Sugar has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, and cutting back on the white stuff can seriously help your health.
Because of this, the World Health Organization (WHO) released guidelines saying that less than 10 percent of your calories should come from sugar. And slashing it to 5 percent is even better, preventing several chronic conditions. Unfortunately, the average American consumes about 15 percent of their calories (about 300 on a 2,000-calorie diet) from sugar.
You can pass up desserts and try sipping your lattes sans sugar, but there are several sneaky sources of sweeteners that you may be unknowingly consuming.
Avoid these eight items to stick to your 5 percent goal (100 calories, or six teaspoons of sugar a day) and curb your intake:
Yes, yogurt can be a superfood, but certain types, especially the ones with "fruit at the bottom," often contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup in addition to real fruit. A six-ounce container can have more than 30 grams of sugar, which is approximately the newly suggested intake!
The natural sugars from fruit don't wreak nearly as much havoc as processed sugars. Avoid any extra sweeteners by passing up fruit with "light syrup." The term light is misleading, because many of these cans contain upwards of 20 grams of sugar per serving.
Even the whole-grain, oat-topped variety of these baked good can be super sugary. Some mixes average about 15 grams of sugar per muffin, and the ones in coffee shops can be even worse!
Granola and Cereal Bars
These popular snacks are OK in a pinch, but eating them every day may cause a sugar overload. For example, Quaker Oatmeal to Go bars contain up to 19 grams of sugar. You are better off eating bars that don't add any sugar, like Larabars, and get their sweet taste from real fruit.
You may be surprised to see this savory sauce on the list. But many companies try to balance the acidity in tomatoes with something sweeter…and sometimes they can go overboard. Chew on this: Ragu's Garden Combination contains 10 grams of sugar in each half cup. If you have a cup of sauce, you are well on your way to your sugar limit.
Sugar is often added to these to complement savory meats. Some sauces contain between 12-14 tablespoons for just two tablespoons -- the same as if you ate a small handful of jelly beans!
Juices and "Healthy" drinks
We all know sodas are laden with sweeteners, but lots of juices, and other seemingly health drinks hide serious sugar counts behind their health halos. V8 Spash drinks, which combine fruits and veggies, contains an average of 17 grams of sugar per eight-ounce serving. The same goes for sports drinks – the sugars in Gatorade and other drinks marketed to athletes can cause big issues if you're not regularly engaging in strenuous activity.
By Mara Betsch
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