Alcohol comes with a warning label. Cigarettes are highly taxed. Saturated and trans-saturated fats require special labeling. But we shotgun sugar like its our job.
Now, with the American Heart Association releasing its first sugar recommendations (and largely blaming soda and other sugary drinks for the obesity crisis), The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council is taking things a step further, calling for a sugar tax on these belt-busting drinks. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has been bombarded with petitions to put Daily Value labels on food products.
The sugar argument stems from research showing that sugar consumption has increased by 28 percent since 1983, and tripled worldwide in the past 50 years. Unbeknown to most, it is recommended that based on a healthy 2,000 calorie diet, people should consume no more than 10 teaspoons of added sugar per day. However, the average American is consuming twice that—that’s 156 pounds of sugar per year!
So where’s the rest of the sugar coming from? One big source is the flavorful sauces we use to top off every meal. Watch out for these sweet traps:
Condiments Disguised as “fructose” on many labels, sugar is a main ingredient in condiments including barbeque sauce, honey mustard, and soy sauce. America’s favorite condiment, ketchup, packs 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon. How much do you use on your fries?
Fat-Free Dressings Many low-fat options rely on sugar—and lots of it—for their flavor. Hidden Valley Fat-Free Ranch Dressing, for example, packs three times the sugar and carbohydrates as the original.
Tomato Sauce Sugar is added to products like ketchup to even out the acidic taste. Traditional Prego has 10 grams of sugar per serving—that’s about 2.5 teaspoons! Put it on top of carb-rich pasta and you’re in for a real sugar spike.