Yummy, yummy sugar!

We have to admit that for most of us our palates love the taste of sugar, and for some, maybe too much.  How much is too much? 

The American Heart Association recommends that a women should have less than 100 calories (about 6 ½ teaspoons) and a man less than 150 calories (about 9 ½ teaspoons) from sugar a day.     

It is easy go over the recommended amount of sugar when you drink sweetened drinks.  Soda, coffee drinks, tea drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks are examples of those drinks.  Regular soda is the #1 high sugar food in a typical American diet. 

We must be careful with ingesting too much sugar because it has its health risks.  Excess sugar promotes obesity, which raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.  But sugar sweetened beverages may raise the risks whether or not they make you gain weight.  A Framingham heart study found that those who drank at least 1 soft drink a day increased their health risks by 44% compared to those who drank less. 

Blood cholesterol as well as triglycerides (a fat) are linked to heart attacks and strokes.  A triglyceride level above 150 is considered high.  High fructose (a sugar) intake increases triglycerides.  High fructose corn syrup is found in many sweetened drinks.  Excess intake of high fructose corn syrup can also harm the liver. 

Sugar Content in Foods:  (To convert teaspoons to grams of sugar, multiply by 4.  To convert grams of sugar to teaspoons, divide by 4.  To convert teaspoons to calories from sugar, multiply by 16): 


SERVING SIZE                                         





Baskin Robbins Vanilla Ice Cream       

double scoop, 8.4 oz                            

11 ½

Baskin Robbins Oreo Outrageous Sundae

12.6 oz


Coldstone Creamery Founders Favorite

14.6 oz

30 ½




Gatorade Lemon-Lime

20 fl. oz

8 ½

Glaceau Vitamin Water Revive

20 fl oz

8 ½

Starbucks Tazo Passion Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade

Grande, 16 fl. oz

8 ½

Coca Cola

12 fl. oz  can


Snapple Lemon Tea

16 fl. oz

10 ½

Nestea Iced Tea Sweetened Lemon

16.9 fl. oz


Schweppes Tonic Water

20 fl. oz


SoBe Green Tea

20 fl. oz

15 ½

Arizona Southern Style Sweet Tea

23 fl. oz

16 ½

Minute Maid Lemonade

20 fl. oz


Sunkist Orange Soda

20 fl. oz





Maple Syrup

¼ cup, 2.9 oz


Hostess Twinkies

2 cakes, 3 oz


Reference:  Nutrition Action HealthLetter, Jan/Feb 2010 (www.cspinet.org)

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