Become a Sugar Sleuth: Look out for added sugars

Sugars are found naturally in some foods we eat, like fruit and yogurt, giving them their sweet taste. But some foods, have sugar artificially added to them. Getting too many of your calories from added sugars can lead to weight gain and other health problems, such as diabetes. High sugar diets also harm your oral health, damaging your teeth and gums.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that kids today eat way too much added sugar.  In fact, they found that among kids aged 2 – 19 nearly one in every six calories they eat and drink comes from some type of added sugar. Yikes!

Finding whether sugar is hiding in foods can be tricky. Even checking a product’s ingredients list can be confusing, since sugar goes by many different names. You can watch for other forms of sugar such as cane juice, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, and sucrose.

You can limit the amount of sugar in your family’s diet by checking the ingredient list on foods you buy for added sugars and following a few simple tips.

At the grocery store…

  • Avoid sodas, sweet teas, sports drinks and other sweetened beverages.
  • If you buy breakfast cereal, skip the frosted or cocoa-flavored cereals.
  • If you choose canned fruit, make sure it’s packed in water or juice, not syrup.
  • Buy more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and fewer processed foods.

At home…

  • Serve your family more low-fat or fat-free milk or water and less fruit juice and fruit drinks. Even 100 percent fruit juice has a high sugar concentration.
  • Limit candy, gum and other sweets that are high in added sugar to special occasions.
  • Use condiments sparingly — sugar is often hiding in salad dressings, BBQ sauce and ketchup.
  • Swap sugary desserts for fresh fruit like berries or watermelon.
  • If you choose dairy-based desserts such as ice cream and sweetened yogurt make sure you’re sticking to one serving size.

Let us know what you’re doing to watch out for added sugar in your family’s diet in the comments section below!

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