Even though I know refined sugar has been added to an exorbitant amount of food products, I was still a little taken aback by this statistic…
“There are 600,000 food items in America. 80% of them have added sugar.” – Fed Up Movie
So, since sugar has been dubbed as “probably the most dangerous part of our current diet,“ I want to once again share some products that honestly have way more added sugar than one would think. Obviously we all know many of these items below are total junk food, but there’s just something about seeing the quantity of sugar piled up high right next to them. And since this is a follow up post be sure to check out the original “More Sugar Than You Think!” article to read more on the following topics: The Problem With Sugar, Added Sugar Vs. Naturally Occuring Sugar (big difference!), and Why Artificial Sweeteners are No Better.
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Before we get started though, here is a handy dandy chart to help you figure out how many teaspoons of sugar are in your food products:
1. Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packets
I like to pick on Quaker Oatmeal, but it’s not because I have anything against just straight-up whole-grain oatmeal. The problem with Quaker is the crazy amount of processed additives they use including half your dose (for women) of recommended added sugar for the day – already just from breakfast. And if you’re a child? Just this one meal alone will reach the recommended added sugar limit. So, I say make it yourself with just plain oats, cinnamon, and a little drizzle of honey (if anything).
2. BBQ Sauce
I think condiments are often overlooked, but with a serving size of 2 tablespoons the sugar in these products can add up fast. I realize living without BBQ sauce (or ketchup for that matter) is a little unrealistic, but just be mindful of how much you are using and how exactly these products are sweetened (many use high fructose corn syrup). I personally love to make my own BBQ from scratch with a natural sweetener instead of refined sugar and, oh boy, the taste is far superior! My recipe will be in my upcoming cookbook.
Getting my kids to drink and enjoy water was a process. It took at least 6 months, but they finally turned the corner and it’s now their go-to drink after playing outside. So I get it, juices and kool-aid are a crowd pleaser, but when the recommended daily allowance of sugar for kids is just 3 teaspoons I say skip the sugary beverages – or at the very least water them down. And don’t be fooled into thinking the “sugar free” version is any better. In my opinion those are (unfortunately) even worse!
4. Cake Frosting
What’s startling about this one is that the 4 1/2 teaspoons of sugar doesn’t even include the cake. If this isn’t a good reminder to eat sweets and other treats in true moderation then I don’t know what is!
Can we all agree there’s not a whole lot of nutritional value going on here? Food Babe recently did an investigation all about this childhood staple. If the crazy amounts of artificial dyes and other additives didn’t already scare you away, please take a look at the added sugar and rethink your stance! And once again, don’t be fooled by the “sugar free” version either.
6. Twix Bar
If anything, I think this one is a good yard stick when looking at the other products on this page. Let’s think about it – half this candy bar has the same amount of sugar as that oatmeal breakfast above. And the beverage below has even more sugar than the whole bar! We all know candy bars are notorious for being sugar-loaded, so what does that tell us about the others?
7. Red Bull
If you’re feeling low on energy the last thing you need to do is reach for a Red Bull (or anything highly processed for that matter)! All that sugar – more than what’s in the candy bar above – might give you a brief burst of energy, but it’s not what your body needs in the long run. I used to get those afternoon crashes myself, but shortly after cutting out all things highly processed (and starting to depend more on whole foods – including lots of fresh produce) I couldn’t believe how much more energy I had. Just give the real food lifestyle a go for a few weeks and see how you feel!
I have quite a few friends who eat fairly healthy, but still do an occasional soda – or worse – have a spouse that just can’t kick their addiction. I am a firm believer that soda with real sugar is far better than the fake stuff you’ll find in the diet version – BUT – this bottle of Pepsi has more than 17 teaspoons of sugar! That’s more than a third a cup, and quite honestly just crazy to consume in one sitting!
Let’s not forget, people are eating (on average) four times the amount of sugar that’s recommended and this alone can be detrimental to our health. Plus, as I eluded to above, Mark Bittman says, “Added sugar . . . is the tobacco of the twenty-first century” and “probably the most dangerous part of our current diet.” So it might be a good time to rethink that soda habit.
Have any products recently surprised you with the amount of sugar they contain? Please share in the comments.