Hidden Sugars

Have you seen this month’s issue of National Geographic? The cover title story is Sugar (A Not So Sweet Story). It is about the increase in sugar our society consumes (the United States is particularly worrisome) and the health problems that are associated with this rapid increase.

It was a lot of information I had read or seen before. I have often prided myself in not eating too much sugar. I can always take or leave desserts. I do not bake much, pretty much because it would go to waste. I may take one or two bites of something, then declare it “too sweet” and not want anymore. If I ever do order dessert somewhere, it is always to share; a bite or two is always plenty. I am happy to have fruit for dessert. Some of my favorites include; oranges and dates, fresh slices of cantaloupe or my recent favorite, a spoonful or two of So Delicious Coconut Milk ice cream, with fresh berries.


However, this article did bring awareness about foods that I may be eating that have hidden sugars. The obvious cakes, pastries and creams are easily spotted as laden with sugar, but I was surprised by what else has added sugar to it.

The BIG eye opening moment for me was when I read that 4.2 grams=1 teaspoon. I often check out the sugar content on products I purchase and anything under 10 grams never seemed like too much to me. However, now I think of it as whole teaspoons of sugar being poured into my food, and it seems like a lot more than I originally anticipated.

The article mentions that the average American consumes about 22.7 teaspoons of sugar/day! This is mostly through processed food, which always seems to have extra helpings of sugar in it.

I got a little obsessed over this and started checking out some of my packaged food. Before, I thought I did OK. I can say pretty assuredly that there is nothing in my house that contains HFCs. I strive to feed my family whole, nutritious ingredients and I try to be diligent about reading labels.

However, I was surprised to find how much sugar was actually in some of my food. My ketchup (organic Cadia) has 3 grams of sugar in it (the second ingredient is agave nectar).


My coconut milk (vanilla flavored from Trader Joe’s) has 7 grams of sugar in it. The second ingredient in it is cane syrup. I use this in many of morning smoothies! That is almost 2 whole teaspoons of sugar!

My marinara sauce had 6 grams of sugar in it! The 5th ingredient was sugar. I never understood why marinara needed sugar in it.

Oh, and the aforementioned So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream (vanilla bean) has grams of 12 grams sugar in it.

This was more sugar that I expected to find. Especially, now with the visual of teaspoons of sugar being poured into my food and consumed by my family. It was definitely eye opening to realize that I eat more sugar that I thought I did.

Before reading this article, I had planned on doing another round of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet. (You can read more about the last time I did it here.) I did it for the first time, last year, at this same time. This was when I quit coffee and soda and made the switch over to vegan. I did this at the beginning of a new school year and it started the year off on a very positive note.

I decided to do it again, at the beginning of my school year. This time I decided to start of with a 3 day juice cleanse (you can read more about the juice cleanse here.)

In this round, I will also be MUCH more focused on eliminating sugar. Again, I thought I did a pretty good job of this before, but apparently I was consuming things that I was not ever aware of.

I am interested to see how I feel now with more of an awareness to not consume sugar. I will definitely be posting about my progress and anything else I notice in those 21 days. I will be starting on August 2nd.

Did you read the Nat Geo article? Did you realize how much sugar is in most packaged foods


2 thoughts on “Hidden Sugars

  1. Wow, that is super interesting! I always try and stay under the 10 grams of sugar per serving mark as well (the very idea of an entire can of soda makes me nauseous!) but the teaspoon comparison is scary. We really consume TOO MUCH sugar. I’m even worse off than you are, which makes me feel icky haha. You’re very healthy though, and your lifestyle is very inspiring!

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