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Sugar: 5 Surprising Places It's Hiding

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The average adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is nearly half a cup.

Not only are diets high in sugar a concern for type 2 diabetes, but can also raise blood pressure, cholesterol levels, increase the risk of heart disease… and also cause weight gain.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “I don't eat a lot of sugar. I don't eat candy, ice cream, cookies.” You may even be thinking, “This doesn’t pertain to me. I don't even like sweets!” While either of these situations may very well be true and your sugar consumption may be lower than the average adult... stick with us for a moment. ;)

According to the American Heart Association, adult women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars per day (9 teaspoons for men). But since nutrition labels are measured in grams, remember this: 4 grams of sugar is equal to about 1 teaspoon.

For example: If the nutrition label of a chocolate bar lists 20 grams of sugar, that single chocolate bar contains 4 teaspoons of added sugar.

Believe it or not, added sugars can be found foods outside of candy.

Here are 5 surprising places where sugar hides:

  1. CONDIMENTS - often referred to as “empty calories” condiments are one of the most common places to find added sugars. Furthermore, it’s a place where we aren’t as stringing with measuring, so consuming more than 1 serving is fairly common. A single tablespoon of ketchup contains 1 teaspoon of sugar. Many salad dressings contain 4-7 grams of sugar per serving. And don't let the “fat-free” labels fool you; those contain sugar too! Pasta sauces are another culprits in the sugar scene as well.

  2. YOGURT - While yogurts promote the benefits of calcium, vitamins, and nutrients, a quick glance at most yogurt labels reveal a surprising amount of added sugars. One yogurt can contain up to 4.5 teaspoons of sugar.

  3. SNACK BARS - these grab and go’s are convenient snacks for busy families trying to stay fueled between errands, after-school activities and such. But some have the sugar equivalent of a candy bar.

  4. CEREAL - we all realize now that most cereals we loved as a kid are high in sugar (that’s what made them taste so good when we were younger, right?). But it’s not just the “kid-friendly” cereals that are offenders. Many labeled “high fiber” or “bran” contain just as much sugar as our favorite kid cereals.

  5. COFFEE CREAMER - There’s no denying those creamers make our coffee even more indulgent. Almost like a dessert. Well, considering one serving (1 tbsp) is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar, I guess it’s not entirely surprising. Our beloved creamers are another place where overindulgence can easily happen. (‘Cause let’s be honest… who really measures out just 1 tbsp of creamer?!)


If this list has you throwing your hands up saying, “Great. Everything has sugar. Everything is bad for me. So, what CAN I eat?”... Remain calm.

This isn’t a rule book telling you what to give up, but rather to arm you with some awareness to ensure you are equipped with the information to achieve your goals. Our goal is to not only to provide you with the knowledge and tools to be successful LONG TERM in your wellness journey but to also help you find balance in your everyday lifestyle.

If you’ve found even one thing that you can easily swap for lower-sugar options, you’re already better off than you were 5 minutes ago.

Now, aren’t you glad you kept reading? ;)

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