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Sugar Is A Treat That's Hard To Beat

May 8, 2014, 6:15 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Sugar Is A Treat That's Hard To Beat

"It's the same thing I come here for all the time. I come here for the fritters," Robert Thomas said.

Robert Thomas treats himself to a doughnut once a week.

"I could easily pass it up, but my brain says, 'You know you like those, and it's just once a week,'" Thomas said.

Experts say Americans are eating too much sugar, but it can be hard to avoid something so tasty -- and so prevalent in food. Even if you avoid doughnuts, you probably still eat plenty of sugar. Health officials recommend women eat no more than six teaspoons a day. Men should limit themselves to a maximum of nine teaspoons of sugar a day.

"Your average can of pop will have about ten teaspoons of sugar." Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian Robbyn Nelson said.

The average American will consume approximately 22 teaspoons a day, she adds. Nelson says some of that sugar may be hidden in your diet.

"In one tablespoon of ketchup, there is a teaspoon of sugar, so even in things like that you are getting a small amount that can add up throughout the day," Nelson said.

An average can of pork and beans actually has more sugar in it than pork.

"When you are looking at the ingredient list, sugar might be labelled as many different things," Nelson said.

If you are avoiding sugar, watch for dextrose, maltose or fructose, along with brown rice syrup or cane syrup.

"Also high fructose corn syrup," Nelson said.

If you are craving something sweet, Nelson recommends looking for sources of natural sugar.

"Natural sugars are found in foods like fruit and milk," Nelson said.

Meanwhile, Thomas aims to cut his sugar intake by cooking his own meals. That way he knows exactly how much sugar he's eating.

"The problem is taking the time. In today's fast-paced world, who has time? Not too many of us, but I use it as a hobby," Thomas said.

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