When it comes to added sugars, you know the obvious offenders, like sodas and candies. But you may be shocked to discover where else these sweet sabotagers lurk—and what the cost to your body may be. We’re not just talking a little extra pudge, but also an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high LDL (or bad cholesterol). Yikes.
“Sugar tacks unwanted empty calories on to your diet that can rapidly pack on pounds,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN, nutrition consultant to the Chicago Cubs and author of The Flexitarian Diet. “And sugar-loaded foods can oust those that actually pack nutritional benefits, such as from antioxidants, fiber, protein, and vitamins.”
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The American Heart Association recommends men consume less than 150 calories from added sugars daily, which translates to less than 9 teaspoons (or 36 grams). And while it’s easy enough to scan nutrition labels for sugar-grams-per-serving, it’s hard to know how much of that amount is added sugars because the number also includes natural ones—those found in fruit (fructose), milk (lactose) and grains (glucose).
So your best bet? Eyeball ingredients lists. If added sugar (or one of its code names such as agave nectar, cane sweetener, dextrose, HFCS, honey, fruit juice concentrate, malt syrup or molasses) ranks high, or you see several smattered throughout, return that sugar bomb to the shelf. And, of course, keep an eye out for these seven sneaky sources.