Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Many Teaspoons of Sugar in a Gram?

44 teaspoons of sugar
Comedian John Oliver did a funny bit recently in which he proposed measuring the amount of sugar in foods in Circus Peanuts.

One Circus Peanut has about 5.5 grams of sugar -- or a little more than a teaspoon (four grams of sugar = one teaspoon). So an eight ounce glass of Welch's grape juice juice has the same amount of sugar as six Circus Peanuts (36g). That's a whopping 9 teaspoons of sugar in one healthy-sounding beverage!

The HBO star's point was that most Americans have no idea what a gram is; so using this abstract metric term on nutritional labels is a way to hide how much sugar lurks in their favorite breakfast cereal or spaghetti sauce.

If you were to put one teaspoon of sugar in a bowl for every four grams of sugar you consume. you might be shocked by the large mountain of sugar in your bowl at the end of each day -- unless you're already hip to hidden sugar.

The FDA is considering changing package labels to include the amount of added sugar in a food, but that won't completely solve the problem since the Welch's Grape Juice that so many moms pour into their kids' sippy cups has no added sugar -- yet is far less healthy than giving their children actual grapes.

Citing over 9,000 studies linking sugar to obesity and cavities, the World Health Organization recommends that humans get no more than 5% of their calories from added sugars -- or 25g per 2000 calories. Just one can of Coke would put someone over the limit as would some surprisingly sugary yogurt products and "health" drinks.

Candy juice for college students
Obviously, Oliver was joking about using Circus Peanuts as a sugar metric, but using teaspoons does make sense. The front of each product's package or jar should have a graphic depicting how many teaspoons are inside.
With more than four teaspoons of sugar per pastry, that might give some people pause before picking up that box of Pop Tarts.

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