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Sugar smarts

Test your sugar know-how and learn more about it here

5:34 PM, Jun. 4, 2014  |  Comments
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Test your sugar knowledge:

Sugar is used in an abundance of food items. While it does not really provide any nutritional value, it does serve a purpose when it comes to processing. Sugar can act as a preservative, add bulk to a food item, assist in fermentation processes, and help maintain freshness. It also makes a product taste more appealing. But how much is too much?

We know for certain that over-consumption of sugar can lead to tooth decay, obesity, difficulty controlling type 2 diabetes, abnormal cholesterol values and heart disease. So are there alternatives? Use the quiz below to help answer these and other questions about sugar.

1. How many teaspoons of sugar does the average American consume each day?

a. 5

b. 12

c. 19

d. 22

2. Which of these is table sugar?

a. lactose

b. sucrose

c. sucralose

d. sorbitol

3. Which country leads the world in sugar production?

a. Brazil

b. United States

c. India

d. China

4. There must be less than ____ grams of sugar per serving for a product to be considered "sugar free."

a. 0

b. 0.5

c. 1.0

d. 5.0

5. Which of the following artificial sweeteners are considered safe?

a. aspartame

b. saccharine

c. neotame

d. acesulfame k

e. sucralose

f. all of the above

g. none of the above

6. What is the No. 1 source of added sugar in the U.S diet?

a. cereal

b. snack food, such as cookies

c. soda

d. candy

Answer key:

1: d - 22

Americans eat or drink 22 teaspoons of sugar daily, which is almost half a cup, or about 350 calories. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 9 teaspoons per day for men and 6 teaspoons per day for women.

2: b - sucrose

Sucrose (table sugar) comes mostly from sugar cane, with a smaller percentage coming from sugar beets. Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol.

3: a - Brazil

Brazil is the top sugar producer in the world, and its sugar is sent to more than 100 other countries. Their annual production is more than 37,000 metric tons. The United States is ranked No. 5, and produces just over 7,700 metric tons annually.

4: b - 0.5

A product can claim to be "sugar free" if there are fewer than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. The term "no added sugars" can be used if no sugar ingredient was added during the production process. "Reduced/less sugar" means that there is at least 25 percent less sugar than a corresponding reference food.

5: f - all of the above

All of these artificial sweeteners are considered safe for use and are FDA approved. Artificial sweeteners are several times sweeter than regular sugar. They are added to many processed foods, and some can even be used for baking. They are a good option for many people, especially those interested in reducing their overall caloric intake.

6: c - soda

Soda and other sugary drinks account for the highest percentage of added sugar in our diets. A can of regular Coke has 39 grams of sugar (just over 9 teaspoons) and 140 calories.

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