Back to News

Sugar and Your Health

About 15% of the calories we eat, on average, come from added sugars found in candy, cookies, ice cream, sodas, fruit drinks, and sugary coffee drinks, to name a few. That adds up to about 22 teaspoons of added sugar every day. Health experts agree that this overconsumption is contributing to a higher incidence of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men.

When looking at the ingredients listed on the foods you eat, it can be hard to identify the many names used for added sugar.

Here is a list of common names for sugar:

  • Brown sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Syrup
  • Table sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose


Sugars that occur naturally in carbohydrate-containing foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy are not the culprit since they are naturally present, and these foods also contain fiber; essential vitamins and minerals; and antioxidants.

Tips to Decrease Your Intake of Added Sugars

  1. Swap out the sugary soda and opt for water, seltzer with a slice of fruit like lemon, or unsweetened, naturally flavored sparkling water.
  2. Choose fruit when you want something sweet.
  3. Cut back on the amount of sugar you add to your drinks like tea or coffee. Start slowly and work your way to little or no added sugar.
  4. Compare food labels and choose the item with the lowest amount of added sugar. You can find that information on the label under total carbohydrates, beneath total sugars.
  5. Add fresh or frozen fruit to sweeten your cereal or oatmeal.
  6. Cut your usual serving size by half when you choose to have a sweet treat.

Bonus Recipe: Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Banana Bites

Adapted  from 


  • 1 large banana
  • 1 ½ tablespoon peanut butter (natural preferred)
  • ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Cut each peeled banana in half lengthwise. Spread each half with peanut butter. Place the halves together like a sandwich. Cut 8 rounds from the banana “sandwich”.
  2. Place the banana bites on parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet and freeze for at least 2 hours.
  3. Put chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and melt on high in 15-second increments, stirring each time (about 1- 1 ½ minutes total).
  4. Dip half of each frozen banana bit in the chocolate. Let stand until the chocolate is set.
  5. Once the chocolate is set, serve or return to the freezer. Store remaining bites in the freezer.

Notes: Natural peanut butter usually does not contain any added sugar. The ¼ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips contributes about 32 grams of added sugar to the entire recipe; therefore, each banana bite has approximately 4 grams of added sugar.