Soda, energy drinks, cupcakes, cookies, yogurt, granola bars, cereal, and the list of sugar-laden temptation goes on. More than 80 percent of the food times in a grocery store have added sugar in them, and they hide under aliases and unpronounceable names, which is why it’s important to pay attention to packaging.

The average American currently consumes 22 to 28 teaspoons of added sugar every day, which is more than four times the recommended amount for men and twice for men. It adds up to 350 to 440 empty calories, and although too many calories from any unhealthful source — whether it’s beer, burgers, fries, or pizza — can be used to explain why one-third of Americans are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of an individual’s sugar consumption comes in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFSC) or ordinary table sugar, known as sucrose.

The public is up against a wall of convoluted information, from struggling to understand nutrition labels to deciphering the veil of names sugar hides behind. To make it easier, commit to memory that 1 teaspoon is equal to 4 grams (g) of sugar or 1 sugar cube, which is also conveniently 1 packet of sugar. Sugar equivalent graphs are also useful for simple conversions, especially for children.

Take a cup of Cheerios, for instance. It’s only 1 gram of sugar — that’s barely even a teaspoon. Compare that to the popular Yoplait strawberry yogurt, which contain 27g of sugar, or 7 sugar cubes. However, when you take a look at fruits, vegetables, or dairy, the sugar is a natural and healtful source full of fiber. It digests differently than refined sugar or high fructose corn sugar is processed through the body.

Americans should keep in mind their sugar intake should stay below 10 percent of their total calories, according to new guidelines provided by the World Health Organization. Men should stay below 150 –calories worth sugar that’s equal to 37.5g of 9 teaspoons, while women should stay below 100 calories, 25g of sugar, or 6 teaspoons a day.

 

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