Sugar’s Surprising Hideouts

Posted by Patti Scuilli on January 12, 2018

January 15 to 19  is Sugar Awareness Week. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the daily amount of added sugar to about 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men. Most of us consume much more: about 22 to 30 teaspoons per day… more than 90 pounds  of sugar per year!

Why limit intake of added sugars? Reducing the amount of added sugars cuts calories and can help you improve your heart health and control your weight, according to the AHA.

“Awareness” is an important word, as there are many surprising “hideouts” for the sweet stuff. Here are a few surprising sugar sources:

  1. Jarred pasta sauce: Read those labels! One popular brand of traditional tomato sauce lists sugar as the third ingredient after tomato puree and diced tomatoes. (On food labels, ingredients are listed in order by weight, meaning the largest amounts are listed first.) Canned tomato products such as spaghetti sauce are a major source of lycopene, an antioxidant associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and prostrate cancer. You don’t want to cut sauce from your diet, but you do want to compare the sugar content in your favorite brands
  2. Instant oatmeal: Packed with fiber, oatmeal helps lower cholesterol and leaves you feeling fuller. But many of the flavored, instant packets are loaded with sugar: almost 4 teaspoons (15 grams) in a single serving of one popular brand’s cinnamon spice  flavor. Plain oatmeal has no sugar (stir in fresh fruit for sweetness), or opt for low-sugar varieties, i.e. those with 4 to 6 grams per serving.
  3. Fat-free salad dressing: Often what manufacturers trim in fat, they replace with sugar, sodium and other undesirable ingredients. One brand’s fat-free honey Dijon has 4 grams of sugar in every teaspoon of dressing. Scan the label before buying any bottled dressing. Many have 2 to 3 grams of sugar per serving.
  4. Juice cocktails: Soda is probably the first drink to drop when trying to curb sugar, but watch the juices too. Cranberry juice cocktail has 7 1/2 teaspoons (30 grams) in an 8 oz. glass; that’s more sugar than in the same amount of soda.

Questions? Patti Sciulli, JCC Group Exercise/Wellness Director, can be reached at 412-697-3507 or submit the Contact Form below and she’ll get back to you shortly.

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