The dangers of sugar are being increasingly exposed across all disciplines. Cardiologists, nutritionists, general practitioners and diet gurus have all begun preaching the insidious effects that sugar has on the body. If all these health professionals can agree on one thing; it’s that sugar is bad for you.

What’s the Problem With Sugar?

how much sugar is bad for you

Sugar has been linked to diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, ADD, ADHD, headache, fatigue, and a host of other ailments that plague people. It’s exciting to think that many people can find relief from some of the most common health issues, simply by reducing or eliminating sugar from the diet. Why, then, are people not actually doing it? What is it that’s preventing people from getting rid of sugar in their diet?

The Nature of Sugar

Sugar is an addictive substance, much like a drug. Some people are more sensitive to sugar’s addictive properties than others, but anyone can become addicted to sugar. And once that addiction starts to imprison a person, it’s very hard to release yourself from it.  begins to crave sugar, and if you deprive the body of sugar in one form, it will simply crave sugar from another source. One of the things that make it so hard to get free of sugar addiction is its ubiquitous presence in the average diet.

What are the Known Sources of Sugar?

known sources of sugar

Some of the things that contain sugar are easily identifiable. Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration, manufacturers of food products must label ingredients and content values on their food products. Some of the obvious sources of sugar in the diet include:

  • Candy
  • Pop/Soda
  • Juice Drinks
  • Ice Cream
  • Sweet Pastries

If you are attempting to free yourself of sugar and get healthier, these are the foods and drinks you need to stop consuming. If you can just stop eating things like fudge, ice cream cones, juice drinks and donuts, you’ll be enjoying a sugar-free diet. Right? Actually, no. The reality is that sugar become such a common ingredient in foods, that even if you stop eating all the “bad stuff” listed above, you could still be ingesting mountainous quantities of sugar, without even realizing it. Are you shocked yet? If not, you will be.

Hidden Sources of Sugar in Your Diet

Check out these foods with sugar in them that you would never have suspected.

  • Salad Dressing – Now, if you’re health-minded, you probably want to incorporate a lot of healthy greens into your diet. But did you know that the salad dressing you use is likely loaded with sugar? For instance, Hidden Valley Organic Ranch Dressing has one gram of sugar. That doesn’t sound like a lot, right? But that’s in just two teaspoons. So for every two teaspoons of dressing, you get ¼ teaspoon of unwanted sugar.
  • Barbeque Sauce – If you follow a high fat, high protein diet such as The South Beach Diet, you’ll be able to indulge in the occasional barbeque ribs or chicken, right? And you’ll need some tangy barbeque sauce to go with it. Most barbeque sauce brands are loaded with sugar, to the tune of 11 grams for every two tablespoons. When you consider that you use a lot more than two tablespoons of barbeque sauce, that’s insanely high. 11 grams of sugar equals about 2- ½  teaspoons of sugar that you never knew was there.

Here are some other common foods and their sugar content:

  • Sriracha Sauce – 1 gram of sugar per 1 teaspoon
  • Ketchup – 4 grams of sugar per 1 Tablespoon
  • Steak sauce – 2 grams of sugar per 1 Tablespoon
  • Gatorade – 56 grams of sugar in a standard 32-ounce bottle
  • Baked Beans – 13 grams of sugar in ½ cup serving
  • White Bread – 1/5 grams of sugar in one slice
  • Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter – 4 grams of sugar in 2 Tablespoons
  • Multi-Grain Cheerios – 6 grams of sugar in a one cup serving
  • Milk – 13 grams of sugar in one cup

Other Sources of Hidden Sugar

Hidden sugar isn’t just in food products. Take a look in your bathroom cupboard. Most familiar toothpaste brands contain variations of sugar, like dextrose and sodium saccharide. If you don’t know what sodium saccharide is, it’s an artificial sweetener that’s 300 times sweeter than straight sugar. And your mouthwash? It probably contains Sucralose or sodium saccharide. Granted, you aren’t supposed to be eating toothpaste and swigging mouthwash. But if you’re constantly bombarding your mouth and taste buds with sweetened products, it makes it that much harder to get away from a sugar addiction.

How it All Adds Up

how sugar adds up

Now, some of those numbers might not have you falling off your chair. But let’s look at a diet from a typical day, for someone who is trying to eat healthy.

Breakfast – Multigrain cereal with milk  = 19 grams

Lunch – Sandwich = 3 grams

Snack – 3 Reduced Fat Oreos = 14 grams

Dinner – Barbeque pulled pork sandwich with side of baked beans and a green salad = 41

Midnight snack – milk and 3 Reduced Fat Oreos = 27

Total for the day = 104 grams of hidden sugar! That’s 26 teaspoons of sugar on a “healthy” diet. That’s about ¾ of a cup of sugar in your diet that you never even suspected was there.


So, if you’ve been wondering why you can’t seem to stop craving sugar, why you’re not losing weight, or why your numbers haven’t improved, it’s possible that sugar has been creeping into your diet right under your nose!

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George Citroner

GW Citroner is a Hudson Valley, NY based writer whose work has appeared in over 20 publications and on an incredible range of Health & Wellness topics.

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