'Healthy' Snacks That Smother Your Diet in Sugar

Adriana Velez

sugar crystalsHere's a quick math lesson for your body (bear with me, bikini season is coming): Did you know that the average U.S. adult consumes 22.2 teaspoons of sugar daily? That's 105 grams of sugar, which adds up to 355 calories.

That sounds like a lot, but start your day with a two-ounce bowl of Cap'n Crunch (24g), have a 16-ounce Jamba Juice Sunrise Banana Berry smoothie (59g) with lunch, and a Yoplait strawberry yogurt (27g) for a snack and you're already at 110 grams of sugar.

That menu doesn't sound so excessive. Sure, you started the day with a sugary cereal, but then you had two healthy snacks, right? So how much sugar do nutritionists think we should be eating? Half that much?

You wish!

If you're an average-sized woman maintaining your weight with about 1,800-2,000 calories a day, you should limit your sugar to 6-8 teaspoons a day. That's 29 to 37 grams of added sugar. If you're trying to lose weight, you'll need to cut your sugar even more.

In other words, swap the Cap'n Crunch for Cheerios (1g of sugar), eat a banana (17g) instead of slurping the smoothie, and have the Yoplait light yogurt (14g) instead of the regular yogurt and you're right in the sweet spot, with 32 grams of sugar. In fact, since there are no "added sugars" in bananas, you can consider it a sweet freebie. But don't get too excited -- once you get into the habit of looking at the ingredients lists for your favorite packaged foods, you'll start noticing that there's added sugar in just about everything: frozen meals, crackers, spaghetti sauce. It all adds up.

Americans seem especially vulnerable to sugars in liquid form. A 20-ounce Coke will deliver 60 grams of sugar to your system, twice what you should be consuming. But did you know a 16-ounce bottle of orange juice has 48 grams of sugar? Apple has even more -- 52 grams. Oh sure there are supposedly two servings in that 16-ounce bottle, but who drinks half and puts the rest away for tomorrow? As a doctor friend of mine once said about juice, "You might as well drink a soda."

So, trying to get a handle on all the sugar in your life? Bwa ha ha, you're screwed!

Okay, not necessarily. But you know the drill -- same advice you hear all the time: cut out the processed foods and sweet drinks and fill up on fresh fruit and water instead. Now you know why.

Sugar counts via SugarStacks.com.


Image via Emilian Robert Vicol/Flickr

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