It sneaks into all sorts of foods


You’ve probably heard it several times before—sugar should be enjoyed in moderation to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The key to moderating your sugar intake is knowing where to find it.

Two primary types of sugar likely to be part of your diet are naturally occurring sugar and added sugar. Naturally occurring sugars are found in fruit and milk and are part of a healthy diet. Added sugars are just that—added to foods and beverages and should be limited.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends women limit sugar to 100 calories (six teaspoons) a day, and men max out at 150 calories (nine teaspoons) a day. In addition to obesity, the AHA links too much added sugar to higher risk for health problems, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

If you want to limit your added sugar intake, the tricky thing is that added sugar isn’t only found in the foods you might think. Sure, cookies have added sugar, but did you know these foods can have a lot of added sugar?

  • Low-fat flavored yogurt
  • Instant flavored oatmeal
  • Flavored iced tea and lemonade
  • Cereal and granola bars
  • Canned and packaged fruit—including apple sauce and diced fruit in syrup
  • Bottled spaghetti sauce
  • BBQ sauce

To avoid high amounts of added sugar, it’s best to make your own foods from fresh ingredients whenever possible. But it can be difficult to cut out prepackaged foods completely, so be sure to take a look at the labels. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity—so the first few ingredients make up the majority of the food. If sugar is listed first, second, or third, you’re likely to get an overdose in just one serving.

Even avid label readers might be fooled. If you’re just looking for “sugar” as an ingredient, you could be getting quite a bit of sugar from ingredients like:

  • Almost anything that ends in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
  • Corn sweeter and syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey and molasses

Once you know which foods have added sugar, the next step is taming your cravings when you know you want something sweet. Check out these WebMD tips to keep your sweet tooth in check.