Students at Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy take a look at sugar content as part of their chemistry studies, and the results aren't pretty! Some of our favorite foods are packed with the white stuff. Hmmm... Maybe that's why they're our favorite foods?
William LaMaster, a Junior at Northpoint, said he was surprised at the percentage of sugar in everyday foods. "Both the large amounts and even the little amounts of sugar in food items." He said that the biggest surprise to him was Nutella, which he found to be about 73% sugar. On the other hand, the macadamia nut was only 3%.
LaMaster doesn't think it will change his eating habits a lot, mainly because he eats dinner with his family, with fresh and made-from-scratch foods. He admits that when he visits his aunt (on an almost daily basis) he eats more sugary foods such as boxed cereals.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS) sugar is the most popular ingredient added to foods in the United States today. While we expect it to be found in items such as cakes, cookies, candy and other sweets; it might be surprising to learn that it is also added to ketchup, crackers, bread, soups, cereals, peanut butter, salad dressings and even cured meats. Almost all processed foods contain sugar in one form or another.
1 teaspoon of white sugar = 15 calories
1 teaspoon of corn syrup = 20 calories
1 can of soda = 11 teaspoons of sugar
Did you know that Americans consume almost 3 pounds of sugar a week? Two hundred years ago, the average American, "... ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year," according to the NHDHHS. "Nutritionists suggest that Americans should get only 10% of their calories from sugar. This equals 13.3 teaspoons of sugar per day (based on 2,000 calories per day). The current average is 42.5 teaspoons of sugar per day!"
So, the next time you reach for that box of cereal or bottle of ketchup, go ahead, check the label - if you dare.
Author's Note: In the interest of full disclosure, William LaMaster is this author's son.