Added sugars, which are sprinkled on and processed into packaged foods and beverages, have become all too common in the American diet, says the American Heart Association. The group argues that sugar bingeing is helping drive the uptick in metabolic changes in the American population, including the exploding obesity rate, and has now recommended an upper limit on daily consumption. Women should consume no more than 100 calories per day of added sugars, and men should not top 150 calories per day. There goes the soda habit: One 12-ounce can contains about 8 teaspoons or about 33 grams of added sugar, which equals approximately 130 calories, notes the AHA. (One gram of sugar serves up 4 calories, according to the American Dietetic Association.)
With math like that, it's not surprising that the average American rings up an average of 22.2 teaspoons, or 355 calories per day, of added sugars, mostly from sugar-sweetened beverages. But those who shun sweet-tasting drinks are not off the hook. Part of the challenge of avoiding added sugars, argues the AHA, is that they have become far more prevalent over time; the amount of added sugars in Americans' food options increased 19 percent between 1970 and 2005. Here are 11 sneaky dietary sources that are surprisingly high in added sugars:
Fortune cookies. Just one fortune cookie packs about 3.6 grams of added sugar.
Flavored booze. Exercise good judgment when you drink: One ounce of crème de menthe has 14 grams of added sugar; 53-proof coffee-flavored liqueur has 16 grams of added sugar per ounce.
Baked beans. A one-cup serving of canned baked beans with no salt added will cost you nearly 15 grams of added sugar.
Dried, sweetened cranberries. Without the sweetener, this fruit can be incredibly tart. But one serving—a third of a cup—of this treat will hit you with 25 grams of added sugar.
Ketchup. A favorite condiment, a single one-cup serving of regular—or low sodium—ketchup racks up nearly 40 grams of added sugar.
Cream substitutes. A one-cup serving of a liquid "light" cream substitute packs 22 grams of added sugar, while a one-cup serving of a powdered "light" cream substitute adds a whopping 69 grams.
BBQ sauce. A one-cup serving of this summertime favorite adds 9 grams of added sugar onto those ribs and chicken.
"Reduced" salad dressings. A one-cup serving of reduced-calorie French dressing heaps 58 grams of added sugar, and a one-cup serving of reduced-fat coleslaw dressing hits a home run with 103 grams of added sugar.
Lemonade. A cup of lemonade powder has a massive 200 grams of added sugar. A single serving of the drink has almost 17 grams of added sugar.
Flavored popcorn. Think the added sweetener can't be that bad here? Fat-free-syrup caramel popcorn has 18 grams of added sugar per ounce serving.
Granola bars. Often deemed a healthful snack, some are tricky—a 1-ounce serving of a granola bar with oats, fruit, and nuts has 11 grams of added sugar.
Clarified on 8/25/09: This story has been clarified by adding serving-size information.