We know sugar is bad for us and most of us know to skip adding sugar cubes when we take tea and coffee. But how about the ones manufacturers add to the processed foods we eat? The daily amount of sugar intake recommended by the World Health Organization is 25g, approximately 6 cubes of sugar. A cube is equal to 4g of sugar.
Below are some processed foods and how much sugar they contain.
1. A can of soda = 10 cubes of sugar (40g)
2. A cup of orange juice = 6 cubes (24g)
3. A bottle of malt = 10 cubes (40g)
4. I tablespoon of jam = 2 cubes (8g)
5. 1.3 tablespoon of Hot chocolate (e.g milo) = 3 cubes (12g)
6. Half cup of ice cream = 5.5 cubes (22.5g)
7. 4 tablespoons of evaporated milk = 2.5 (10g)
8. 2 slices of bread = I cube (8g)
I found the information above from checking the labels on some of the foods I have at home. I also found some from the internet including Wikipedia. A good website that will help you in this regard is Sugarstacks.com. Brand variations may account for mild differences.
Now if we consider that we often reach the recommended limit by the amount of sugar we get from fruits (e.g one medium banana = 14g, one small orange = 9g, apple = 19g) and starchy foods, we will see that we have no room for sugar contained in processed foods which more often than not contain empty calories that do not provide any nutrition to the body.
I hope this helps you to take a closer look at what you and your family eat by reading the labels before you buy any food. Reading a label can help you choose one cereal over the food for the lower sugar content. Please, also pay attention to the serving size stated on the label. Wolfing down a quarter of a package of cornflakes when the recommended serving is 0ne-twelfth is tripling your sugar intake (I can’t resist the sweetness sometimes, I am a work in progress myself). If a food doesn’t have a label, you probably shouldn’t buy it as the manufacturers may be hiding something. For foods like fruits, grains etc, you can always use your phone to look for their nutrition information online to enable you make better choices.
Improving our eating habits is a gradual process. If by reading this, you at least on one occasion reach for water instead of a soda can in the fridge, then this blog will have served its purpose. I need not go into the benefits of cutting down on sugar including preventing diabetes and maintaining a healthy weight. Bottom line, cut down on processed foods and when you have to eat them, read the label to make a more informed choice.
Finally, what I said about sugar also applies to salt (and no, it is not an immunization for ebola) and fats in that they are hidden in processed foods more than we realize. For those at risk for high blood pressure and heart diseases, please do your research in that regard.