How much is too much and how to figure it out?
Marie thought she was making healthy food choices every day for her teenage son. She made him his favorite sandwiches, burritos, or pizza (sometimes all three) for lunch. She made sure he ate fruit and vegetables every day. As far as snacks go, he would scrounge in the kitchen for an energy bar, chips, nuts, fruit-flavored yogurt, or anything else he could find. He also drank a lot of sports drinks, which she thought was ok since he was a physically active kid. She didn’t keep candy in the house because she knew they’d both eat it.
Marie never thought about how much sugar is in everything until one day when she was at the dentist’s office waiting for her son who was having his yearly checkup. She noticed a poster on the wall showing the amount of sugar in candy, common foods, and drinks. She was shocked! On the poster was a simple formula to help anyone find out the amount of sugar in everything we eat or drink. She quickly realized her son was eating way too much of the sweet stuff on a daily basis without even knowing it, even if it wasn’t in candy form.
What does the American Heart Association recommend?
The AHA recommends that children between the ages of 2-18 should eat less than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day!!
If your child eats one Snickers bar they’ve had all the sugar they should eat for the entire day. If they drink half a Dr. Pepper, they’re already over the daily limit.
The average child in the US eats 20 or more teaspoons of sugar per day and the average adult eats 19 teaspoons a day. Now you can easily see why obesity and diabetes are skyrocketing in the US! The AHA recommends that kids should drink no more than 8 oz of sugar-sweetened drinks ONCE A WEEK! That’s half a can of Dr. Pepper. The AHA also recommends that children under the age of 2 have absolutely NO added sugar in any food or drinks.
Everyone knows that candy, soda, and many other things are full of the sweet stuff and that we should limit how much of those things we eat each day to be healthy. But there are hidden sugars in almost everything.
Picture sugar as teaspoons rather than grams (they are listed in grams on the manufactures ingredients). This will help you better understand how much is in what you eat and drink. We will give you an easy formula to figure it out too!
First, we will share some of the crazy amounts of sugar in items consumed by many children and adults daily.
Check out the Teaspoon Amounts in Some Popular Items We Eat
- Mac & Cheese Original box (servings 3) is 6 grams of sugar per serving = 1.5 teaspoons of sugar. If you eat the whole box (many people do), that is 4.5 teaspoons (not counting the milk added, which adds more grams of sweetness).
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (2 in a pack) – 22 grams = 5.5 teaspoons of sugar
- One slice of Domino’s MeatZZa Hand Tossed Pizza (serving 1 slice) is 3 grams = ¾ teaspoon of sugar. But who only eats one piece?
- Normal size Snicker’s bar has 27 grams = 6.75 teaspoons of sugar and a Mini Snicker (3 pieces) has 14 grams = 3.5 teaspoons
- Yoplait Original yogurt strawberry 19 grams = 4.75 tsp of sugar
- Granola Bar (Nature Valley Oats & Honey) 11 grams = 2.75 tsp of sugar
- M&M’s – ¼ cup = 27 grams = 6.75 teaspoons of sugar
Here’s How You Can Figure Out the Teaspoon Amount of Sugar in Any Product!
It’s pretty easy.
First, look for the listed amount of sugar grams in the ingredient list on every edible or drinkable item. Then divide that by 4, which will equal the amount of sugar in teaspoons!
Pay attention to serving size! Sugar Grams Serving Size Affects the Amount of Sugar
Many products will list 2 or more servings on an item to make the sugar content look less and hope you don’t pay attention to that fact. You will need to take the number of sugar grams listed and multiply it by the serving size, then divide by 4 to get your correct teaspoon amount. Example: the serving size is 2 on the Kombucha bottle in the picture and it has 3 grams per serving size, you multiply it by 2 if you drink the whole bottle (2 x 3= 6), then divide your answer by 4 = 1.5 teaspoons per bottle.
Popular Drinks That Some Kids and Teens Drink Every Day
- Gatorade (Fruit Punch Thirst Quencher 591 ml bottle) has 34 grams = 8.5 tsp sugar
- Dannon Danimals (1 bottle Strawberry Explosion Smoothie) 9 grams = 2.25 tsp
- SunnyD (8 oz) has 14 grams = 3.5 tsp
- Capri Sun (1 pouch of Fruit Punch) has 13 grams = 3.25 tsp sugar
- Coke (12 oz can) 39 grams = 9.75 tsp
- Dr. Pepper (20 fl oz) 64 grams = 16 teaspoons of sugar!
- Starbucks White Mocha Frappuccino (Grande 16 oz) 64 grams = 16 tsp sugar
Fact – These are the most popular candies eaten on Halloween:
M & M’s, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfinger, Snickers, Twix, Milky Way, Kit Kat Bars, 3 Musketeers, Almond Joy, Hershey’s Kisses, Whoppers, Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, Starbursts, Skittles, Candy Corn, Sour Patch Kids, Jollie Ranchers, Nerds, Smarties, Life Savers
Let’s all make healthier choices for ourselves and our families!