It’s time to get Sugar Shocked. Every day, you may be among millions, who are unknowingly gorging on some 60 to 90 teaspoons of Sneaky Hidden Sugars™, as I call them.
Without realizing it, you may be overdosing on hidden sweeteners a whopping 22 times a day, as I revealed in Part 1 of this blog post
How did I arrive at this astounding figure?
If you’re eating or drinking processed foods and beverages from bottles, cans, jars or packages, you may be shoveling in Sneaky Hidden Sugars repeatedly into your poor body.
Now, in Part 2, I’ll show you the many “innocent,” subtle and unlikely places where Sneaky Hidden Sugars hide.
Remember, whenever you eat hidden sugars, they can put your sugar cravings into high gear.
- 6 or 7 a.m.: You pour 1/4 cup of soy milk (which contains about 1/3 of a teaspoon of sugar), along with 1 teaspoon of sugar into one a large cp of coffee or tea before you head out to work or drive the kids to school. (That’s 1 1/3 tsp. of sugar.)
- 8 a.m.: You hurriedly down an allegedly healthy 6-ounce container of fruit-flavored yogurt before leaving home. (6 teaspoons of sugar—double the amount of sugar in plain low-fat yogurt. Please note that the sugar in plain yogurt is naturally occurring and therefore may be okay for many to consume—that is, if you don’t have medical reasons to avoid dairy.)
- 9 a.m.: When you get to work, you gulp down another two cups of coffee, with more sugar. (Add 2 teaspoons of sugar.)
- 12 p.m.: For lunch, you virtuously order a salad, but then you pour on two packets of pomegranate vinaigrette (While sugar content in vinaigrette dressings vary, this particular type has about 4.5 teaspoons of sugar.)
- Also, 12 p.m: You toss in about 1/3 cup of dried cranberries to your salad. (Add roughly 9 1/2 teaspoons of mostly added sugar.)
- Same time: With your midday meal, you have half a whole wheat bagel, thinking you’re being “good” by not eating the whole thing. (4/5 of a teaspoon of sugar.)
- Still lunchtime: For vital protein, you toss in a generous portion (4 ounces) of antibiotic-free turkey onto your salad. (That’s 1 teaspoon of sugar that comes from honey and maple syrup. Yes, most kinds of deli meats contain sweeteners.)
- 2 p.m.: When your throat gets scratchy, you take two cough drops. (Add another 1.5 teaspoons or more of sugar that comes from both sugar and starch syrup, a sugar-based syrup.)
- 3 p.m.: While facing deadlines at work and/or being upset because your child got a failing grade in math, you nervously chew two pieces of gum. (Calculate another 3 teaspoons. But sugarless gum is no better. The sweet taste can cause insulin surges, according to researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine, as reported in the journal Diabetes Care. Plus, compelling research suggests that sugar-free foods may activate sugar cravings.)
- 4 p.m.: For a snack, you gobble two big spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons) of almond butter onto three pieces of celery. (Again, you think you’re being “so good,” but oops, two tablespoons of the brand you selected has about 3/4 teaspoons of sugar.
- Same time: You also nosh on 15 wheat crackers. (Some brands have no added sugar—which I’ll tell you about in an upcoming blog post—but this one has 1 teaspoon.)
Wait your sugar-filled day is only half over. Here’s what the rest of your typical day may look like:
- 6:30 p.m.: Before dining at your favorite restaurant with your honey, you chill out with a couple of screwdrivers. (10 teaspoons sugar for two cocktail-sized glasses.)
- 7 p.m.: You begin dinner with a shrimp cocktail, which you generously dip into 1/4 cup of cocktail sauce. (Add about 2 3/4 teaspoons of sugar.)
- Also at 7 p.m.: While waiting for your main course, you nibble on a slice of whole grain bread, which, probably, unbeknownst to you, contains sugar, honey and molasses. (That’s another 3/4 of a teaspoon of sweeteners.)
- Still at dinner: You have another salad with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette. (Another 1 1/4 teaspoons of added sugars.)
- 7:45 p.m.: For your entrée, you order a healthful, free-range burger and add two large squirts of ketchup, plus a dash of low-fat mayonnaise and honey mustard. (Roughly 2 3/4 teaspoons of sugar.)
