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America’s Sugar Fix Makes Every Day Halloween

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Imagine if every day of the year were Halloween.  You'd get to dress up in cool costumes, tell ghost stories and watch little kids having a great time.

Well, nutritionally at least, every day IS Halloween.  Because while we may think of that one or two pieces of candy as a once-a-year sugar high, the fact is, we’re already overindulging in sugar on a daily basis.

The American Heart Association wants us to have no more than 25 grams, or about six sugar packets worth, of sugar a day for women, and no more than 38 grams, or nine packets worth, for men.  That ought to be easy, right?

Well, it's a lot harder than you think.  For example, let’s say your kids want something simple for lunch today, and you’re watching their sugar intake.  You take two slices of Sara Lee Hearty & Delicious 100% Whole Wheat Bread, spread on a serving of JIF Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread, and then add some Smucker’s Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves. What you have now is a 100% Whole Wheat Reduced Fat Low Sugar PB&J with 19 grams of sugar, or nearly 80 percent of what a woman should eat in a day.  (The surprising culprits: The bread has 10 grams per serving, and the peanut butter spread has 4.)

The reason is that sugar is everywhere -- including places it doesn’t belong, like our bread, peanut butter, ketchup and salad dressing.

Here’s how modern food marketers are making every day Halloween:

Let’s say you start your day off with a Starbucks Grande 2% Latte (17 grams sugar) and a Pumpkin Scone (43 grams sugar).  That’s 60 grams of sugar, or the sugar equivalent of 18 Tootsie Rolls.

Then for lunch you have the Black Forest Ham and Cheddar sandwich (24 grams sugar) and a medium sweet iced tea (64 grams sugar) at Au Bon Pain.  That’s 88 grams of sugar or 13 snack size Mounds bars.

Then for dinner you go to Chili’s and have the Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip appetizer (7 grams sugar), the Caribbean Salad w/ Grilled Chicken (67 grams sugar), and a lemonade (52 grams of sugar).  That’s 126 grams of sugar or 25 Mini Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Your total intake of sugar for the day: 274 grams or 46 snack sized Twizzlers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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