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Not so Sweet

by Tracy Barry

Bio | Email | Follow: @tracybarrynews

Posted on February 15, 2007 at 3:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:33 PM

I know this is mean. Talking about the dangers of too much sugar in our diet the day after Valentine's Day. So if you are still working on that box of chocolates I am sorry about this.

But while we've all been obsessed with checking for trans-fats something else is lurking on our labels. Sugar. It has many aliases. High fructose corn syrup is the one currently getting all the attention, but Dr. Miles Hassell at the St. Vincent Medical Center says they are all bad in excess.

Now if you are telling yourself... "I don't eat candy very often" here's the problem. Most of the sugar we eat isn't in candy. It's in other processed foods. For starters,soda, juice, sports drinks, spaghetti sauce and cereal. Start checking the labels and you will be amazed.

I'm doing a special report on this tonight at five, but here's some examples for you.

A 12 oz can of soda has at least 10 teaspoons of sugar in it. Make it a double big gulp and you are drinking more than 50 teaspoons of sugar and 600 calories! ( I decided to check on this because one of my favorite photographers seems to always have one in hand ).The juice drink pouches that all the little kids love have 6 teaspoons. Might as well give them a bag of M&M's! You would expect to find all those kids cereals just loaded with sugar but how about something called Smart Start Healthy Heart? It says it is lightly sweetened. That translates to more than 4 teaspoons a serving.

It adds up fast. And Dr Hassell says it adds up to things like obesity; type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and dementia. How's that for a line-up? I know I went home and cleaned out my pantry. That doesn't mean I'm giving up chocolate, it just means I'm giving up processed foods with hidden sugar.

Here are some tips from dietician Terese Scollard from Providence Health System. 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon of sugar so read the labels. If you can,buy your food unsweetened. Any amount of sugar you add to it will likely be much less than the pre-sweetened kind. If you need the convenience of ready-made spaghetti sauce...dilute it with a can of unsweetened diced tomatoes. And eat fruit of course to satisfy that sweet tooth. Although it's sweet, it also has the whole package of fiber and vitamins.

And the final word goes to Dr. Hassell... if sugar by any name is in the first three ingredients of a's best to avoid it.

Hope you enjoy the story tonight and as always, thanks for watching.

Tracy Barry