Experts warm Americans have too much sugar in their diet - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Experts warm Americans have too much sugar in their diet

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Remember when eating treats use to be a treat? Now, some people are expecting a desert after most meals. And, experts say Americans are consuming much more than the recommended daily amount of sugar.

It's the most popular ingredient used in the United States; but, a dietitian says to much sugar can wreak havoc on your body.

"Too much sugar can cause mood swings, depression, those types of things," said Hy-Vee dietitian Tonya Huenink. "It's not very good for your digestive health and it certainly isn't good for your cholesterol and your heart health."

The average adult should eat at maximum about 8 teaspoons, or 32 grams, of sugar a day. However, Huenink says most adults consume way more than that... as much as 88 grams. So, where's it all coming from?

"When you have a piece a cake or a doughnut or a can of pop you realize you're having sugar," said Huenink. "But, when you have a couple tablespoons of ketchup with your fries you don't think about the teaspoon of sugar that's in every tablespoon of ketchup.

Hidden sugars. They're everywhere. And some food manufacturers know how to hide them in the ingredients list.

"Some manufacturers will use multiple types of sugar," said Huenink. "So instead of strawberry jam saying sugar then strawberries, they can write it as strawberries then sugar then dextrose and a couple other sources of sugar."

Huenink says it's important to know the difference between natural sugar and added sugar. Natural sugars can be found in fruits and milk products. However, she says there's a lot of seemingly healthy foods that contain a lot of added sugars.

"The yogurt section is huge and some of them are great options for you and some of them have just as much sugar as a candy bar. So if you think this seems so good I can have a yogurt that taste like Boston cream pie and it's good for me, a lot of them will have upwards of 30 grams of sugar, which is way too much sugar for yogurt," said Huenink. "So look for a lower sugar option like a Greek yogurt."

There are other ways to cut the sugar you consume.

"Try to make more foods at home and buy less processed things. For most people it's just making small changes to get your taste buds adapted," said Huenink

Enjoy sugar with your coffee? Huenink recommends using a small amount of raw local honey.

"They have a pretty good amount of antioxidants and minerals in there so you're not just getting that sugar you're getting some nutrients with it," said Huenink

However, when it comes to artificial sweeteners, Huenink says she doesn't recommend it.

"Most of them haven't been around for a long time, so we don't know for sure what would happen if you ate it every day for a long time. A little bit here and there is not an issue," said Huenink

You may think you're doing a good thing for your child by giving them a fruit flavored drink. Huenink if it says 'fruit drink' it's basically sugar. The real deal will say 100 percent fruit juice. Still, juice is pretty high in sugar, so Huenink says to keep it at a half a cup a day.

Just like most things, Huenink says sugar is fine in moderation.

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