Sugar Content of Foods in Photos
Most people are aware that over-consuming of any one food can have negative health consequences. Health professionals recommend eating a wide variety of foods and drinks in moderation.
This is especially true with sugar. While people need to carefully monitor their sugar intake, all of us should be careful to only have sugar in small amounts, preferably with meals.
These days, the sugar content in foods and beverages has gotten out of control. As an oral health professional, I see the negative effects of this all the time, and the health issues from eating too much sugar extend way beyond dental problems.
There are many ways to reduce your risk of developing dental problems associated with sugar, and I will share those later. First, here are some surprising facts about the sugar content in popular, and supposedly healthy, foods.
Sugar Content in Fruit
If I had to pick one food category that's promoted as a health food, I would instantly think of fruit. It's often pushed as the "healthy alternative" to sugary and high-fat snacks.
The truth of the matter, however, is that it's only healthy in moderation, like everything else!
Fruits contain essential vitamins that, in all honesty, are some of the easiest to acquire. Want your Vitamin C for the day? Eat an entire serving of fruit and you'll likely get enough to meet your body's needs.
1 Sugar Cube = 4.2 g of Sugar
Fruit is sugary. Yes, they're "natural" sugars, but what does that actually mean? Well, it means they're naturally full of sugar and it hasn't been added. Is that beneficial? Eating anything in its natural form is preferable and more healthy than something that's been produced or introduced in a factory. That said, be aware that though fruits are good in moderation, they contain a lot of sugar.
How much? Here are some visual representations.
Sugar = 18 g, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 3 mg, Protein = 1.7 g, Vitamin C = 23 mg, Vitamin A = 1,593 IU
One bunch, or 126 g, of grapes. Sugar = 21 g, Fat = 0.24 g, Sodium = 4 mg, Protein = 1 g, Vitamin C = 27%, Vitamin A = 2%
One large orange, or 270 g of orange fruit. Sugar = 23 g, Fat = 0.24 g, Sodium = 2 mg, Protein = 1.5 g, Vitamin C = 160%, Vitamin A = 8%
Is your current impression that fruits are completely healthy?
Sugar Content in Snack Foods
Nobody will make the claim that Snickers bars and chocolate chip cookies are "good" for you, but gosh are they delicious!
Again, the key here is moderation. A Snickers bar every day is a bit excessive; a Snickers bar a few times a day is going to do some damage to the pancreas, the gland that produces insulin. If the pancreas cannot keep up with demand, in simple terms, it can lead to an unhealthy situation and eventually to diabetes.
Even oral health professionals eat sugar, but I ask you to keep some of the following images in mind when you're choosing foods. Hopefully these images will help you to moderate your sugary snack food consumption to a reasonable level.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
3 cookies (34 g). Sugar = 11 g, Calories = 160, Fat = 8 g, Sodium = 105 mg, Protein = 2 g, Iron = 4%
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Peanut Butter Serving size = 2 Tbsp. (32 g). Sugar = 3 g, Calories = 190, Fat = 16 g, Sodium = 147 mg, Protein = 8 g.
Jelly/Jam Serving size = 2 Tbsp. (20 g). Sugar = 13 g, Calories = 100, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 12 mg, Protein = 0 g
Do you eat packaged snacks?
1 regular bar (57 g). Sugar = 28 g, Calories = 266, Fat = 11 g, Sodium = 130 mg, Protein = 5 g
1 king size bar (113 g). Sugar = 56 g, Calories = 528, Fat = 22 g, Sodium = 258 mg, Protein = 10 g
Sugar Content in Beverages
Most of us enjoy drinking soda pop or fruit juices once in a while. That's okay! As with anything, moderation is the key, and consuming a wide range of foods and drinks is beneficial.
Today, sugary drinks are often consumed multiple times per day, potentially leading to mood swing disorders, hyperactivity in children and young adults, rampant cavities, and weight gain.
Remember to swish with water after drinking any drinks other than water! This can save your teeth from the constant assault. Also, try to drink sugary drinks all at once, as quickly as possible. Each sip starts an acid attack on your teeth that lasts about 20 minutes!
Sugar + Bacteria + Acid + Time = Tooth Decay
Do you drink pop / soda?
1 can (255 g). Sugar = 26 g, Calories = 115, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 214 mg, Protein = 1 g, Calcium = 3%
12 oz. bottle. Sugar = 29 g, Calories = 143, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 6 mg, Protein = 2 g, Vitamin C = 160%
Medium (21 oz). Sugar = 112 g, Calories = 771, Fat = 21 g, Sodium = 336 mg, Protein = 17 g, Calcium = 58%
Serving size = 20 oz. Sugar = 77 g, Calories = 282, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 118 mg, Protein = 0 g
Serving size = 1 L. Sugar = 123 g, Calories = 451, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 189 mg, Protein = 0 g
Serving size = 12 oz. Sugar = 39 g, Calories = 140, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 45 mg, Protein = 0 g
Serving size = 20 oz. Sugar = 65 g, Calories = 240, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 75 mg, Protein = 0 g
Do you read the Nutrition Facts for foods you buy?
How to Protect Your Teeth
- Decrease your sugar consumption.
- Brush at least twice daily with a fluoride or xylitol toothpaste.
- Floss once daily using the correct methods.
- Swish with water after snacks, meals, and sugary drinks.
- Use a straw, which will help the sugar bypass your teeth.
- Chew sugar-free gum after snacks, meals, and drinks.
- Limit sticky snacks like caramel, raisins, and dried fruits.
- Consume sugary foods and beverages all at once rather than over long periods of time; each instance of sugar intake starts a new acid attack on your teeth that lasts 20-40 minutes.
- Visit your dental hygienist and dentist regularly.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
© 2011 Kate P