Aimee Shelton

How much added sugar is too much?

Most people today agree that eating too much added sugar is unhealthy. Science backs those claims. In fact, added sugar contributes to nearly EVERY SINGLE disease state in the human experience. In addition to the chronic disorders, the added sugar associated with the Standard American Diet (SAD) also causes acne, premature aging, depression and decreased immune function! 

But how much is too much? According to the American Cancer Institute, adult men eat about 24 teaspoons (96 grams) of added sugar each day. (13 teaspoons more than the recommended limit set by The American Heart Association!) Surprisingly, the average American consumes close to ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY POUNDS of sugar annually! 

Because of the effects on human health,  the World Health Organization recommends slashing the AHA guidelines in half!

Types of Sugar

The amount of added sugar found in virtually every single packaged food product creates a problem for consumers. These processed & refined foods have become staples in the SAD. Calorie-dense and nutrient deficient, processed foods rely on added sugar, hydrogenated fats and chemical flavorings to make them appealing – and ADDICTIVE!

So how does your favorite snack compare to the recommended guidelines?

Let’s go step-by-step to evaluate how a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie fits into the recommended guidelines.

Oatmeal Cream Pie
Serving Size

First, we need to identify what equals a serving. In this case, a single serving is “75 grams”. We can assume this would be a single, individually wrapped pie.

Now I am curious if each pie does indeed weigh 75 grams. . . 

Next, look closer at the list of ingredients:

According to this list, I count ELEVEN different added sweeteners! All of which are refined & processed ingredients. (Starches may be added to enhance texture, but can also be considered sweeteners)

BTW – When is the last time you found a raisin in your oatmeal pie? Other boxes list “raisin paste” instead. . .

Ingredient List
Sugar Nutritional Facts

Finally, look at the total amount of added sugars:

A female trying to follow the AHA guidelines would go over her daily limit with this one snack!

Unfortunately, swapping with an “organic” packaged snack doesn’t mean less added sugar

Annie's Organic Chewy Bars

“Organic” and “Whole Grain” doesn’t always equal “Healthy”. Let’s see how Annie’s Organic Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bar compares.

The recommended serving size is 1 bar (26 grams, which is about 1/3 the size of the Little Debbie Snack Cake.)

Serving Size

Now for the ingredients…

Ingredient List of Sugars

I find 7 ingredients that contribute to the sweetness of this snack. They are all organic ingredients, but are still processed. This means they will still affect your blood sugar quickly.

Added Sugar

When we look at the amount of added sugar, this granola bar seems like a pretty good choice. But with less than 1 gram of dietary fiber and only 2 grams of protein, it definitely doesn’t fit the Rule of 5 (5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of unsaturated fat per serving.)

Another thing to consider, if you were to consume the same AMOUNT as the oatmeal cream pie (75 grams), you would still ingest just over 20 grams of added sugar.

The bottom line:  you have control over the ingredients of whole food snacks, making them the best choices.


Whole food snacks are always best

Apples with Caramel

One of my favorite snacks is 2 tbsp unsweetened almond butter spread over a medium apple.

This definitely fits the Rule of 5, with 5 g of dietary fiber, 7 g protein and 10 g of unsaturated fat!

What is your go-to whole food snack?