogg’s Smart Start Strong Heart Toasted Oat contains 17 grams of sugar per every 1 1/4 cup serving. Kellogg’s Special K Fruit and Yogurt, which is marketed as a healthy, diet-friendly breakfast food packs a whooping 10 grams of sugar into each serving, which is set at only 3/4 cup. And last, but certainly not least, is America’s favorite toddler food: Honey Nut Cheerios which packs 9 grams of sugar into each 3/4 cup serving. Now calculate how many servings of this cereal your toddler eats a day and you will begin to see why this is a problem.
Children’s Organic Fruit Squeeze Pouch Snacks
Are you willing to allow your toddler to eat a chocolate chip cookie or a big bowl of ice cream every time she asks for a snack? If the thought of allowing your baby to eat in this manner irkes you than you need to rethink your choice of children’s snacks.
Recently, the baby food market has become flooded with a series of organic fruit squeeze pouches designed to serve as healthy snacks for toddlers. While these fruit squeeze pouches do in fact contain a series of mashed organic fruit and vegetables, they also contain high levels of fruit concentrates and sugar.
For instance, one 4 oz Peter Rabbit Organics Fruit Squeeze Pouch contains 80-100 calories and 17 to 22 grams of sugar (4 to 5 1/2 tsp). Likewise, one 4 oz Earth’s Best Organic Fruit Yogurt Smoothie – Strawberry Banana contains 15 grams of sugar (4 tsp). And one pouch of
Gerber Graduates Grabbers Squeezable Fruit Banana Blueberry manages to pack 20 grams of sugar (5 tsp) into 100 calories.
The problem with such fruit pouches is that children eat the fruits contained in them in a concentrate form which deprives them of the fiber naturally present in fruit while concentrating the sugar levels. This can lead to elevated childhood obesity levels and high blood sugar levels in childhood as well as childhood tooth decay.
“The constant exposure of sugar on their teeth is detrimental,” Paul Casamassimo, oral health research and policy center director at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, told NPR. “There’s nothing in the puree that makes this more deadly to the tooth than the natural food; it’s how we consume it,” he said. “With whole fruit, you eat it; with the pouches you may keep eating it over a span of hours. It’s the amount of time your teeth are exposed to sugar.” (source)
Essentially, many brands of commercially produced granola bars are nothing more than candy bars dressed up to sound healthy.
For example, one Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Clif bar contains 22 grams of sugar (5 1/2 tsp). Likewise, the Quaker company manages to pack 19 grams of sugar into one of their Quaker Oatmeal to Go, Brown Sugar Cinnamon bars along with high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, sodium, and a long list of artificial flavors and preservatives. See Label Here
The healthy option is to make your own granola bars. This is my favorite healthy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars Recipe
Sports Drinks & Vitamin Water
Are you willing to eat 8 tablespoons of sugar after an intense workout? If you answered “NO!” to this question you need to rethink your choice of post-workout sports drinks.
Many sports drinks, especially the newly invented Vitamin Water, are nothing more than well marketed bottles of sugar water.
For instance, Gatorade packs 28 grams of sugar (7 tsp) into every 20 ounce bottle. Likewise, Glaceau has managed to pack a Diabetes-inducing 32 grams of sugar (8 tsp) into their 20 ounce bottles of Vitamin Water.
The marketing companies tasked with the sale of these products have us conditioned to believe that if we workout for more than 1 hour a day we need a sports drink to rehydrate us. But the fact of the matter is that drinking 20 ounces of water will do the same without the added sugar and empty calories.
In fact, the only way you’ll be able to burn off 32 grams of sugar after a workout is if you are a 300lb NFL player who just finished playing in the Super Bowl.
Flavored Packaged Oatmeal
A steaming hot bowl of oatmeal is a high fiber breakfast option that contains a variety of health benefits. Unfortunately though, many of oatmeal’s health benefits are dwarfed in comparison to the amount of sugar which is often packed into commercial brands of flavored oatmeal.
For instance, one pack of Instant Cream of Wheat, Apples ‘n Cinnamon contains 15 grams of sugar and most of us eat at least 2 packs at breakfast which equals to 30 grams of sugar (7 1/2 tsp) or the amount of sugar in one large cookie. Likewise, one packet of Quaker Instant Oatmeal Dinosaur Eggs, made with whole-grain oats, and marketed exclusively to children, contains 14 grams of sugar.
Often, fruit flavored yogurts are marketed as the perfect dieter’s snack. However, most of these yogurt manufacturers don’t also advertise the fact that their presumably healthy fruit flavored yogurts are flavored using a variety of artificial fruit flavors, fruit concentrate, modified corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice and sugar.
The Yoplait line of fruit flavored yogurts is a prime example of such high sugar yogurt snacks because they are aggressively marketed towards weight-conscious consumers, particularly women.
- Yoplait Original Lemon Burst packs 26 grams of sugar (6 1/2 tsp) into 6 ounces of yogurt
- Yoplait Strawberry also contains 26 grams of sugar into 6 ounces of yogurt
- Breyers Fruit on the Bottom Peach Orange Mango contains 27 grams of sugar per 6 ounces
The frozen foods aisles of many grocery stores have recently become inundated with a series of desserts aimed at satisfying the sweet tooth of perpetual dieters.
Of course, the bulk of these diet desserts are brought to us by such diet conglomerates as Weight Watchers and Laughing Cow. But, are these diet desserts really as diet-friendly as they claim to be?
Well, read the nutrition labels and judge for yourselves:
- One Weight Watchers Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream cup contains 22 grams of sugar (5 1/2 tsp)
- Two Weight Watchers English Toffee Crunch bars contain 20 grams of sugar (5 tsp)
- One cone of Skinny Cow low-fat ice cream contains 19 grams of sugar (5 tsp)
- One Weight Watchers Giant Chocolate Fudge bar contains 16 grams sugar (4 tsp)
- One Weight Watchers Giant Cookies & Cream bar contains 15 grams sugar (4 tsp)
- One Skinny Cow low-fat fudge bar contains 13 grams of sugar (3 tsp)
photo courtesy of: theimpulsivebuy