Consuming too much of the sweet stuff can lead to numerous health risks, from the mere pesky cavity to serious afflictions like heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure and chronic obesity.
Added sugar, or sugar that does not occur naturally in food, but is instead added during the production process, is especially harmful. With more than two-thirds of Americans currently battling obesity, health experts are urging men and women to monitor and, most importantly, cut back on added sugar.
And though you might think added sugar is mostly confined to pastries, pies and cookies, there are numerous everyday foods and drinks that can send your sugar intake through the roof.
Soda1 of 11
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines urges Americans to keep their added sugar consumption to only 10 percent of their daily calories. This comes out to around 48 grams of sugar a day.
An everyday 20-ounce Pepsi has 69 grams.
Because of soda's high sugar content, it's one of the first things health professionals urge you to stay away from. If you want to take your sugar consumption seriously, cut out these harmful carbonated drinks entirely.
Granola Bars2 of 11
Granola bars taste good for a reason—most are loaded with added sugar. Pick high-quality bars by checking the label and comparing calorie content with added sugar. Though an everyday Chewy granola bar may only come in at 100 calories, it has seven grams of sugar. That's a lot of sugar for so little substance.
The same goes for energy or protein bars, which are also sugar-laden. A single PowerBar Protein Plus can ring in at a whopping 30 grams of sugar.
Fruit Drinks3 of 11
Fruit drinks may seem like an easy and convenient way to get in your two servings of fruit each day, but most are loaded with unnatural sugars.
For example, a 12-ounce serving of apple juice contains around 39 grams of sugar. A small, everyday apple has only 15 grams (plus loads of fiber!).
When it comes to fruit, stick to the whole stuff or look for a juice that specifically advertises no added sugar. Even labels like "100% pure" or "not from concentrate" still don't rule out added sugar.
Flavored Yogurt4 of 11
Yoplait is one of the most popular brands of yogurt, and though many of its product offerings are fat-free, the same can't be said for sugar. In fact, a small, six-ounce strawberry Yoplait Yogurt has 26 grams of it.
High sugar content is a common theme with nonfat products. During your next trip to the grocery store, make sure to read labels thoroughly and take a harder look at any non-fat yogurt or dairy products. If you really want to stay clear of sugary yogurts, purchase plain yogurt and add your own whole fruit for sweetness.
Condiments5 of 11
Ketchup, barbecue sauce, honey mustard—you name it, it's full of sugar. Just a tablespoon of ketchup has an impressive four grams of sugar, so keep that in mind the next time you squirt ketchup onto your heaping plate of fries.
In addition to the added sugar, condiments also have little to no nutritional value, so cut them out entirely if you can.
Energy Drinks6 of 11
One can of the popular energy drink Red Bull contains an incredible 37 grams of sugar. Though many brands are now coming out with no-sugar alternatives, you might want to stick to unsweetened coffee to fight off your sleepy days. The Food and Drug Administration does not currently regulate the amount of caffeine in energy drinks, and some experts worry they contain dangerous levels.
Salad Dressing7 of 11
Are salads your vegetable of choice come mealtime? Many salad dressings, especially those labeled nonfat or light, can contain up to four grams of sugar per tablespoon. Choose wrong, and just a few measly tablespoons will turn your healthy salad into a sweetened dessert.
Want a healthier option? Stick to extra virgin olive oil instead.
Cereal8 of 11
Breakfast cereals are notoriously sugary, and we're not just talking Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes. Even cereals like Raisin Bran can pack around 18 grams of sugar per cup—and who ever stops at a single cup?
It's not just cold cereals, either. Hot cereals like oatmeal can hide loads of sugar, especially the flavored and instant varieties.
Spaghetti Sauce9 of 11
Because tomato sauce has such an acidic taste, most mainstream processors add in sugar, often in the form of corn syrup, to counteract the acidity and get a better-tasting product. This results in around seven grams of added sugar in a mere half cup of spaghetti sauce. It doesn't take long for that to add up as you pour an entire can of sauce over your piping hot pot of pasta.
For a healthier option, look for jarred sauces that advertise no added sugar or list corn syrup near the bottom of their ingredients.
Sports Drinks10 of 11
Thanks to the name, sports drinks often seem healthier than they really are. But unless you're a professional athlete, there's a good chance downing a sports drink after your workout probably did your body more harm than good, since most brands pack baselines of around 20 grams of sugar each.
Unless you're a serious athlete trying to maintain your electrolyte levels, water should be more than enough to replenish your body after a hard session at the gym.