Some foods contain sugar that has been added during processing. The following foods contain a large amount of sugar. The sugar content is shown in grams, and its equivalents in teaspoons are also given. Try to eat high-sugar foods less frequently or in smaller amounts. Check labels and compare similar foods—choose those that are lower in sugar content. Go easy on adding sugar to food.
This can lead to an increased risk of bone problems as we grow older (see Chapter 3, Osteoporosis, page 67). The increase in sugar consumption also has been attributed to the increasing availability of low-fat versions of such dessert and snack foods as cookies, cakes, and frozen desserts.
Often, the sugar content of these foods is high because sugar is used to replace the flavor lost when the fat is decreased. Sugar promotes tooth decay, when consumed in forms that allow it to remain in contact with the teeth for extended periods (see sidebar:
Hidden” Sugar in Common Foods, this page). Thus, foods that are high in sugar, or sugar and fat, and have few other nutrients to offer appear at the top of the Food Guide Pyramid because they should be eaten sparingly. In contrast, choosing fresh fruits, which are naturally sweetened with their own fructose, or low-fat yogurt, which contains lactose (natural milk sugar), allows us to get the vitamins and minerals contained in those foods as well as other food components that contribute to health but may not have yet been identified.
On the positive side, there is no credible evidence to demonstrate that sugar causes diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, or hypoglycemia. No evidence has been found that sugar-containing foods are “addictive” in the true sense of the word, although many people report craving sweet foods, particularly those that are also high in fat.