Here are the level of sugar in every food and how to monitor the level of intake.

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that belongs to a class of chemically-related sweet-flavored substances. It comes in many different forms. The three main types of sugar are sucrose, lactose, and fructose.

Being aware of the existing and added sugar contents of the foods and drinks we consume is vital to our health – even more so today because so many products have sugar added to them.

The term “free sugars” refers to glucose, fructose, and sucrose added to foods and drinks, as well as sugars naturally present in syrups, honey, and fruit juice. The term does not apply to sugars found naturally in fresh fruit, vegetables or milk because there is no evidence associating the consumption of these sugars with adverse effects.

A single teaspoon of sugar is around 4 grams. The WHO recommend that we should reduce daily sugar consumption to 5 percent of daily energy intake; that would equate to 6 teaspoons of sugar.

Sugar content in common foods and drinks

Below we have listed some common everyday foods and drinks, together with their sugar content. This is designed to give a little guidance when making dietary choices. Some of the following items’ sugar content may come as a surprise:

How much sugar is in a chocolate bar?

Chocolate bar
With high sugar content, chocolate should always be viewed as an occasional treat.
  • Snickers bar (52.7 grams) – 6.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Milk chocolate bar(44 grams) – 5.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Milky Way bar (58 grams) – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • 3 Musketeers bar (60 grams) – 10 teaspoons of sugar
  • Butterfinger bar (60 grams) – 7 teaspoons of sugar
  • Dove chocolate bar (40.8 grams) – 5.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar (43 grams) – 6 teaspoons of sugar
  • Twix bar (50.7 grams) – 6 teaspoons of sugar
  • Milk chocolate M&M’s packet (47.9 grams) – 7.5 teaspoons of sugar

How much sugar do soft drinks contain?

Soft drinks
Soft drinks often contain a high amount of sugar.
  • Coca-Cola (one can) – 8.25 teaspoons of sugar
  • Pepsi cola (one can) – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Red Bull (one can) – 6.9 teaspoons of sugar
  • Sprite (one can) – 8.25 teaspoons of sugar
  • Mountain Dew (one can) – 11.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Old Jamaica Ginger Beer (one can) – 13 teaspoons of sugar

A study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, identified a link between drinking more than one soft drink a day and increased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

How much sugar is in your breakfast cereal?

*(per 100 grams)

Breakfast cereal in a bowl
Froot Loops are said to contain 105 times more sugar than Shredded Wheat.
  • Alpen – 5.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Cheerios – 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Corn Flakes – 2.4 teaspoons of sugar
  • Cocoa Krispies – 9.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Froot Loops – 10.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Raisin Bran – 7.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Frosted Flakes – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Honey Smacks – 14 teaspoons of sugar
  • Rice Krispies – 2.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Special K – 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Wheaties – 3.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Trix – 8 teaspoons of sugar
  • Lucky Charms – 9 teaspoons of sugar
  • Rice Chex – 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • Wheat Chex – 2.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Corn Chex – 2.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Honey Nut Cheerios – 8.25 teaspoons of sugar
  • Reese’s Puffs – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Golden Grahams – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Cocoa Puffs – 9.25 teaspoons of sugar
  • Cookie Crisp – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Shredded Wheat – 0.1 teaspoons of sugar
  • Cocoa Pebbles – 9 teaspoons of sugar
  • Banana Nut Crunch – 4.5 teaspoons of sugar.

How much sugar does fruit contain?

Fruits contain a type of sugar called fructose. Fresh fruit has no “added sugar,” but as you can see below, their levels of sugar range from 1 teaspoon per 100 grams in cranberries to 4 teaspoons in grapes.

*per 100 grams

Bananas
Bananas contain approximately 3 teaspoons of sugar (fructose).
  • Mangos – 3.2 teaspoons of sugar
  • Bananas – 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Apples – 2.6 teaspoons of sugar
  • Pineapples – 2.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Grapes – 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • Lemons – 0.6 teaspoons of sugar
  • Kiwi fruit – 2.3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Apricots – 2.3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Strawberries – 1.3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Raspberries – 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Blueberries – 1.7 teaspoons of sugar
  • Cranberries – 1 teaspoons of sugar
  • Tomatoes – 0.7 teaspoons of sugar.

How much sugar do cakes and desserts contain?

Carrot Cake
A medium slice of carrot cake contains approximately 3 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Banoffee pie (1 medium portion) – 4.25 teaspoons of sugar
  • Carrot cake (1 medium slice) – 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Custard (1 medium portion) – 3.25 teaspoons of sugar
  • Chocolate mousse (1 medium portion) – 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Donut (1 jam doughnut) – 3.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Fruit pie (1 medium portion) – 3.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Fruitcake (1 medium slice) – 5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Muffin (one chocolate chip muffin) – 4.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Ice cream (1 scoop) – 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Rice pudding (1 portion) – 3.75 teaspoons of sugar
  • Sponge cake (1 medium slice) – 5.5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Swiss roll (1 roll) – 2.5 teaspoons of sugar.

Why should I monitor my sugar intake?

The American Heart Association has urged people to cut their added sugar intake because of evidence that it can cause the following health conditions:

  • Obesity – scientists at the Medical Research Council found that eating more sugar is associated with obesity.
  • Heart disease – research published in JAMA Internal Medicine investigated sugar intake and cardiovascular disease related deaths. They concluded that: “Most U.S. adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD [cardiovascular disease] mortality.”
  • Type 2 diabetes – although sugar does not directly cause diabetes, individuals who consume more sugar than average are more likely to be overweight, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

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