Beware the Trojan horse of summer fare 

Snacks and more sneak in crazy amounts of sugar

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There's a crazy little snack beyond the tracks, and everybody calls it the sugar snack... With apologies to Jimmy Gilmore and the Fireballs who made the original Sugar Shack song a huge hit, summer gets me thinking about the crazy amounts of sugar we consume, especially this time of year.

Some of it is obvious sugar, like the cups of "white death" dumped into homemade lemonade or iced tea. But a bigger culprit is the hidden sugar that sneaks into our diet like a Trojan horse. And when you add it all up, I bet you five to one most of us have no idea how much sugar we're ingesting.

Here's a perfect example from a friend's barbecue this weekend. After a great round of burgers and a crunchy green coleslaw I made from fresh spring cabbage, we ended up serving ourselves frozen yogurt for dessert.

This stuff — a pecan caramel concoction from Superstore's President's Choice line — was good enough to keep us all scooping and scooping since the scoop was pretty small.

Yummy, yes. But suddenly it struck me we were a little deluded both by the size of the "little" scoop we were using and the yogurt factor. So I read the ingredient list on the label, the whole darned container having by then found its way into the middle of the table so we didn't have to keep running back to the freezer in the kitchen for seconds, or thirds.

Here's the scoop. President's Choice Caramel Pecan Crunch Frozen Yogurt delivers 15 grams of sugar for every half cup serving, and we all had had more than half a cup by that point.

Granted a fair chunk of that sugar would have come from the lactose in the "modified milk ingredients" that are the first ingredient on the list. Many veggies and virtually all fruits and dairy products contain varying amounts of naturally occurring sugars.

For instance, lactose makes up two to eight per cent of milk by weight, so even in a product like Natrel, where the lactose is filtered out for lactose intolerant people like me, you get eight grams of sugar in each cup. Still, I was a bit shocked I'd just eaten close to 20 grams of sugar in frozen yogurt — me, the queen of Olympic's delicious no-gelatin-added, organic, plain yogurt.

Our host laughed when I broadcast the 15 grams of sugar fact, which would be like eating between four and 7.5 of those little packets of sugar you get in restaurants and coffee joints. (No, they aren't manufactured equally — each contains between two and four grams of sugar, depending on the size.)

Look at what you're drinking! he said, referring to the bottle of another President's Choice product my husband and I had brought along, a lightly carbonated orange frizzante, made with mineral water and orange juice, something we've considered to be a relatively healthy drink for years. Twenty-nine grams of sugar in a one-cup serving — the equivalent of 7.25 to 14.5 of those little sugar packets!


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