Sugar Content of Foods in Photos

Updated on July 19, 2018
Faceless39 profile image

I'm a dental hygienist, pyrography artist, avid gardener, writer, vegetarian, world traveler, and many other things!

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.

Watermelon

Sugar = 18 g, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 3 mg, Protein = 1.7 g, Vitamin C = 23 mg, Vitamin A = 1,593 IU

1 slice watermelon = 18 g sugar
1 slice watermelon = 18 g sugar | Source

Grapes

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%

1 bunch grapes = 21 g sugar
1 bunch grapes = 21 g sugar | Source

Orange

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%

1 large orange = 23 g sugar
1 large orange = 23 g sugar | Source

Is your current impression that fruits are completely healthy?

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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%

3 chocolate chip cookies = 11 g sugar
3 chocolate chip cookies = 11 g sugar | Source

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

PBJ = 16 g sugar + bread
PBJ = 16 g sugar + bread | Source

Do you eat packaged snacks?

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Snickers Bar

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

Snickers regular = 28 g sugar
Snickers regular = 28 g sugar | Source

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?

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Red Bull

1 can (255 g). Sugar = 26 g, Calories = 115, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 214 mg, Protein = 1 g, Calcium = 3%

1 can Red Bull = 26 g sugar
1 can Red Bull = 26 g sugar | Source

Orange Juice

12 oz. bottle. Sugar = 29 g, Calories = 143, Fat = 0 g, Sodium = 6 mg, Protein = 2 g, Vitamin C = 160%

Small bottle OJ = 29 g sugar
Small bottle OJ = 29 g sugar | Source

McDonald's Milkshake

Medium (21 oz). Sugar = 112 g, Calories = 771, Fat = 21 g, Sodium = 336 mg, Protein = 17 g, Calcium = 58%

Medium chocolate shake = 112 g sugar
Medium chocolate shake = 112 g sugar | Source

Mountain Dew

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

20 oz. Mountain Dew = 77 g sugar
20 oz. Mountain Dew = 77 g sugar | Source

Coke Classic

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

20 oz. Coke Classic = 65 g sugar
20 oz. Coke Classic = 65 g sugar | Source

Do you read the Nutrition Facts for foods you buy?

See results

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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Kate P

    Comments

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      • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

        Kate P 

        3 years ago from The North Woods, USA

        Hi May, thanks for a thought-provoking question! I guess my point is that fruits are pushed as completely healthy, and the sugar aspect is not really in the equation. As a dental hygienist by profession, I have seen the detrimental side effects of this hundreds of times. Eating fruits is definitely better than processed junk, but most people don't realize that they're chock full of fructose, or fruit sugars. I guess my message is to minimize consumption of fruits just as you'd minimize consumption of other sources of sugar. Natural is always better, but that doesn't make it "good." I hope that helps..

      • profile image

        may 

        3 years ago

        So, what you're saying is that eating fruits is just as bad as eating all the bad sugar junk???? This is why people such as myself are confused because one will say natural sugars are good because we can digest them while someone like you will say any form of sugar is bad even if it's a fruit! So which is it????

      • Hendrika profile image

        Hendrika 

        4 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

        So good to see. I find that many people are not aware of the amount of sugar in fruit juice and think it is OK to consume in huge quantities.

      • profile image

        Rozalyn Winters 

        4 years ago

        I'm a huge natural health buff, and I always learn something new with your hubs. Great job!

      • profile image

        Norah Chandler 

        4 years ago

        It was really interesting to see a physical representation of how much sugar is in certain foods and beverages. Sugar is particularly harmful to teeth, so it is good to keep those amount s in mind. It looks like even simple fruit has quite a bit of sugar, albeit much less than processed sugary treats.

        Norah Chandler http://www.beaumarisdentalclinic.com.au

      • healthygurl profile image

        healthygurl 

        5 years ago from Canada

        Love everything about this article, especially the pictures!

      • Born2care2001 profile image

        Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

        6 years ago from Asheville NC

        Hi Kate!

        I am grateful for your article. It serves as my reminder of how silly I am when it comes to eating certain foods, especially those with high sugar content. I have suffered some of the consequences of poor oral hygiene as a youngster and though I have learned my lessons in some areas, a sugar addiction is hard to break, especially when manufacturers load it up in all of our foods.

        Though you stress moderation, googling the impact of sugar on the immune system will help people understand the importance of cutting way down. It isn't about being fat, it's about being healthy and the combination of obesity and immune deficiency is deadly.

        Well done! I enjoyed the photo's. They're worth a thousand words.

      • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

        Kate P 

        6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

        Actually Tony, your teeth don't care what type of fermentable sugars you consume; all of them lead to tooth decay. In addition, carbs are carbs, and as many people know, over-eating of carbohydrates converts directly into fat. If you eat minimal amounts of sugar, your body will burn it off. If you over-consume it, your body will store it for future energy needs--as fat.

        Thanks for the great comments!

      • profile image

        Tony 

        6 years ago

        Nice, BUT... I don't think natural sugars in fruit can be compared in this way to the "sugars" and sweeteners in things such as cola, candy, etc. On Weight Watchers an unlimited amount of most fruits can be eaten. Weight Watchers is widely regarded as one of, if not the, best weight lose programs.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        6 years ago from the short journey

        We had a great pediatrician with a similar visual aid for sugar consumption that was very helpful. Good stuff here!

      • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

        Kate P 

        6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

        Yup, unfortunately juice is full of sugar; it's not something that is widely known, but it sure is helpful to know when trying to lose weight!

        Thank you everyone for your awesome comments! :)

      • profile image

        Derdriu 

        6 years ago

        Faceless39, What a clear, interesting, useful summary of sugar intake in its different amounts and forms! In particular, you make it easy for readers to compare how much of what to take because of your comparison lists of calories and nutrient (or non-nutient!) information alongside each symbolic photo.

        Thank you for sharing, etc.,

        Derdriu

      • Carlon Michelle profile image

        Carlon Michelle 

        6 years ago from USA

        No wonder I have a hard time loosing weight. 100% Juice is full of sugar. Maybe less then soda but still too much to count on loosing weight with. Thanks for the info. Smile!

      • truthfornow profile image

        truthfornow 

        6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

        People don't realize how much sugar they are consuming. We are sugar addicts! Thanks for breaking this all down and reminding us about moderation and to be mindful of what we are eating.

      • profile image

        ChuckG 

        6 years ago

        I don't think it's fully ingrained within us how addictive sugar can be to someone who over indulges. I brush my teeth after I eat anything. I just need to floss more. Thanks for the hub.

      • DeborahNeyens profile image

        Deborah Neyens 

        6 years ago from Iowa

        This is great. I've shared it.

      • Kris Heeter profile image

        Kris Heeter 

        6 years ago from Indiana

        Great way to show the sugar content. I'll be sharing this hub with a few of my clients!

      • phdast7 profile image

        Theresa Ast 

        6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

        Great visual examples to help all of us realize what we are actually eating and drinking and how it might impact us. Good work.

      • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

        Kate P 

        6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

        Awesome,thanks for the constructive feedback you guys!

        (PS: I use xylitol in my coffee! Article on that up at the top. It's actually GOOD for your teeth, natural, and sweeter than sugar so you need less.) :)

        You know, I'd thought about the gram vs. ounce thing and came to the conclusion that it would create lots of numbers like 28g = 0.987 ounces. We're dealing with really small numbers of ounces here. So I guess if you picture a sugar cube as being 4.2 grams, it'll hopefully help with the visualization. Thanks for the comment on that! :)

      • Lateral3 profile image

        Lateral3 

        6 years ago

        This is a good one Faceless39. A Visual representation of the sugar content really brings it home. At the risk of bringing wrath down upon my head though I would say that the visual works for me because I don't relate to grams when it comes to the nutritional values on foodstuffs these days. For instance; the 20oz bottle of coke with 2.3 oz of sugar makes more sense to me than 65g and I probably wouldn't need the visual aid.

        I suspect this may be true for older people and political dissidents who scan down the list of contents and say "the hell with it" and throw it in their basket anyway.

      • jfay2011 profile image

        jfay2011 

        6 years ago

        very interesting hub. I am terrible about sugar in my coffee

      • profile image

        Mo Cee 

        6 years ago

        In addition to adverse effects on our teeth, sugar also affects our skin. Good article, ey!

      • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

        Kate P 

        6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

        Thanks a lot for your positive feedback, you guys! It's always appreciated. :)

        And I'll be honest; I have no idea what this hub has to do with ego, but hey, as long as you got something out of it I don't care! Lol.

      • Spirit Whisperer profile image

        Xavier Nathan 

        6 years ago from Isle of Man

        You have just written a great hub to support ego.

      • ktrapp profile image

        Kristin Trapp 

        6 years ago from Illinois

        A picture certainly is worth a thousand words in this case. What a great representation of how much sugar is in popular foods and drinks. I know I will now try to draw a mental image of the sugar cubes each time I eat something "junky" without giving it much thought. ~voted up, useful and very interesting~

      • Happyboomernurse profile image

        Gail Sobotkin 

        6 years ago from South Carolina

        Very well done! Using the sugar cubes next to the food choices makes a very strong "statement". I also liked the suggestions for good oral care.

        voted up, useful and interesting.

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