Hidden Sugar In Your Foods: Here’s What You Need To Know

This is a pile of sugar.

The average American consumes a large amount of added sugars. Unfortunately, this can lead to obesity and other health problems. Eating sugary food adds extra calories and often replaces foods high in nutrients, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

In the video below, Amanda Haney discusses what you need to know about the hidden sugars found in everyday foods.

Continue reading for more information. 

The benefits of decreasing your sugar intake

The American Heart Association recommends lowering added sugar intake to:

  1. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Decrease heart disease risk.
  3. Meet essential nutrient needs.

Sugar is a ubiquitous ingredient. It’s everywhere in our food supply! With this in mind, there are a few things you need to know to find out exactly how much you are eating each day.

RELATED: Kids in the Kitchen: How To Raise Healthy Eaters

Unfortunately, added sugars are in A LOT of foods

Beware of hidden sugar

Natural sugars and added sugars are the two types of sugars found in foods.

  • Natural sugars are those that are naturally occurring, such as sugar in fruits called fructose and sugar in milk products called lactose.
  • Added sugars include any sugar that’s added to a product during food processing like high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, maple syrup, agave, and molasses.

Fortunately, you can easily find added sugars in your foods by looking at food labels

Common added sugars you may recognize on food labels include:

  • Corn syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Corn sweetener
  • Brown sugar
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Malt syrup
  • Molasses
  • Honey

Also look for ingredients ending in “ose” such as:

  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Sucrose

RELATED: Natural Flavors In Food: 5 Critical Questions To Consider

NEW nutrition facts food label coming in 2018
Old label (left) vs new label (right). Source: Fda.gov

New Nutrition Facts labels are coming!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced a new Nutrition Facts label that will go into effect July of 2018. As you can see above, this new label will list added sugars separately.

6 teaspoons of sugar a day is the recommended amount for women

Recommended daily sugar intake


The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories of added sugars each day for women. This is 25 grams of added sugar or 6 teaspoons.

9 teaspoons of sugar a day is the recommended amount for men


On the other hand, no more than 150 calories of added sugars each day is recommended for men. This is 36 grams of added sugar or 9 teaspoons.

RELATED: How To Successfully Drink Healthy Beverages

If you have a specific medical condition, your sugar recommendations may vary. Regardless, it’s a great idea to meet with your registered dietitian to learn more about managing sugar in your diet.


Previous articleSend Your Kids Back To School With Transitions Adaptive Lenses
Next articleThe Truth About Artificial Tears and Dry Eye Disease
Hi, my name is Amanda Haney. I am a registered dietitian, board-certified nutrition support clinician, Cal State Long Beach alumnae, and former pediatric clinical dietitian. Currently, I am working as a project manager at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As a clinical dietitian or in my current role, my passion is working in a diverse setting with a variety of teams in order to improve patient outcomes and achieve better health for the families in my community. I became a dietitian because I love food and I love medicine. There is so much misinformation about nutrition in the media, so I enjoy creating educational content that makes nutrition simple and to make your health goals achievable. In my free time, I love soaking up the beauty at the beach, riding my bike, staying active, cooking, and, most of all, spending time with my family and friends!