- Same time: To make your dinner healthier, you order sautéed vegetables and pour on a 1 cup of scrumptious-looking, marinara sauce (6 teaspoons of added sugars.) (Marinara sauce, as I discovered, is a major sugar trap. Read about the recent time I accidentally overdosed on Sneaky Hidden Sugars while at a spiritual retreat. My Sugar Hangover—which dragged on for three days—ruined the wonderful event for me, because I was blasted by ferocious headaches, fatigue, the jitters, mental confusion and dizziness.If you’ve accidentally, pigged out on sugar, learn how to Recover from a Sugar Hangover.)
- 8 p.m.: To round out your meal, you skip sugary dessert such as chocolate cake or mousse and get a side of fruit salad instead. Oops! You didn’t ask the waiter if your seemingly healthy dessert contains fresh fruit. (About 5 teaspoons for canned fruit salad, which is drenched in high fructose corn syrup, sugar and corn syrup).
- 9:30 p.m.: On your way home, you mindlessly nosh on four pieces of dried mango. (You’re fooling yourself with this choice, because dried fruit is a Sugar Bomb that’s much like candy. Even a few slices can send sugar swirling through your body. (Add another 8 teaspoons of sugars. It’s also time for my Mango Confession. I used to be so hooked on the stuff until a doctor woke me up to the fact that I wasn’t truly sugar-free by eating it.)
- 10 p.m. Before bedtime, you drink a glass of soothing chamomile tea. (2 teaspoons of sugar).
Wait! We haven’t finished tallying up your intake of Sneaky Hidden Sugars!
I left out two popular, allegedly healthful foods full of those “natural sugars,” which you also may be consuming, thinking you’re doing your body good.
- 10 a.m. Come mid-morning, you grab a 10-ounce container of commercial green juice while going for a quick walk with your work buddy. Your supposedly healthy drink still contains a whopping 37.5 grams, or 9 1/3 teaspoons worth of sugars coming from fruit juices, pulp and puree. Wait a minute, you may think, how can green juice contain 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar? (Special thanks to my colleague J.J. Virgin, author of the Sugar Impact Diet, for the heads up about this sugar-loaded commercial green juice.)
- 5 or 6 p.m. After work or a workout, you get a delicious fruit smoothie, with fresh peaches, strawberries, mango and soy milk. (It’s a Sugar Shocker. This small-sized drink still contains 41 grams—or 10 ¼ teaspoons worth—of added sugars.)
Now let’s do some math. When you add up the numbers of teaspoons of hidden sugars from items 1 through 19 (above), you come up with nearly 70 teaspoons of Sneaky Hidden Sugars, that you’ve inadvertently consumed, because you may not have realized that honey, maple syrup, starch syrup, molasses high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup are All Sugars by Other Names.
Then, when you include your green juice and fruit smoothie, you’re taking in another 19 1/2 teaspoons of Hidden Sugars.
In conclusion, over the course of the day, you’ve plied your poor body with 89 1/2 teaspoons of hidden sugars!
FYI, while you review this day’s intake, bear in mind that:
- Your intake of intake of 60 to almost 90 teaspoons of sugar is far higher than the American Heart Association‘s estimates –the AHA says you may be consuming 22 tsp. of added sugars a day. The organization then suggests that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars a day and 9 teaspoons a day for men.
- In my opinion, many of us shouldn’t follow those liberal AHA guidelines, which allow far too many hidden sugars.
- “Even three teaspoons of refined sugars can throw your body out of balance and compromise its health,” according to anti-sugar pioneer Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., author of Suicide by Sugar.
- Brands matter. The sugar content of the same packaged food product may vary considerably from company to company. That’s why you want to read food labels.
- The above estimates are based on lists of ingredients my researchers and I found on various websites.
- If you buy a packaged food today, it may be different tomorrow, because companies may change their formulations. Today, it may have no sweeteners, but tomorrow it might.
- Sometimes, amounts of hidden sugars that manufacturers add are low enough—less than .5 grams—that the FDA doesn’t require companies to disclose those hidden sugars, but don’t let that fool you. As you can see here, hidden sugars add up when you repeatedly consume them over the course of a day.
If you think I’m exaggerating, I challenge you.
Prove me wrong!
Tally up your day’s intake of Sneaky Hidden Sugars. Then tell our Sugar Shock Blog readers about it!
Now, it’s time for you to Ramp up your Sugar Sleuthing!
Join the Conversation: Are you surprised? What items on this list astound you?
How many hidden sugars have you consumed today?