Written by Joseph Nordqvist
Knowledge center
Last updated: Thu 19 November 2015
email
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In our modern and fast-paced lives, it can be difficult to keep a healthy balance of nutrients in our food. Sugar is one of these nutrients, and the cells in our body would die without it.

Consuming too much sugar, however, raises the risk of several problems, including poor dental health, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

To keep control of sugar levels, it helps to know just how much sugar there is in the food we eat. Here, we have listed the sugar content of numerous everyday foods, both processed and natural ones.
What is sugar?
Photograph of sugar

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that belongs to a class of chemically-related sweet-flavored substances. It comes in many different forms. The three main types of sugar are sucrose, lactose, and fructose.

Even though our cells need sugar (glucose) to survive, consuming too much of it can cause numerous different health problems. Added sugar contains no beneficial nutrients and in excess only contributes to tooth decay, diabetes, and obesity.

The American Heart Association (AHA) have said that added sugars “contribute zero nutrients” and are just empty calories “that can lead to extra pounds, or even obesity, thereby reducing heart health.”

Being aware of the existing and added sugar contents of the foods and drinks we consume is vital for our health – even more so today because so many products have sugar added to them.

In March 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) published new guidelines recommending that adults and children alike reduce their consumption of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake, with further reduction to below 5% associated with additional health benefits.

The term free sugars includes to glucose, fructose and sucrose added to foods and drinks, as well as sugars naturally present in syrups, honey and fruit juice. The term does not apply to sugars found naturally in fresh fruit, vegetables or milk, as to date there is no evidence associating the consumption of these sugars with adverse effects.

A single teaspoon of sugar is around 4 grams (g). The WHO state that reducing daily sugar consumption to 5% of daily energy intake would be around 6 teaspoons of sugar.
Sugar content in common foods and drinks

To help you keep track of how much sugar you’re consuming we’ve listed some common everyday foods and drinks, together with their sugar content. Some of these may surprise you:

How much sugar is in a chocolate bar?

Nutrition / Diet
Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness
Diabetes
How Much Sugar Is In Your Food And Drink?
Written by Joseph Nordqvist
Knowledge center
Last updated: Thu 19 November 2015
email
43643Share12

In our modern and fast-paced lives, it can be difficult to keep a healthy balance of nutrients in our food. Sugar is one of these nutrients, and the cells in our body would die without it.

Consuming too much sugar, however, raises the risk of several problems, including poor dental health, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

To keep control of sugar levels, it helps to know just how much sugar there is in the food we eat. Here, we have listed the sugar content of numerous everyday foods, both processed and natural ones.
What is sugar?
Photograph of sugar

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that belongs to a class of chemically-related sweet-flavored substances. It comes in many different forms. The three main types of sugar are sucrose, lactose, and fructose.

Even though our cells need sugar (glucose) to survive, consuming too much of it can cause numerous different health problems. Added sugar contains no beneficial nutrients and in excess only contributes to tooth decay, diabetes, and obesity.

The American Heart Association (AHA) have said that added sugars “contribute zero nutrients” and are just empty calories “that can lead to extra pounds, or even obesity, thereby reducing heart health.”

Being aware of the existing and added sugar contents of the foods and drinks we consume is vital for our health – even more so today because so many products have sugar added to them.

In March 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) published new guidelines recommending that adults and children alike reduce their consumption of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake, with further reduction to below 5% associated with additional health benefits.

The term free sugars includes to glucose, fructose and sucrose added to foods and drinks, as well as sugars naturally present in syrups, honey and fruit juice. The term does not apply to sugars found naturally in fresh fruit, vegetables or milk, as to date there is no evidence associating the consumption of these sugars with adverse effects.

A single teaspoon of sugar is around 4 grams (g). The WHO state that reducing daily sugar consumption to 5% of daily energy intake would be around 6 teaspoons of sugar.
Sugar content in common foods and drinks

To help you keep track of how much sugar you’re consuming we’ve listed some common everyday foods and drinks, together with their sugar content. Some of these may surprise you:
How much sugar is in a chocolate bar?
Chocolate bar
With high sugar content, chocolate should always be viewed as an occasional treat.

Snickers bar (52.7g) – 6.75 teaspoons of sugar
Milk chocolate bar (44g) – 5.75 teaspoons of sugar
Milky Way bar (58g) – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
3 Musketeers bar (60g) – 10 teaspoons of sugar
Butterfinger bar (60g) – 7 teaspoons of sugar
Dove chocolate bar (40.8g) – 5.5 teaspoons of sugar
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar (43g) – 6 teaspoons of sugar
Twix bar (50.7g) – 6 teaspoons of sugar
Milk chocolate M&M’s packet (47.9 g) – 7.5 teaspoons of sugar.

