How much added sugar are you consuming? Chances are, it's a lot. (For Spectrum Health Beat)
How much added sugar do you consume each day? Chances are, it’s a lot. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Many people think of the obvious when asked about foods high in sugar. Soda pop, candy or desserts, right?

Yes, but how much sugar is hiding in so-called “healthy” foods?

Just because a food is not thought of as a sweet does not mean it is not loaded with sugar.

Plus, manufacturers may use fancy words to hide the fact that a product contains quite a bit of the sweet stuff.

Why be concerned about sugar? Increased sugar intake has been linked to excess weight and obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, increased cardiovascular disease risk, stroke and tooth decay. Not to mention the fact that foods with high amounts of added sugar have very little nutritional benefit.

What is considered a sugar?

Look for words on the ingredients list like cane sugar or cane juice, beet juice, corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, dextrin, fruit juice concentrate, honey, agave, dextrose, sucrose or anything ending in -ose, or maple syrup.

Now, of course, many foods have natural sugars in them without the manufacturer adding any. These may be found in fruit or dairy products.

The main concern is with added sugars, which you can find in the ingredients listed above.

It is recommended to keep these added sugars to less than 10 percent of your total calories (or about 50 grams on average or 12 teaspoons). Most Americans average 20 or more teaspoons.

You might say you certainly do not add 12 teaspoons of sugar to any particular food, but it is the hidden, added sugars in processed foods that get Americans in trouble.

Take a look at some common foods you might be surprised at how much sugar is included:

  • Nature Valley granola bar (for both bars in a package): 12 grams
  • Ketchup: 4 grams in 1 tablespoon
  • Chobani flavored Greek yogurt: 9 to 19 grams in a 6-ounce container (some of which is natural sugar)
  • Pure Leaf peach tea: 46 grams per 18.5-ounce bottle
  • Honey Nut Cheerios: 9 grams in ¾ cup
  • Frosted Mini Wheats: 11 grams per 1 cup
  • Barbeque sauce: 5-15 grams per 2 tablespoons
  • Gatorade: 39 grams per 20-ounce bottle
  • Frozen Margarita: upwards of 40 or more grams in a 12-ounce drink

Be a label investigator and learn about what you are eating.

Try to eat less than the maximum recommendation of 50 grams per day. Track sugar intake for one day and learn how well you are doing.

Be the person who cuts down on sugars for better health.