By Terres Gacek
Who doesn’t love a warm hot fudge brownie or freshly baked chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven? When I go to a restaurant with my family, the first thing my mom looks at is the dessert menu. Like many other people out there, my mom loves her chocolate and sweets. I am no better myself; I am a candy addict. I love gummies, sweet tarts or any kind of fruit candy. My mom and I are just two examples out of many others who love sugar. The problem is not eating too much cake or ice cream or candy, but rather the problem is in foods we think are healthy.
The American Heart Association recommends a daily amount of 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men, but Americans exceed the recommended daily amount of sugar by about 20 teaspoons. In Dana Angelo White’s article, “Are You Eating Too Much Sugar”, she reveals some of those hidden sugary foods you might want to think twice about next time you go to the store.
The first thing she discusses in her article is the difference between natural sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars are found in fruit, and added sugars are generally artificial sweeteners found low nutrients food such as soda, fruit snacks, chips, and cereal. This can be very confusing to consumers, especially when the package reads “natural artificial sweetener”. There is a lot of misguided labeling on foods. When looking at a food’s ingredients, look at the grams of sugar and the daily value percentage. These are to help show the consumer how much nutritional value is in one serving of that food.
The first food White mentions is granola bars. A granola bar is a great alternative to a chocolate bar and can be eaten as a healthy snack. Granola can be made of a mixture of nuts, oats, seeds, dried fruit, and sometimes little pieces of chocolate. The mixture of nuts, oats, and seeds provide a good source of energy and good fats. A granola bar can be a good mid day snack. But be careful because not all Granolas are created equal. Some brands add chocolate, or a fruity coating. This addition increases the amount of sugar in the granola bar, sometimes decreasing the nutritional value.
Cereal is another food with too much sugar content. Most cereals contain way too much sugar and don’t provide much nutritional value. For Example, Fruit Loops has 12 grams of sugar per one cup serving, according to nutrition resource. Some examples of very sugary cereals are: Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, and Captain Crunch to name a few. Examples of cereal with more nutritional values are Cheerios, Chex’s, or cereals that are made from rice or flax seed.
Yogurt is a very popular food item that I think most people get confused about. Most people don’t’ normally think about yogurt as unhealthy. White mentions Greek yogurt as having lower sugar content. Greek yogurt is a much healthier option, compared to other kinds of yogurt. Authority Nutrition states nonfat Greek yogurt has about 3.2 grams of sugar while low fat plain yogurt has 7 grams of sugar, and nonfat fruit yogurt has about 19 gram of sugar. Be wary of flavored yogurt because this usually has more sugar because of the additive sugars.
Juice is also something most people don’t initially think of as unhealthy. Recently people have started to understand the dangerous of juice. About 12 oz of off the shelf apply juice has about 39 grams of sugar. Most juices are made with mostly sugar and artificial sweeteners. Some people claim that juice can be as unhealthy as pop. White suggests that when purchasing juice always makes sure to look for “made with 100% fruit juice” on the label.
The last food on White’s list is salad dressing. When you are trying to eat healthier or lose weight, a common go to healthy meal is a salad. How could a salad ever be unhealthy? Well, there are many things such as cheese, crotons, and bacon that can quickly turn a salad from good to bad. By adding too much or the wrong kind of salad dressing can also decrease the nutritional value of your salad. Try making your own honey dressing or a sweet taste or oil and vinegar for more of a savory flavor.
Link to Dana Angelo White’s article http://www.foodnetwork.com/features/apple-news/a/are-you-eating-too-much-sugar.html