Watching out for Added Sugar!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a recommendation on a daily cap for added sugar. This is the first time this has happened. The guidelines are that Americans should not be consuming more than 10% of their total calories for the day from added sugar. This equates to about 12.5 teaspoons or about 50 grams per day. Now if you are wondering what 50 grams of added sugar might look like, think of a can of regular soda. The regular, sugar sweetened soda contains about 50 grams of added sugar. Other common food items were added sugar can be found would include any type of sweet treats (food or beverage). 

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There are some foods that contain sugar naturally - like fruit, dairy, honey, etc. These items are NOT included in the added sugar recommendation. The dairy and fruit contain other nutrients (vitamin and minerals) as well has fiber in the fruit and protein in the dairy. This makes these naturally sweet food items, great and healthy picks. The honey or agave are good sweeteners, but they will contain the same amount of calories, just the source of the sugar will be different. 

You may not have thought about this, but there are some food items that contain "hidden" sugar that we perceive as "healthy." For example, yogurt with added fruit, granola, bread, ketchup, canned fruit, canned coups, salad dressing and pasta sauce. Now, none of the items are inherently bad, but we do need to make sure we are aware of the sugar that is added to them and maybe limit our intake of them if the sugar is a problem (for example, with diabetic individuals).

  • To make your yogurt healthier, get the plain or the vanilla and add your own fresh fruit to it.
  • Watch out for granola because it not only has added sugar, but also fat. Eat this in moderation or add a little to plain yogurt.
  •  Bread does have some sugar added to it, but normally this is a small amount and I wouldn't worry too much about it. 
  • Condiments can have a lot of added sugar, especially the low/non-fat dressings. They have removed the fat and added sugar in its place. I would also choose a regular fat dressing and just use it sparingly. 

Hopefully these tips and tricks have been helpful when it comes to trying to abide by the recommend of keeping added sugar to 10% or less of our total calories each day!