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Learning About Sneaky Sugars

  |   45th Street, Middle School, Special Programs

Madison Lundgren, M202 Assistant Teacher at 45th Street


The seventh graders in M202 recently completed a nutrition unit in Health and Human Development (HHD). We started by locating the nutrition labels on the packaging of foods that we eat everyday, then breaking down the different parts of a food label and finding out what they mean. Once we knew what to look for, we were able to compare the nutritional content of different products. We discussed the difference between natural and added sugars, and how natural sugar in our diets provides health benefits such as maintaining energy, boosting immune support and stabilizing metabolism. Some of the students’ favorite fruits containing natural sugars were apples, strawberries and bananas. On the other hand, some favorite foods with added sugars included Oreos, chocolate milk, and Honey Nut Cheerios.


Determining the sugar amount in each food can sometimes be tricky, and you have to know exactly where to look to figure out which foods contain sneaky sugars. We conducted a visual experiment comparing the sugar content of different food products. We used measuring spoons to scoop sugar into Ziploc bags to better illustrate how much sugar is contained in a variety of foods including Pop Tarts, apple sauce, peanut butter, energy drinks, bottled smoothies and more. Some of the results were shocking, especially when presented in this visual way! Conducting this experiment and learning about sugar content in food has allowed us to make healthier choices, such as eating our favorite sugary snacks in moderation. Students are now able to make more informed choices about what to purchase including during our weekly visits to the farmers market.