Sugar! Do you know how much is lurking in your food?

Sugar is a big topic of discussion lately. Recent investigations have linked sugar consumption to everything from childhood behavior to the possible reason behind obesity in both kids and adults. But how much is too much? And where do you look on a food label to find out this information.

As you see on a Nutrition Facts panel, grams of sugar are listed under “Total Carbohydrates.” These grams of sugar can be derived from natural sugars (fruit or fruit juice), milk sugar (lactose), or just plain sugar (sucrose, organic cane syrup, brown rice syrup, etc). It is important to understand how much sugar is in the product you are consuming when you are assessing if a product is appropriate for you or your family.

Five grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon. As in this example, this particular product contains about NINE teaspoons of sugar! This equals about 146 calories, or better yet, 58% of the total calories in this product were just from sugar!

Sugar is present in a large variety of products; everything from cereals, breads, yogurts, even pasta sauce may contain sugar! Not only is it important to look at the Nutrition Facts panel, but it is equally as important to read the ingredients to determine what is lurking in your food. Look for sugar in the ingredients, or other words like corn sweetener, corn syrup, cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, rice syrup, etc. It is important to make sure these are not among the first few ingredients in the foods you or your family most frequently consumes.

Check out my recent interview on NBC 5 Chicago to learn more about slashing sugar in your daily diet.

Lara Field MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Specialist in Pediatrics with over a decade of clinical and client experience. When she’s not actively working to keep her clients healthy, she’s a busy mother of two active boys and loves testing new recipes in her kitchen. Follow her on Instagram to see her recipe ideas, product suggestions, and see how she manages a healthy lifestyle @larafield.