The average American eats an astonishing 150 pounds (68kg) of sugar every year. We get quite
a bit from sodas and desserts, of course, but sugar also finds its way into all kinds of foods, and
there’s often a lot more there then you might expect.
Next time you’re examining a food label for sugar content, here’s a tip to help you visualize how
much you’re actually eating: every four grams of sugar on the label is the equivalent of a
teaspoon, or an amount about the size of a sugar cube. Here are some examples to help you
visualize the sugar content in some popular foods.
• A lot of people turn to instant oatmeal in the morning, but some flavored varieties pack
as much as 33 grams of sugar – that’s more than 8 teaspoons/sugar cubes. Swap for an
Herbalife® Formula 1 shake made with low fat milk and you’ll eat about 17 g of sugar—
as much as 4 teaspoons less sugar in your breakfast.
• Many popular yogurts are highly sweetened, with as much as 3 teaspoons/sugar cubes
of added sugar in a single-serve container. Instead, try plain yogurt sweetened naturally
with fresh fruit. It’s a healthier alternative with only the sugar already present in the fruit.
• You can taste when beverages are sweet, but you may not realize just how sweet they
really are. A large glass of lemonade can have as much as 15 teaspoons/sugar cubes of
added sugar. A glass of water or mineral water or a cup of tea has none.
• A large mocha-flavored coffee drink from your local coffee store can have as much as 50
grams of sugar added – that’s more than 12 teaspoons/sugar cubes. Swap that for a cup
of coffee with steamed milk and a sprinkle of cocoa powder and you’ve got a tasty drink
with no added sugar.
• Many commercially made pasta sauces have surprising amounts of added sugar – about
5 teaspoons/sugar cubes in a one cup serving. Instead, season up some canned diced
tomatoes with garlic, oregano and basil for a healthier sauce with no added sugar.
Some sugars come to us naturally, of course, from foods like fruits, dairy products and even
some veggies. But food labels don’t distinguish between naturally-occurring sugars and added
sugars, so use your common sense and check the ingredients list. If you don’t see sugar listed,
you know none has been added.