Pour Some Sugar on It: How Much Sugar is in My Child's Food?

by DrRobyn on March 13, 2008

child burger Pour Some Sugar on It: How Much Sugar is in My Child's Food?
How much sugar is your child consuming each day?

Pour Some Sugar On It: How much sugar is in my child’s food?

You’ve continued to ask more information about sugar content in your children’s food and drinks after reading my articles “Hey Sugar, Sugar” “Sugar Wars” and Is Cola Really Bad for Your Health” It’s gotten people talking and blogging! Here’s the answers to some of your most pressing questions such as “How do I determine amount of sugar in grams” “How much sugar should we be eating?” “How many calories should children consume per day?” “Is there such thing as good sugar?” “Why is sugar bad for us?” “And how much sugar is in common children’s foods?”

How do I determine amount of sugar in grams?

# of grams

In teaspoons of sugar

1 gram

¼ teaspoon

4 grams

1 teaspoon, 1 sugar cube, 1 sugar packet

8 grams

2 teaspoons

16 grams

4 teaspoons

32 grams

8 teaspoons

52 grams

13 teaspoons

88 grams

22 teaspoons

120 grams

30 teaspoons

200 grams

50 teaspoons of sugar (1 cup granulated)

220 grams

54 teaspoons of sugar (1 cup packed brown)

How much sugar should we be eating?

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for American recommend no more than 8 teaspoons per day (32 grams) based on a 2000 calorie per day diet. So if you drink one can of Coca Cola Classic (40.5 grams per 12 ounces), one Dr. Pepper (41 grams per 12 ounces), 1 Lipton Ice Tea (53 grams) or one 7-up (37 grams per 12 ounces) you’re already over. Check out other drinks.

How many calories should children eat per day?

Since children come in all shapes and sizes and nobody burns calories in quite the same way, there is no magic number of calories that children should eat. The Food Guide Pyramid site recommends about 1600- 2500 per day depending on size, development and physical activity. Children will have to beef up their calories during puberty.

Is there such a thing as good sugar?

Since we want children to eat healthy fruits and veggies, counting the sugar in these items is typically unnecessary. Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants and nutrients that are crucial for growing children. There is also natural sugar in low fat milk—but it provides children with important vitamins that help with growth and development.

Why is sugar bad for us?

White, granulated sugar is addictive and is consumed in large amounts by Americans. The average American consumes about 115 pounds of sugar per year. Sugar raises insulin levels, promotes the storage of fat, depresses the immune system, promotes tooth decay and gum disease, and has no nutrients or vitamins. Here are some other health issues that have been connected with too much sugar consumption.

Amount of sugar in these common children’s foods


Sugar Content

Honey Smacks

15 grams (almost 4 teaspoons) per ¾ cup serving

Frosted Flakes

11 grams (almost 3 teaspoons) per ¾ cup serving

Eggo Orig. Syrup

40 grams (10 teaspoons) per ¼ cup serving

Chocolate-Strawberry Poptarts

17 grams (4+ teaspoons) per pastry


19 grams per 4 piece serving


4 grams (1 teaspoon) per teaspoon of ketchup

McDonald’s Chocolate Triple Thick Shake

111 grams (28 teaspoons) per 21 ounce shake 168 grams (42 teaspoons) per 32 ounce shake

McFlurry with M & Ms candy

85 grams (21 teaspoons) per 12 ounce cup

Chocolate Milk

24 grams (6 teaspoons) per serving

We not only need to read food labels, but also, we need to be savvy consumers as advertisers do not always tell the whole truth when it comes to what’s in foods and drinks.

For additional information on sugar in foods and drinks, check out “Hey Sugar, Sugar” “Sugar Wars” and Is Cola Really Bad for Your Health

Here’s to a Powerful Day!


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