Monday, July 2, 2012

Do You Know How Much Sugar Is In Your Favorite Snack?

Last Sunday, I was at Kidsfest NYC teaching children about healthy snacking habits and label reading. Kids and parents alike were drawn to my table by a sign that read, “Is Vitamin Water healthy?” to which many of them immediately responded yes. On the table, I displayed an array of snack and drink items with the amount of sugar attached in zip lock bags. 

(Quick tip: To easily convert grams to teaspoons on your own, divide the number of grams listed on the label by four!) 

Kids and parents alike were appalled by how full many of the zip lock bags on the table were. While many people said they could easily gulp down a seemingly harmless Snapple or Naked Juice, they were shocked when they saw how much sugar they were actually consuming. Although they could never imagine eating 19 teaspoons of sugar, drinking such excessive amounts in a few gulps seemed so effortless. One man said the visual of the full bags of sugar gave a "concrete reality" of how much sugar he was unknowingly consuming each day.

While many families may try to provide healthy food during mealtime, kids have the most influence over snack time choices, which can be put them at risk for sugar and chemical overload. Snack and drink products marketed as healthy to our kids, can often be the worst nutritional offender. Just because a company tells you their product is "all-natural" or healthy does not mean they have your nutrition at heart. 

As parents, we need to teach our children how to eat well and most importantly to be aware of what we put into our bodies. To most of the children I talked to at Kidsfest, the nutrition facts label was like another language. If America wants to curb obesity rates we need to educate kids on the importance of eating healthy and how to make healthy choices.

The take away message from Sunday's event is that we cannot trust manufacturers with the health of our families. Even if a product is marketed as healthy we must read the nutrition labels on the back to see what the product actually contains.

What do you think? Do you have any tips to promote health?


  1. What a great way to drive home the message. I imagine that people respond to visuals like this in a much more meaningful way than say, reading a chart.

  2. Great point. Even fruit is very high in sugar. Mostly fructose which is usually stored as fat after one fruit serving.


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  4. Thanks for this great info . The amount of sugar in drink is astounding.