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Sugar & Salt: Hidden in Food
What about sugars?
Choosing a diet low in sugars is important for people who have low calorie needs. Sugar come in many sources including white sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar, maple syrup, honey, and molasses; these supply calories and little else nutritionally.

To avoid getting too many calories from sugars, try to limit your added sugars to 6 teaspoons a day if you eat about 1,600 calories, 12 teaspoons at 2,200 caloires, or 18 teaspoons at 2,800 calories. These amounts are intended to be averages over time. The patterns are illustrations of healthy proportions in the diet, not rigid prescriptions.

Sugars are also hidden in foods like candy and soft drinks, as well as sweetened desserts, in addition to the sugars you add at the table. The chart below shows the approximate amount of sugars in some popular foods. Take note of how easy it is to have too much sugar in your diet.

Food Groups Sugar (# teaspoons)
Grain Group
Bread, 1 slice   0
Muffin, 1 medium x 1
Danish pasty, 1 medium x 1
Doughnut, 1 medium xx 2
Ready-to-eat cereal, sweetened, 1 oz. x *
Pound cake, 1 slice xxxx 4
Cake, frosted, 1/16 average xxxxxx 6
Fruit Pie, 1/16 of 8" xxxxxx 6
Fruit, canned in juice, 1/2 cup   0
Fruit, canned in light syrup, 1/2 cup xx 2
Fruit, canned in heavy syrup, 1/2 cup xxxx 4
Milk Group
Milk, plain, 1 cup   0
Chocolate milk, 1 cup xxx 3
Ice milk or frozen yoghurt, 1/2 cup xxx 3
Lowfat yogurt, plain, 6 oz.   0
Lowfat yogurt, fruit, 6 oz. xxxxxxx 7
Chocolate shake, 10 fl. oz. xxxxxxxxx 9
Sugar, jam, or jelly, 1 tsp. x 1
Syrup or honey, 1 tbsp. xxx 3
Chocolate bar, 1 oz. xxx 3
Gelatin dessert, 1/2 cup xxxx 4
Cola, 12 fl. oz. xxxxxxxx 9
Fruit drink, -ades, 12 fl. oz. xxxxxxxxxxxx 12
*Check product label; x = 1 teaspoon sugar (4 grams or 16 calories)
Do I have to give up salt?
No. But most people eat more than they need. The Ministry of Health recommends that sodium intake should not be more than 2,000 mg per day. Much of the sodium in people's diets comes from salt they add while cooking and at the table. (One teaspoon of salt provides about 2,000 mg of sodium).

Go easy on salt and foods that are high in sodium, including cured meats, canned meats like luncheon meats, pickled vegetables, canned soups, and seasoning like stock cube, soy sauce, and seasoning salt. Use less or look for lower salt versions of these products eg. low-sodium soy sauce at your supermarket.

The table below will give you an idea of the amount of sodium in different types of foods. Information on food labels can also help you make food choices to keep sodium moderate.
Food Groups Sodium, mg
Grain Group
Bread, 1 slice 110-175
Potato chips, 1 oz. 180-220
French fries, 1 small serving 200-250
Pretzels, salted, 1 oz 130-880
Vegetables, fresh or frozen, cooked, no salt, 1/2 cup Less than 70
Vegetables, canned, 1/2 cup 140-460
Tomato juice, canned, 3/4 cup 660
Vegetable soup, canned, 1 cup 820
Fruit, fresh, frozen, canned, 1/2 cup Trace
Milk Group
Milk, 1 cup 120
Yoghurt, 1 cup 160
Natural cheese, 1-1/2 oz. 110-450
Process cheese slice, 2 oz. 800
Meat Group
Fresh meat, poultry, fish, 3 oz. Less than 90
Tuna, canned, water pack, 3 oz. 300
Bologna, 2 oz 580
Ham, roasted, 3 oz 1020
Peanuts, roasted, salted, 1/2 cup 380
Ketchup, 1 tbsp. 130-230
Soy sauce, 1 tsp. 370
Stock cube, 1 each 900
Dill pickle, 1 medium 930
Salt, 1 tsp. 2325

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