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A Heaping Spoonful of Sugar

Trying to curb carbs? Processed sugar is more widespread than you think.

Colorful tops of glass soda bottles.

Photo: Jonathan Cohen (Flickr)

Soda's not the only one to blame for the sugar epidemic.

Soda, fruit punch, and many juices are full of added sugars, and public health campaigns have focused on getting people to drink less of the sweet stuff. Too many added sugars in your diet are correlated with a decrease in the intake of essential nutrients, and with an increase in weight. But drinks aren’t the only ones to blame for packing on the pounds.

Sweet Tooth

The National Center for Health Statistics’ latest survey of national health and nutrition found that only about 30 percent of the added sugar in adult diets comes from drinks. The majority of added sugar—a whopping 70 percent—comes from processed foods such as cake, ice cream, jam, bread, and seemingly innocent foods such as tomato sauce, cereal and salad dressing.

Cutting Back

Cut down on the processed sugars sneaking into your diet by checking the ingredients of the food you buy. If sugar or words like syrup, fructose or dextrose are listed in the first few ingredients, then you might want to put the item back on the shelf.

But don’t worry! That doesn’t mean ice cream sodas are totally out of the question. As with most things, moderation is the key when it comes to sugar.

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