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So many of us indulged on Valentine’s Day in some sugary treats,especially chocolate. While it is ok to enjoy some sweets on occasion, we all know it is best to limit sugar in our diet. We don't have to cut it out altogether, but most of us eat way too much sugar. And one of the problems is hidden sugar.  

Sure it is easy to know that sugar is candy or piece of cake, but did you know that sugar is hiding in 74% of all packaged foods? Because sugar hides in plain sight, it can be easy to sometimes overlook it when checking the food labels. Even healthy foods can be high on sugar!

There are at least 61 different names for sugar, which is why it is so easy to sometimes overlook it when checking the food labels. Dextrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose, and cane crystals are just a few examples of the ways sugar can be hidden when reading food labels. Being aware of these different names is one way in which we can cut back on sugar in our diets.

This then poses the question, how much sugar is too much sugar? The answer varies from person to person, but according to the American Heart Association (AHA) men should intake a maximum of 150 calories of sugar per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons), and women should get a maximum of 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).

For context, a 12oz. can of coke contains 140 calories from sugar - a full day's worth of sugar! The best advice is to avoid added sugars as much as possible. One easy way to accomplish this is to select water as a beverage option over a soft drink.

Identifying the hidden words for sugar on food labels, knowing the proper sugar intake, and avoiding added sugars as much as possible are all ways to enhance your healthy lifestyle.