Sugar in foods you’d never expect: 5 tips to help your family reduce its daily sugar intake

MILWAUKEE -- Sugar -- you know it's in candy, cookies, cupcakes -- but it also shows up in foods you'd never expect. That's why we've called in registered dietitian Ashleigh Spitza with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. She's shares some ways to reduce your family's sugar intake.

We all know the negative effects of sugar: weight gain, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay, to name a few. Unfortunately, it only seems to be getting worse.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the past 30 years, obesity in children has doubled and in adolescents it`s quadrupled.

Five tips to help your family reduce its daily sugar intake:

  1. Beware of hidden sugar: The hidden sugar offenders are foods that often don`t even taste sweet, such as spaghetti sauce, ketchup and bread. That`s why it`s always important to carefully read labels. Look for the brands that do not include sugar, corn syrup, cane syrup or other forms of the sweet stuff in their ingredient lists.
  2. Bake instead of buy: There is no reason to eliminate sweet treats altogether. Baking at home allows you to use less sugar or even replace it with applesauce or other low-sugar alternatives. Look for sugar-free or low-sugar recipes online.
  3. Cut out sweetened beverages: Avoid keeping sugar-sweetened sodas or juices in your home. Sugar-sweetened beverages are responsible for the majority of added sugar in kids` diets, so leave them behind from here on out.
  4. Find alternatives: If your kids can identify they are craving something sweet, try fruit. Frozen grapes or baked apples are sweet and delicious. Instead of putting sugar on fruit or cereal, get out the cinnamon shaker.
  5. Decrease sugar tolerance: As your family cuts back on sugar, foods high in sugar will start to taste too sweet. This change happens slowly, but if you can work toward keeping added sugar under 24 grams a day, taste buds will adapt and you and your family will appreciate naturally sweet foods even more.