Deciphering the Label: Added Sugar


From time to time, I’ll hear someone express puzzlement over my frustration with the amount of sugar in the American diet. “Just don’t eat dessert and you’ll be ok,” is one response I’ve heard.

Wanna bet? Added sugar is everywhere, and this prevalence is causing many of us, including our kids, to consume the equivalent of many, many teaspoons of the stuff on a daily basis. The consequence is that many of us, adults and kids alike, are at a significantly higher risk of a number of chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

To satisfy my own curiosity, I decided to do an informal, back-of-the-envelope calculation of how much sugar a typical five-year-old child might actually consume in a single day. I selected a menu of items similar to what my own kids and their friends might have eaten at that age while also taking into account a parent’s concern that the food be nutritious but also convenient.

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