Beware of Added Sugar

What Are Added Sugars?

Tiffany Batsakis, MS, RD, LD

Registered Dietitian

Meals on Wheels of San Antonio

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines were recently released and a key recommendation is to “consume less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars.” In this blog post today, you will learn the difference between naturally occurring sugar and added sugars, how to look for sugars on a nutrition label, and how to make delicious cookies with no added sugar.

The common misconception with added sugars is they are the same as naturally occurring sugars. This is not true! Added sugars are sugars (or syrups) added to the food (or beverage) when they are being prepared. Foods and drinks that contain added sugars include: cakes, cookies, donuts, sodas, some sports drinks, and other sugar sweetened beverages like your Starbucks Frappuccino. Naturally occurring sugars are those that occur by nature in food and beverages, examples of these are: fruit, plain yogurt, and milk.

When grocery shopping, make sure to look at the nutrition facts label and find the line that is labeled sugars to determine the amount in that product. The grams of sugar in the product signify both natural and added sugar. A new nutrition facts label will be coming out to break down natural and added sugar for you. As of right now, you need to be a detective and read the ingredients list to look for added sugars! It can hide in many different names such as those ending in ose; examples include maltose and sucrose, as well as cane sugar, raw sugar, or high fructose corn syrup.

Now that you know how to look for added sugars, it’s important to emphasize limiting them in the diet. The average American woman should stay under 6 teaspoons of sugar and men, under 9 teaspoons per day. One sugar packet or cube equals about one teaspoon of sugar.


(Pictured: Hannah Stockman, Baptist Health System Dietetic Internship)

Now for that cookie recipe, it comes from

These would be a great option in the morning for a

quick breakfast paired with some Greek yogurt or low-fat milk for some protein.

Thumbprint Breakfast Cookies

Yields: 8 cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes


  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (2 large)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons GROUND flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 8 teaspoons no-sugar added jam
  • Peanut butter for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, add the oats and pulse until a coarse meal forms.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the banana. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, except the jam and nut butter. The mixture will be very wet and dense.
  4. With a retractable ice cream scoop or a spoon, scoop the dough into 8 mounds. The cookies do not need to be spaced far apart on the baking sheet, as they don’t spread out. Press your thumb (or small spoon) into the center of each cookie to create a well. Fill each well with 1 heaping teaspoon of jam.
  5. Bake cookies at 350F for 11-13 minutes, until the cookies are slightly firm, but soft and doughy in the middle. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack for 10 minutes or so.
  6. If desired, serve cookies with your favorite nut or seed butter. They also taste great with a pat of coconut oil or vegan butter!

Eye-Opening facts on Food Waste

Let’s Minimize Food Waste!

Tiffany Batsakis, MS, RD, LD

Registered Dietitian

Meals on Wheels of San Antonio


I’m a planner by nature- I plan all kinds of things and make lists to keep myself organized and to ensure I don’t forget all I have going on.  I regularly make a grocery list and take a mental note of what food I have, both at home and at work.  Food waste is a pet peeve of mine because it is so unnecessary.  I plan all of my meals to avoid food waste and whatever I may have left at the end of the week goes in the freezer.

According to the World Food Programme, there are nearly 800 million people in the world that do not have enough food to live a healthy and active life.

While a majority of the world’s hungry people live in developing nations, there are many hungry people in our own communities across the United States.

Here are some eye-opening statistics about hunger here in Texas.

  • An estimated 49 million Americans are food insecure. Of those 49 million, almost 17 million are children and 5 million are seniors
  • 7% of Texas’ population experience hunger on a regular basis – more than one million people.
  • In Southwest Texas, 14% of client households receiving emergency food assistance are seniors, higher than the state average of 9%.

Meals on Wheels delivers meals to over 3,600 seniors every day, helping homebound seniors in Bexar County receive a nutritionally balanced mid-day meal, while allowing them to maintain their dignity and independence.

I recently read an article in my Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with some food waste statistics that I want to share.   My hope is that you too, will begin finding ways to reduce food waste, if you don’t already.  Additionally, menu planning for the week can have positive health benefits AND save you money, so it is a good practice for the New Year and a win/win activity!

There are currently over 7 billion people in the world today.  Of those, over 1 billion live on less than $1.25/day.  An eighth of the population cannot afford enough food to provide 1,800 calories a day, an amount not even enough to support adequate physical activity.  A lack of calories can lead to malnutrition and a lack of appropriate foods can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  Here’s the kicker- we produce a lot of food in this world, however, loss occurs throughout the food production cycle.  It begins in the fields, at harvest, and some spoils during shipment and storage.  It has been estimated that 1.3 billion tons of food each year ends up in landfills. In the United States, fruits and vegetables are the most wasted items and nearly half of all that is produced does NOT get eaten.  28% of this loss is AFTER the produce is purchased by the consumer (20% occurs on the farm, and 16% is lost between the farm and buyer).

Think about these numbers.  Think about the cost of food.  Do you waste food?  Could you plan better to waste less?  Would planning help you save money?  Take a look at the food you have at home before you go grocery shopping.  Pick recipes you would like to make.  Create your grocery list before you go to the store.  We live in a land of plenty, but we can all take small steps to help combat this global issue.  What steps can you take to minimize food waste in your own household?