The World Health Organization recently recommended that adults and children reduce their sugar intake to less than 10 percent of total calorie consumption. “Cut back on sugar” seems to be the diet advice du jour, but says there’s more to it than just banning candy, soda, and cake from your diet and skipping sweetener in your coffee.


“The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sweetener per day and men no more than 9 teaspoons,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, and author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. “If you don’t add sugar to food, you may think you’re in the clear, but on average, most of us consume as much as 20 teaspoons of sweetener per day,” a huge amount of empty calories that can lead to weight gain and increase your risk for disease. How can you make sure you’re not packing in any hidden sugar? “Be a label detective,” advises Palinski-Wade. “Read the ingredients. If sugar is in the top 3 ingredients, leave the item on the self.”


Find out what else to watch out for in these common sugar bombs:




Sugar can sneak up on you in bread, with some varieties containing up to 2 grams of sugar per slice (and that includes some brands of whole wheat bread). But you don’t have to give up having sandwiches; just look for breads with little or no added sugar, and whole wheat flour listed in the ingredients.