Sugar Smart Shopping

on April 1, 2009

Talk about a sugar rush. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), each person in the U.S. consumes an average of 156 pounds of sugar per year—that's more than 3lbs of the sweet stuff per week. And at 16 calories per teaspoon, it won't take long to see the results of that sweet tooth on your waistline. It's a no-brainer that candy and soda are sugar-heavy, but it's also hidden in foods you may not expect. We asked registered dietitian Lanah J. Brennan for some of the sneakiest culprits and how to choose your groceries wisely.

Breakfast cereal: Sugar-coating isn't just rampant in kids' cereals—even some "adult" versions are loaded with sugar. Don't be fooled by the brand or healthy declarations on the front of the box. Instead, flip it over and look for less than 6g sugar per serving.

Jams, jellies and preserves: Despite fruit's natural sweetness, some jelly and jam brands pack more than a tablespoon of sugar into each serving. Look for 100 percent fruit spread—we promise you won't miss the added sweet stuff.

Lowfat peanut butter: You may save a few grams of fat with reduced-fat peanut butters, but one popular brand's lowfat version has the same number of calories and double the sugar compared to the original version. Opt for natural peanut butter instead.

Found in: Nutrition