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Hidden sugars you didn’t realize you were eating

Hidden sugars you didn’t realize you were eating. (WCHS/WVAH)

Many people put a packet or two of sugar in their coffee, but you could be getting much more than that in seemingly healthy food you eat every day.

Hidden sugar can be found all over the grocery store.

Sherri Bausley, who's a grocery shopper from Charleston, said she doesn’t always look at the ingredient label on the food she buys.

"I buy yogurt a lot, and I don't look at what's on the back of it,” said Sherri Bausley, who’s from Charleston.

Foods that we eat every day that seem healthy, may actually have more sugar than we're even aware of.

"You just don't think about it because you think, ‘oh, this is healthy. This is yogurt,’" said Becky Powell, who’s from Charleston.

Dietitians and the American Heart Association said it's important to pay attention to how much sugar you consume every day.

"We eat a lot of added sugar - that's extra calories, which puts stress on the body,” said Lindsay Williams, Clinical Registered Dietitian at CAMC Memorial. “It leads to weight gain and obesity and heart disease from all the inflammation of those diseases."

So just how much sugar are we taking in a day?

We found hidden sugar in some food items that may surprise you.

Registered Dietitian Lindsay Williams said a serving of dairy typically has 12 grams of naturally occurring sugars - anything more than that is added sugar.

The yogurt we looked at has the equivalent of three packets of sugar.

Some other items packing in hidden sugar are Gatorade, which has about eight packets sugars, and granola bars, which have three packets.

The hidden sugar in granola bars can vary depending on what’s added to it like dried fruit, chocolate chunks, peanut butter or even coated in chocolate.

"The trick here is it may say ‘honey,’ it may say ‘brown sugar syrup,’ it might say ‘molasses,’ and those all sound like really healthy sugars; however, it's still sugar,” said Williams.

When it comes to dried fruit, Williams said determining the amount of sugar can be a little difficult.

"Dried fruit naturally has a lot of sugar to begin with because it's shriveled up. It's compact, so it's more concentrated. To complicate things, they add sugar to it,” said Williams.

Another item packing in sugar and earning the name of ‘Ultimate Sugar Bomb’ is an energy drink.

A 16 ounce can of Red Bull has about 13 packets of sugar in it.

The AHA recommends that a man doesn’t consume more than 36 grams of added sugar a day; for a woman, it’s recommended she doesn’t exceed 25 grams of added sugar a day.

The amount of added sugar in a 16 ounce can of Red Bull is meets or even exceeds the AHA's recommendations set for a man and a woman.

We asked grocery shopper Sherri Bausley if seeing the amount of added sugar in different food and drink items would change her mind when it comes to her next shopping trip.

She said, "probably not."

For healthy alternative options, Williams said to choose whole grains, brown rice, fresh fruit and veggies and 100-percent fruit juice.

When it comes to figuring out added sugar in foods, Williams said the compliance date for manufacturers to put that on the label is 2018.

Until then, Williams said for healthy alternative options choose whole grains, brown rice, fresh fruit and veggies and 100-percent fruit juice.

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