How Much Is Too Much Sugar

As a parent, there is so much pressure on us to be the best we can be. A good parent wears an awful lot of hats to make sure their kids are well taken care of and provided for. We are a taxi driver, chef, nurse, teacher, police officer, referee, maid, personal shopper, counselor and friend. It is so easy to micro manage within all of these labels we put on ourselves. But sometimes, it takes more vigilance within one of these areas than we may have anticipated.  One of the areas I get most concerned about is the health of my kids. We try to keep the fast and processed food to a minimum, eat more fruits and veggies and cut down on the sweets. I thought I was doing a pretty good job in my role as the food police until I saw an article that stopped me in my tracks. I was shocked when I read an news item from Yahoo! Parenting titled “10 Surprising Sugar Sources” by Beth Greenfield.

Is Your Child Eating Too Much Sugar

In her article, Beth talks about how we as parents think we are doing the right thing when it comes to cutting down our kids sugar intake to the bare minimum. We limit the amount of cookies, cakes, pies, candy, and other sweets, only to find sugar is hiding in a lot of the foods our kids eat. What I was most surprised about is a lot of the foods with hidden sugar are those foods I thought was a “healthy” choice for my kids. On average, our kids are getting 20 teaspoons of sugar each day, which is five times the recommended daily allowance. Is your child getting too much sugar in their diet? Here are a few of the foods with hidden sugar Beth mentioned in her article:

  1. Yogurt: Not only does this favorite snack have almost 15 grams of sugar, it can also have artificial flavors and colors.
  2. Ketchup: Most kids loves to pile this on their fries, but they are also piling on the sugar. Each tablespoon of ketchup contains almost 4 grams of sugar. Most kids do not stop at just one tablespoon, so you need to help them learn about proper portioning.
  3. Pasta Sauce: What kid does not love a plate of pasta smothered in their favorite red or white sauce. Unfortunately, most canned or bottled sauces have a lot of added sugar, and those that do not have added sodium. You may want to consider making your own sauce from fresh tomatoes and herbs.
  4. Oatmeal: This one really surprised me. I thought this was one of the healthiest foods my kids ate, but it is not. Flavored oatmeal has a ton of hidden sugar, so make your kids plain rolled oats and flavor it with fruits or nuts.
  5. Salad Dressing: If you want to have that healthy salad, make sure you are not pouring a bunch of sugar all over it. Most of the dressings you find on the shelf will have added sugar, so try to make your own at home. It is easy to make and is cheaper too!
  6. Peanut Butter: Another favorite of most kids is that classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Well, guess what? The PB and the J both have hidden sugars, so look for natural versions of both for great flavor and less sugar.

hidden sugar

Beth goes on to explain that too much sugar in our kid’s diets can lead to a number of health issues. We know too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, tummy problems and hyperactivity. The other diseases we used to think were exclusive to adults, are now being seen in kids like obesity, compromised immunity, type 2 diabetes, and allergies. Melissa Halas-Liang, pediatric nutritionist and founder of, an organization that provides nutrition workshops and resources to parents and schools throughout the nation, tells Yahoo! Parenting, “The problem is that it really adds up”

Are your kids getting too much sugar? Which hidden food are they getting it from?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.