How much sugar do soft drinks contain?
Soft drinks often contain a high amount of sugar.

Coca cola (one can) – 8.25 teaspoons of sugar
Pepsi cola (one can) – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
Red Bull (one can) – 6.9 teaspoons of sugar
Sprite (one can) – 8.25 teaspoons of sugar
Mountain Dew (one can) – 11.5 teaspoons of sugar
Old Jamaica Ginger Beer (one can) – 13 teaspoons of sugar.

A study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, identified a link between drinking more than one soft drink a day and increased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
How much sugar is in your breakfast cereal?

*(per 100 grams)
Breakfast cereal in a bowl
Froot Loops are said to contain 105 times more sugar than Shredded Wheat.

Alpen – 5.75 teaspoons of sugar
Cheerios – 1 teaspoon of sugar
Corn Flakes – 2.4 teaspoons of sugar
Cocoa Krispies – 9.75 teaspoons of sugar
Froot Loops – 10.5 teaspoons of sugar
Raisin Bran – 7.75 teaspoons of sugar
Frosted Flakes – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
Honey Smacks – 14 teaspoons of sugar
Rice Krispies – 2.5 teaspoons of sugar
Special K – 3 teaspoons of sugar
Wheaties – 3.75 teaspoons of sugar
Trix – 8 teaspoons of sugar
Lucky Charms – 9 teaspoons of sugar
Rice Chex – 2 teaspoons of sugar
Wheat Chex – 2.5 teaspoons of sugar
Corn Chex – 2.75 teaspoons of sugar
Honey Nut Cheerios – 8.25 teaspoons of sugar
Reese’s Puffs – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
Golden Grahams – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
Cocoa Puffs – 9.25 teaspoons of sugar
Cookie Crisp – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
Shredded Wheat – 0.1 teaspoons of sugar
Cocoa Pebbles – 9 teaspoons of sugar
Banana Nut Crunch – 4.5 teaspoons of sugar.

In June 2012, researchers from Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity revealed that even though cereals aimed at kids had become more nutritious, cereal companies (such as Kellogg, General Mills, and Post) had increased their advertising spending considerably. Cereal advertising aimed at children increased by 34% between 2008 and 2011.

Marlene Schwartz, deputy director of the Rudd Center, said:

“While cereal companies have made small improvements to the nutrition of their child-targeted cereals, these cereals are still far worse than the products they market to adults. They have 56% more sugar, half as much fiber, and 50% more sodium.

The companies know how to make a range of good-tasting cereals that aren’t loaded with sugar and salt. Why can’t they help parents out and market these directly to children instead?”
How much sugar does fruit contain?

Fruits contain fructose, a type of sugar. Fresh fruit have no “added sugar”, but as you can see below, their levels of sugar range from 1 teaspoon per 100 grams in cranberries to 4 teaspoons in grapes.

*per 100 grams
Bananas
Bananas contain approximately 3 teaspoons of sugar (fructose).

Mangos – 3.2 teaspoons of sugar
Bananas – 3 teaspoons of sugar
Apples – 2.6 teaspoons of sugar
Pineapples – 2.5 teaspoons of sugar
Grapes – 4 teaspoons of sugar
Lemons – 0.6 teaspoons of sugar
Kiwi fruit – 2.3 teaspoons of sugar
Apricots – 2.3 teaspoons of sugar
Strawberries – 1.3 teaspoons of sugar
Raspberries – 1 teaspoon of sugar
Blueberries – 1.7 teaspoons of sugar
Cranberries – 1 teaspoons of sugar
Tomatoes – 0.7 teaspoons of sugar.

How much sugar do cakes and desserts contain?
Carrot Cake
A medium slice of carrot cake contains approximately 3 teaspoons of sugar.

Banoffee pie (1 medium portion) – 4.25 teaspoons of sugar
Carrot cake (1 medium slice) – 3 teaspoons of sugar
Custard (1 medium portion) – 3.25 teaspoons of sugar
Chocolate mousse (1 medium portion) – 3 teaspoons of sugar
Donut (1 jam doughnut) – 3.5 teaspoons of sugar
Fruit pie (1 medium portion) – 3.5 teaspoons of sugar
Fruit cake (1 medium slice) – 5 teaspoons of sugar
Muffin (one chocolate chip muffin) – 4.75 teaspoons of sugar
Ice cream (1 scoop) – 3 teaspoons of sugar
Rice pudding (1 portion) – 3.75 teaspoons of sugar
Sponge cake (1 medium slice) – 5.5 teaspoons of sugar
Swiss roll (1 roll) – 2.5 teaspoons of sugar.

On the next page, we look at why you should monitor your sugar intake, examine the main sources of added sugar and discuss why consumers need more information on “added sugars.”

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