Registered dietitian and chef Michelle Dudash says there hidden sugars in seemingly healthy foods.
According to Dudash, we consume a lot more sugar than we even realize. "The average American now consumes 22 to 28 teaspoons of added sugar per day, which averages out to about 400 empty calories that few of us can afford," she says. "Excess calories can lead to weight gain and increased disease risk. The American Heart Association recommends women limit added sugars to 100 calories per day, or 25 grams of sugar, and men limit to 150 calories per day."
Dudash searched the grocery aisles to find foods that might not be as healthy as you thought, plus healthier suggestions.
Sugar-added Dried Fruit
Traditional dried fruits with no-added sugars, like raisins, are a healthy snack and a great way to meet the new USDA guidelines of filling half your plate with fruits & veggies - but you have to be careful about the added sugar options.
Craisins: One-third cup contains about as much added sugar as in an 8-ounce serving of regular soda. Craisins contain at least 40 percent added sugar and, in fact, because of the added sugar in Craisins, the product is not even eligible for the Fruit & Veggies - More Matters distinction, and according to the USDA, sweetened dried cranberries contribute 66 empty calories per 1/4 cup (USDA Food-A-Pedia Website).
Instead, try California Raisins: 0 grams of added sugar in a serving of raisins. Dudash, who works closely with California Raisins, recommends them because they are an all-natural, dried-in-the-sun, no-sugar added fruit with fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Their sweetness comes naturally. When you look at the ingredients, it just says "raisins". That's it. And one-quarter cup of raisins counts as one full serving of fruit for adults - and delivers no empty calories according to the USDA.
To learn more about the truth about raisins and Craisins, visit letskeepitreal.com .
Bottled Iced Tea
Sobe Green Tea: One 20-0unce bottle packs 61 grams of total sugar-that is as much as 60 jelly beans.
Instead, try Sobe Honey Green Tea: One 20-ounce bottle only has 10 calories, mostly from honey. Or, try Lipton unsweetened plain iced tea with 0 grams of added sugar. If you like it a little sweet, sprinkle in a bit of PureVia or add a splash of sparkling juice with no added sugar, such as Izze.
Hendrickson's Sweet Vinegar and Olive Oil: Two tablespoons of this dressing has a whopping 17 grams of added sugar-as much as 2.5 Easter Peeps. After vinegar, the second ingredient is sugar.
Instead, try Newman's Own Family Recipe Italian: Instead, opt for this salad dressing, which has 0 grams of sugar for two tablespoons.
Yoplait Lemon Burst Yogurt: This yogurt has 29 grams of total sugar per 6-ounce container; a difference of 11 grams compared to Chobani 0% fat lemon yogurt-as much as three Chips-Ahoy cookies.
Instead, try Chobani 0% Fat Lemon Yogurt: Chobani 0% fat lemon yogurt has 18 grams of total sugar per 6-ounce container, with much of it coming from naturally occurring sugars from milk lactose.
Kashi GoLean Crunch!: This product appears to be a healthy option; however, it has 14 grams of added sugar in one cup. You could have 3 chocolate mini donuts for that amount of added sugar.
Instead, try Kashi Heart to Heart: One cup of Kashi Heart to Heart cereal has 6.5 grams of added sugar; almost two teaspoons less than Kashi Go Lean Crunch!. This cereal is sweetened with a touch of honey, so there is no need to top with sugar.
When choosing products at the grocery store, be sure to look at the Nutrition label on the back as well as the ingredients list to monitor the amount of added sugars.
For more information about healthy eating and nutritious tips, please visit www.michelledudash.com .
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