At a birthday party, you see your child eyeing a big piece of cake. You know sugar’s not good, but you give in, rationalizing that you generally feed him low-sugar foods and snacks. Or do you? The truth is, even some “healthy” foods harbor a lot of sugar, which increases kids’ risk for heart disease and cholesterol problems down the road, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Refined sugar also depresses immunity, causes blood-sugar fluctuations, affects focus and attention, and robs the body of important minerals, like calcium and magnesium,” says Andrea Nakayama, a functional nutritionist in Portland, Oregon.
Avoiding soda and other sweetened drinks is an obvious win, but CDC researchers actually found that solid foods contribute more added sugar calories to kids’ diets than liquids. What’s worse, two-thirds of that sugar is eaten at home. Where’s all that sugar hiding? Here are some prime offenders, plus better alternatives.