Hidden sugar dangers

Published in Weight Management, For the Health of It Author: Kimberly M. Dodds-Thompson, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

While grocery shopping, my daughter held up a box of Pop Tarts and asked, “These are really bad for me, right Mom?” with a very sad look on her face. Of course, I said, “Yes, they are pretty bad.” She replied, “But they taste so good” as she put them back on the shelf.

Don’t fool yourself: sugar can be dangerous. It’s no secret that we as humans often crave a piece of chocolate or another sweet dessert from time to time but few of us know how much hidden sugar is in everyday items such as soft drinks, candy, pastries, cookies and canned fruits. We all know there is sugar in the chocolate we crave but did you know that ketchup is actually high in sugar?

Surprising foods that contain sugar

Here are some foods that include sneaky amounts of sugar:

  • Bottled spaghetti sauce
  • Breakfast cereals and bars
  • Protein bars
  • Dried fruits
  • Yogurt
  • Soda
  • Juice
  • Vitamin energy drinks
  • Flavored milks
  • Flavored coffees
  • Smoothies

Sugar isn’t the only reason obesity in this country has skyrocketed but it is a very large piece of the puzzle. If the trend continues, one in three American adults will have diabetes by 2050. High sugar foods and beverages often contain high calories and these are usually empty calories — without any nutritional benefit.

Prevention is much easier than treating diabetes. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and be physically active. A small amount of sugar in an overall healthy diet is OK. Moderation is the key!