We still consume way too much added sugar in our food, especially at home, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report by Bethene Ervin and Cynthia Ogden showed. One culprit is sugary sodas. Although other research has shown that soda consumption has been declining, if you look at individual foods and beverages, these drinks still lead the pack. Many people don’t know how much total sugar they’re consuming because the sweeteners are often hidden in prepared foods, like ketchup or bread. “Cereal, for example, has a tremendous amount of added sugar. And not everyone understands that breakfast foods like muffins and pastry, things that people don’t consider to be a desert or an indulgence, pack a lot of sugar”, Sara Belch from Johns Hopkins said. The tricky labeling found on food packages complicates the situation since most consumers don’t realize that it takes 4 to 5 servings to fill a normal sized bowl.

If you’re wondering why all there’s all this fuss about sugar, Dr. David Heber is happy to explain. Too much added sugar, especially fructose, can lead to a multitude of chronic illnesses, said Heber, a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Fructose can convert to fat, which can not only make us heavier, but can also lead to a fatty liver – which is one of the leading causes of liver transplants, Heber said. Too much sugar can also lead to inflammation, which can raise the risk of heart disease. Heber suggests steering clear of processed foods. “You want a diet that his high in protein and low in fat with two thirds of your plate taken up by fruits and vegetables,” he said.