Added sugar in foods not only adds extra calories, it also can have direct toxic effects, such as tooth decay and even a risk for heart disease. Minimizing the amount of added sugar in your diet is important. However, you may not even realize how much added sugar you consume. That's because some unsuspecting foods you may think are healthy contain added sugar.
In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Donald Hensrud, a Mayo Clinic physician specializing in nutrition and the editor of "The Mayo Clinic Diet," explains what to look out for when trying to avoid added sugar.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (0:55) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.
"Anytime food is processed, there are certain things that are added. And it's often sugar or salt," says Dr. Hensrud.
When trying to identify how much added sugar is in packaged food, look at the nutrition food label. You might be surprised by what you find.
"Many things you wouldn't even suspect — some sauces, some dips, some spreads — there’s added sugars in almost every category of food products out there," says Dr. Hensrud.
Foods that can be surprising sources of added sugar:
"It's been shown that, in many people, the amount of calories they get from added sugars is quite significant," says Dr. Hensrud.
Dr. Hensrud suggests paying close attention to food labels and trying to consume foods that contain natural sugars, like fruits, which are low in calories and contain vitamins and minerals.