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Sugar In Food: 8 Eats With More Than A Twinkie

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 04/10/2012 7:04 am Updated: 04/13/2012 12:23 pm

In February, McDonald's oatmeal was "outed" for having more sugar than a Snickers bar, despite being marketed as a "healthier" breakfast option than some of the fast-food chain's more well-known fare.

In 2009, the American Heart Association recommended that women eat or drink no more than 20 grams of added sugar a day, and men no more than 36 grams. That means one Snickers bar, at 30 grams of sugar, would be about all the sugar the average man should eat in an entire day. For women, that's equivalent to about one Twinkie, which will set you back 18 grams.

Eating much more than that has been linked not only to obesity, but to high blood pressure, and elevated levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood.

You probably wouldn't go around eating more than one Snickers, or even a Snickers every day, but it is still easy to overdo it when it comes to sweets -- and fast, too, considering all the places, like that morning oatmeal, that sugar is hiding. Here are eight foods with more sugar than a Twinkie to watch out for.

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  • Yogurt

    Yogurt is often part of a healthy diet, but it's easy to focus on fat and calcium and forget about checking the sugar content. <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500165_162-5377915.html" target="_hplink">Yogurt will naturally have about 12 grams of sugar</a> per 6-ounce serving, Keri Glassman, R.D. told "The Early Show", but many people choose artificially-sweetened brands. An 8-ounce container of vanilla can run <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/107/2" target="_hplink">around 31 grams of sugar</a> and a 6-ounce container of fruit-flavored yogurt can set you back <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/108/2" target="_hplink">32 grams</a>. Also, keep in mind that different brands make their containers varying sizes, so be sure to read nutrition labels closely. But there's one stat to steer clear of at all costs: Any yogurt with <a href="http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-300--11891-0,00.html" target="_hplink">30 grams or more</a> -- more than a Snickers bar -- is "pure garbage" Jayne Hurley, a senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told <em>Runner's World</em>. If you're looking for a lighter option, <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/diet/articles/2011/09/30/greek-yogurt-vs-regular-yogurt-which-is-more-healthful" target="_hplink">Greek yogurt naturally has less sugar</a>, thanks to the straining process that gives it that thick consistency. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/donhomer/6950739451/" target="_hplink">Michael Bentley</a></em>

  • Tomato Sauce

    A serving of canned or bottled tomato sauce is usually about half of a cup, but most of us eat closer to <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/health_blog/6_surprising_sources_of_sugar" target="_hplink">a cup of sauce with our noodles</a>, according to <em>EatingWell</em> magazine. A number of brands pack <a href="http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/sugar-shockers-foods-surprisingly-high-in-sugar?page=3" target="_hplink">11 or 12 grams into a half-cup serving</a>, making a cup of sauce on par with a Twinkie in terms of sugar. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/21560098@N06/6652097393/" target="_hplink">Nina Matthews Photography</a></em>

  • Granola Bars

    Granola bars seem like a healthy pick, especially compared to a candy bar, but when you take a closer look at some brands, there may not actually be much of a difference between the two. Steer clear of any with sugar listed <a href="http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/blogs/fitstop/2011/11/22/healthy-eating/best-worst-cereal-granola-bars/" target="_hplink">in the top three or four ingredients</a>, Elisa Zied, R.D., told <em>Fitness</em> magazine. Depending on the <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/articles/2009/08/24/foods-surprisingly-high-in-added-sugar" target="_hplink">brand and the size of the bar</a>, a serving may have anywhere from 11 to <a href="http://www.clifbar.com/food/products_clif_bar/6311" target="_hplink">22 grams of sugar</a>. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/alejandraowens/5365306483/" target="_hplink">Alejandra Owens</a></em>

  • Fat-Free Salad Dressing

    When manufacturers cut out the fat in your favorite salad dressings, they have to add <em>something</em> to keep some taste in there, and that something <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/health_blog/6_surprising_sources_of_sugar" target="_hplink">is often sugar</a>. A serving of salad dressing is generally a couple of tablespoons -- but restaurants especially can be very heavy-handed: You could be eating up to a cup of dressing. Fat-free French packs <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/7181/2" target="_hplink">42 grams of sugar</a>, Italian, <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/7204/2" target="_hplink">20 grams</a> and fat-free Thousand Island, <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/7203/2" target="_hplink">43</a>, just to name a few. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/evelynishere/3717132199/" target="_hplink">EvelynGiggles</a></em>

  • Muffins

    Of course, baked goods contain sugar. But muffins -- especially bran muffins -- are often considered healthier picks when compared to obvious offenders like doughnuts. In reality, though, today's muffins have become so super-sized, they're packed with sky-high amounts of sugar. A range of muffins surveyed by WebMD clocked in everywhere from 16 to a whopping <a href="http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/sugar-shockers-foods-surprisingly-high-in-sugar?page=2" target="_hplink">32 grams of sugar</a>. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/artbystevejohnson/4772259287/" target="_hplink">Steve A Johnson</a></em>

  • Canned Fruit

    There's plenty of natural sugar in fruit, but the particular problem with canned or other packaged varieties is that many are packed in sugar-laden syrup. Even in light syrup, a one-cup serving of <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1994/2" target="_hplink">canned peaches can have 32 grams of sugar</a> and <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2009/2" target="_hplink">pears can have around 30</a>.

  • Smoothies

    They seem like a great way to get some extra fruit and low-fat dairy in your diet, but smoothies can be overly sweet. Of course, some of the sugars are naturally found in yogurt, milk and fruit, but commercially prepared smoothies often list added sugar high up on the ingredients list. Popular brands can contain anywhere from <a href="http://www.jambajuice.com/component/nutfacts/type/33" target="_hplink">38 grams of sugar</a> to <a href="http://www.thatsfit.com/2010/07/14/mcdonalds-smoothies-more-calories-than-a-cheeseburger/" target="_hplink">70 grams</a>, to <a href="http://www.smoothieking.com/smoothies/nutritional-chart.php" target="_hplink">over 100</a>, depending on the ingredients and the size. Your best bet is to <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/health_blog/6_surprising_sources_of_sugar" target="_hplink">make your own at home with fresh fruit and nonfat yogurt</a>. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetonveg/4527956733/" target="_hplink">SweetOnVeg</a></em>

  • Cereal

    Late last year, the Environmental Working Group, a public health nonprofit, took a close look at how much sugar we spoon into our bowls for breakfast. The findings on popular cereals is alarming: The worst offender -- Kellogg's Honey Smacks -- contains <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/07/cereals-sugar_n_1132025.html" target="_hplink">20 grams of sugar per serving</a>. Over 40 other picks contained more than 11 grams of sugar per serving, more than three Chips Ahoy! cookies. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vox_efx/2912194967/" target="_hplink">Vox Efx</a></em>

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CLARIFICATION: Recommendations for daily sugar intake pertain to added sugar, as opposed to naturally-occurring sugar in foods like fruit and dairy products.

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