Silent Sabotage

It’s everywhere. It’s in everything. In a hurried society where we are always on the go, we lean on processed foods, meals to go, and quick fixes. Amidst this rushed lifestyle – how can you avoid it?

We try to eat with health in mind, however here is always room for improvement. Looking at labels, there are 23g of sugar in certain brands of greek yogurt that our kids love. 11g of them added…isn’t greek yogurt healthy? It can be, but we have to watch for added sugars. If you do not have specific medical conditions, almost anything food moderation is okay.

Various types of sugar

First of all, it’s important to understand the differences between added sugars, and naturally occurring sugars. Added sugars has many names including (and not limited to) sugar, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, glucose, dextrose, syrup, cane sugar, dehydrated cane juice, corn syrup and many more. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that for an adult female of a normal body mass index (BMI) to about 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams, of sugar per day (men have more wiggle room at 36g). The AHA recommends this is also the maximum amount for children ages 2-18.

American Heart Association

With these amounts in mind, I decided to document a simple day (not really planned out) for my 5 year old. It went like this:
1 GoGo Squeeze – AppleBanana
Sugar (total) 12g
1 egg, fried in a dash of EVOO
Sugar 0g
1 slice of Great Value Cinnamon Raisin Toast
Sugar (total) 6g, Added 2g

1/3 serving of Kirkland Trail Mix
Sugar (total) 19g, Added 8g

1 PB & J to include,
Skippy Peanut Butter
Sugar (total) 3g, Added 3g
Welch’s Natural Strawberry jelly
Sugars (total) 11g, Added 10g
2 slices of Bimbo Soft Wheat bread
Sugars (total) 2g, Added 2g
8 chips, Great Value Mesquite BBQ Kettle Chips
Sugars (total) 2g, Added 1g

1 serving of hummus, homemade
Sugars (total) almost 0
2 Celery sticks
Sugars (total) almost 0

1 “Jayden Special”
…this is his favorite burrito which we named after him when we make it – it’s ground beef, cubed potatoes, shredded cheddar, with sour cream in a tortilla.
Sugars (total) 2, Added 0g

In total he had 26g of ADDED SUGAR. Based on what I’m reading and researching, the added sugar is what should be below the recommended 25g (of course it varies with age, and gender). The trail mix and the jelly killed our overall added count. It’s important to note, these are “processed” and packaged foods. You will find the that processed (ie food that can sit on the shelf for a long period of time ready to eat) typically has added sugars.

In conclusion:
Reading labels can be confusing. When you see “all natural” and look at the grams of sugar, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. I’m using the jelly as an example, it had 10g of added sugars. Be aware of sugar-free also, sugar substitutes can have another set of issues, especially in children. We are going to focus on whole food snacks and meals going forward; the trail mix alone was a heavy hitter in the added sugar. What snacks are your go-to for kids of all ages? For yourself? Please share!

Key facts referenced for general healthy guidelines can be found here courtesy of the WHO:

Comments? Request a reference? I’d love to hear what you think! xo

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