631-500-9021 | 50 Station Road, Building 3 Unit 1, Water Mill, NY 11976
631-500-9021 | 50 Station Road, Building 3 Unit 1, Water Mill, NY 11976

The Truth About Sugar

Junk Food Disguised as Health Food

Most people eat way too much sugar, many 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 18 is just 12 grams (or 3 teaspoons). Most simple snacks are well over 20 grams! That’s more than the daily maximum in just one serving.  Please keep in mind that there is no RDA for sugar- only a maximum amount allowed. This means that no amount of sugar is good for you. So, when dealing in the sugar game, you need to spend your sugar dollars wisely. Keep your numbers as low as possible.

Here are five ways sugar can sneak into your diet, even if you’re sticking to “healthy” options.

#1. Yogurt

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.

My favorites are:

Coconut Collaborative non-dairy yogurt =7 grams of sugar (even the flavored variety!)

Lavva non-dairy yogurt = 7 grams of 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.

My favorites are:

Health Warrior Bars= 3 grams of sugar

Made Good Bars =6 grams of sugar


#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.

My favorites are:

Coconut Water= @6 grams per 8oz

Plain Water with Nuun electrolyte tablets = 0 grams of sugar


#4.  Juice

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.

My favorites:

None. Drink water!

If water is not an option you can add a splash of fruit juice to water to give it a hint of flavor.


#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!

Choose unsweetened varieties. You can always add a little maple syrup and some fresh fruit to keep sugar content in check.

My favorites are:

Pure Traditions Hot Cereal= 1 gram of sugar

Nuco Coconut Cereal= 2 grams of sugar

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 more than double the recommended daily allowance!

The healthy solution?  Read the nutrition labels carefully on whatever you buy and choose the lowest sugar varieties.

By Tapp Francke

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