SugarAs I write this, I’m snacking on some popcorn, which I can gladly say has zero grams of sugar.  Since I did the ten day detox (no grains, sugar or dairy) last month, I’ve been very mindful of how much sugar I eat.  Note: I still eat it.  I’m just trying to be aware.

I’ve always known that there is added sugar in everything, but I’d never stopped to really think about where or how much I should or shouldn’t consume in a day.  In prepping for the detox, I read that Prego Sauce has the same amount of sugar as two Oreo cookies.   Based on both their websites today, Prego actually has a bit more than two Oreos (a serving of Prego: 10-grams of sugar, a serving of Oreos (which is three cookies) 14-grams of sugar).  Just two cookies and you’re actually getting a little less sugar than if you have the sauce.  This surprised me, and I was annoyed.  I don’t even eat Prego, but the idea that all sorts of food are adding unnecessary sugar annoyed me.  I make a delicious spaghetti sauce without any sugar.  I don’t want to have to make everything from scratch for it to be healthy.

According to the American Heart Association woman should have six teaspoons or less of added sugar per day.  Men can have up to nine teaspoons.  There are four grams of sugar per teaspoon.  So that means women get 24-grams per day and men get up to thirty-six.  That seemed like a lot of sugar to me until I really looked at all the foods I eat.

Added sugar means everything but natural sugar that occurs in milk products and fruit.  So basically high fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, brown sugar, fruit juice concentrates, malt sugar, raw sugar, syrup, etc.  Basically if it’s not basic milk or a piece of fruit it probably has added sugar.  When you are looking at a label it can be hard to tell how much added sugar there is because the sugar listing includes all sugars (added and natural).

This morning I ate more than half my sugar intake for the day when I had a yogurt.  I don’t even really like yogurt and this brand had 15-grams of sugar.  My favorite treat—dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt—has less sugar and tastes much better.

So here’s a little challenge.  Without committing to changing anything just start looking at food labels for grams of sugar per serving.  See what your total is each day.  Maybe without even trying you are getting less than the recommended amount.  Awesome.  Or maybe you are getting it from places you wouldn’t expect and are going overboard.  And maybe some of those foods are items you thought were healthier or places where you wouldn’t mind making a change for something else.

Now, I know, it’s no all just about sugar.  Oreo’s have no nutritional value, while in the Prego sauce you are getting tomatoes and herbs and some natural sugars.  There is something in there that is good for you.  But just take a week or two and look at just your sugar.  Because maybe when you want sauce you don’t want sugar.