Friday, December 9, 2011

Food Facts Friday: Sugar

"It's comin' on Christmas, their cutting down trees, putting up render and singing songs of joy and peace..."
Joni Mitchell!
Okay, I'm showing my age.
I still love listening to this song this time of year!

Yes, it is the holiday season! And with that comes sugar - sugar in candy, sugar in cookies, pies, cakes, breads, sugar in sweet alcohol drinks, sugar, sugar, sugar!

That's why, this week, when I got EWG e-mail on how much sugar is in the cereal we feed our children, I was shocked to see that the Honey Nut Cheerios had more sugar than three Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies. Could it be? I had to check for myself.

It's 9grams of sugar per serving!

I haven't told my kids, yet - I don't know how to handle this one...
Oh no, Mom's gonna take our Honey Nut Cheerios away!
I think it will be more like ....
Pleeeze, pretty pleeze, just buy us the Chips Ahoy.
We'll sacrifice and eat those for breakfast!
So, that's when I got to thinking, what's a parent to do? How do we know what amount of sugar is okay? I mean, c'mon, 9, 10 or 12grams - those are some small numbers - they don't seem so bad, right?

I guess it's a little subjective: Some may say that they are okay feeding sugary cereals to their kids because at least their kids are getting some vitamins (if the cereal is fortified). And if the kids like the cereal, at least they are eating breakfast. 

Other's may want to find an alternative - but how do you know what to look for? How do you know if the alternative isn't just as bad? 
You need to check the Nutrition Facts label.
Honey Nut Cheerios Nutrition Fact Label
Look under Carbohydrate. Here you will find different values for: 
  1. Dietary fiber
  2. Soluble fiber - which is how General Mills gets to claim that Cheerios helps lower your cholesterol and is good for your heart. Soluble fiber pulls fat/lipids and bile out of your gut so you can pass it out in your poops. With less fat/lipids absorbed, there are less fat/lipids (LDL cholesterol) going into your blood, thus lower cholesterol and a happier heart.
  3. Sugars (see 9grams)
  4. Other carbohydrates.
Since 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon of sugar, you can take that 9 grams of sugar you found on the Honey Nut Nutrition label and divide it by 4: 
9 grams/4 = ___teaspoons of sugar
9 grams of sugar = 2&1/4 teaspoons of sugar

So 3/4 of a cup of Honey Nut Cheerios has 2&1/4 teaspoons of sugar. That's not so bad, but who eats just 3/4 of a cup of cereal?

This one is a real eye opener:
27grams of sugar
You do the math and tell me how many teaspoons of sugar are in that 1 serving (27 grams) of soda.


Post a Comment