CHICAGO (CBS) — These days, sugar is a huge part of the American diet but also a big cause of obesity and other health problems.
And it’s not just your sweet tooth that can get you in trouble. CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports on hidden sugars and ways to sugar-proof your diet.READ MORE: Navy Veteran Had Stroke In Costa Rica, And Now He's Stranded As Family Tries To Pay Five-Figure Medical Bills
Most people say they try to limit their sugar binges. But with all the hidden sugars in our diets these days, you may be eating far more than you think.
“There’s sugar in a lot of foods you’d never suspect,” says nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner.
She says everything from pasta sauce to granola bars can have loads of added sugar. In fact, the average person consumes about 155 pounds of sugar each year – or 48 teaspoons a day.
That’s way more than the recommended six teaspoons a day for women and nine for men.
Too much sugar can negatively affect your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, putting you at greater risk for heart disease. So, how can you reduce the cravings?READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Arctic Blast Coming Late Tuesday Night
“Keeping sugar in its natural form, from things like yogurts or fruits, is always the best bet to control that sweet tooth but do it in a naturally nutritious way,” Blatner says.
And be sure to read labels. One brand of plain yogurt, for example, has 13 grams of sugar, naturally. But grab the vanilla yogurt and it’s 44 grams.
The sugar synonyms on the ingredient list, like high fructose corn syrup, tell you it’s from added sugar.
Other hidden sugars can be found in molasses, honey and concentrated fruit juices, Blatner says.
Sue Schamber says her sweet tooth was more of an addiction. So she cut added sugar out of her diet altogether with surprising results.
“Once you get through the first couple of weeks of just making a conscious effort not to have it, I seriously have no craving,” Schamber says.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
Another tip: Don’t skip meals. That can send you right to the sweets, looking for a quick pick-me-up. Remember, added sugar has no nutritional value at all, just empty calories. But naturally occurring sugar in fruit and dairy products is just fine.