Learn the Labels: Huh? How Much Sugar is in That Soda?

Posted on March 21, 2010 
Filed Under High School Reunion Diet Blog

Nutrition labels on the back of American foods are written in in grams. As consumers, we’re not used to grams, and maybe didn’t learn to translate their meaning in school. So we’re already at a disadvantage when it comes to reading nutrition labels.

Here’s a quick lesson–and take it from an MD,  it’s imperative that you know how much sugar you’re consuming in every can of soda or bowl of cereal or glass of fruit juice.  So remember to always turn the package or carton or bottle over to check the line on the label that indicates the amount of the product’s “sugars.” (Conversions provided by Gourmet Sleuth):

1. Candy Bar- Candy bars contain an average of 30 grams of sugar.  That’s about 6 teaspoons.

2. Soda- Usually has 39 or more grams of sugar, or  8.2 teaspoons–even more than the candy bar, which we were well aware was full of sugar.  Can you imagine putting over eight teaspoons of sugar in your morning tea or coffee? Soda sports this much in every serving;  it’s dangerous and there is no excuse for drinking it.

3. Fruit Juice- Often you’ll find more than 22 grams of sugar in a single serving of fruit juice; this amount translates to 4.6 teaspoons.  Remember, The High School Reunion Diet teaches us to eat our fruit whole.  A whole fruit still has its fiber, which slows the conversion of sugar (fructose) into glucose in our systems.  This is important in preventing the kind of insulin resistance that results from habitual eating or drinking of sugars.

Those are just three examples of products with high sugar content.  But almost all packaged foods contain added sugars–not only for sweetness, but for consistency and shelf life.  We recommend avoiding packaged foods as much as possible, and always checking the sugar content on any packaged food–not just the usual suspects like cereals, yogurts with fruit and/or syrups; ‘health bars,’ ‘sports drinks,’ ‘smart’ snacks et al.

For more on the effects of sugar on your long term health and beauty, see the section titled “Drug Test” in The High School Reunion Diet.

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