Recently, the American Heart Association came out with guidelines for sugar intake. Women should limit their sugar intake to 25 grams per day and men to 37.5 grams/day. This seems reasonable until you look at some of the “hidden” or “added” sugars and realize you can reach your daily limit at breakfast! For example, bagels can have up to 10 grams of sugar and if you add certain peanut butters, that’s another 3 grams. Granolas are notoriously high—that’s why they taste so good. Some granolas have 30 grams of sugar/cup. Plain yogurt has about 12 grams of sugar but added flavoring can bring you up to 35 grams.
Even if you keep under your daily limit through breakfast, your day could be a challenge. Ketchup has 4 grams of added sugar/tablespoon…..and we’re more worried about the fat in french fries!!!
But, wait a minute! There are some caveats that make this news less alarming. Naturally occurring sugars in fruits and dairy products are less concerning because those foods add needed nutrients to the body. However, food labels do not distinguish between natural and added sugars, making label checking even more complicated. These new guidelines only apply to “added” sugars which add nothing to your nutrient needs. When reading food labels check the ingredients…they can help you identify ‘added’ sugars (e.g., lots of foods list additives like corn syrup!) So, you can still eat lots of fruits and veggies with their naturally occurring sugar! —just don’t dip them in onion dip or ketchup.