We all eat way too much sugar, many of us without even knowing it. Everyone knows that a candy bar, or a piece of cake, or a soda have a lot of sugar but how about your organic yogurt? Or the 100% real fruit juice you’re putting in your child’s lunchbox? Added sugars are coming from places that we don’t expect, and are way over our daily limits.
Here is a sugar shocker- the recommended daily allowance for sugar for children under 10 is just 4 grams (or 1 teaspoon). So, if your child’s snack has 12 grams of sugar – that is equivalent to 3 teaspoons- then they have already exceeded the RDA for added sugar.
Here are five ways sugar can sneak into your diet, even if you’re sticking to “healthy” options.
Even the good organic yogurts have between 20 and 30 grams of sugar per serving. The yogurts marketed to kids have even more. If a yogurt has 30 grams of sugar that is equivalent to 7.5 teaspoons of sugar. Can you imagine handing your child 7.5 teaspoons of sugar for a snack?
Look for unsweetened and unflavored yogurts. Add your own fruit and a touch of honey for the same effect and WAY less sugar.
#2. Energy Bars
These can be deceiving. They can have as many as 20 grams of sugar (that’s 5 teaspoons of sugar) per bar. Read the labels. Look for bars that have less than 10 grams per bar. Often the same brand will have one bar that has a high sugar content and another that will be reasonable. Don’t be deceived by the organic varieties.
#3. Sports Drinks
These can have as many as 21 grams of sugar per 12oz serving. Keep in mind that many of these sugary drinks have more than one serving per bottle. That means in a 20oz bottle there are approximately 9 teaspoons of sugar. Ouch!
Another killer is that these drinks contain high levels of sodium which dehydrate you, and dyes which are shown to cause hyperactivity in sensitive individuals.
Drink coconut water or water instead.
On average a 7oz juice box has 10 grams of sugar (the worst varieties have as many as 25 grams!) That is 2.5 teaspoons per juice box for the good varieties.
Drink water or dilute the juice 3 to 1. That will cut down on the sugar while still maintaining the taste.
#5. Breakfast cereal
Instant flavored oatmeal has 16 grams of sugar while a simple toasted rice cereal has 10grams. The sugary breakfast cereals are packed with even more sugar and have an average of 12 grams of sugar per ¾ cup serving. That’s 3 teaspoons per serving!
Look for low sugar cereals (less that 8 grams per serving) and eat unsweetened unflavored oatmeal. Add your own fruit, cinnamon and a little maple syrup.
The unhealthy truth is that if you give your child some instant oatmeal for breakfast, add a juice box and a yogurt to their lunchbox, and give them an energy bar and a sports drink for a snack after soccer practice, you have given them 27 grams of sugar. That’s 7 times the recommended daily allowance!
The healthy solution? Read the nutrition labels carefully on whatever you buy and choose the lowest sugar varieties.