What’s the total amount of added sugars you eat in a day? It might surprise you that for the average American, the answer is about 300 calories worth, according to a report from researchers at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. That’s 75 grams, or about 19 teaspoons.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration has taken two important steps to help you spot and keep track of the added sugars in your diet. First, as part of the slew of changes the agency announced to the Nutrition Facts label, starting in 2018 food labels will contain a line for the amount of added sugars per serving in a product. And to clear up some of the confusion about what counts as an added sugar, the FDA is asking food manufacturers to be straight with consumers about sugar content. Or in this case, call “evaporated cane juice” (see the label above) what it is: sugar. 

Defining Added Sugars

Added sugars are sugars that an individual or food manufacturer has included in a food or recipe. These are different from the sugars that are intrinsically present in dairy, fruit, and some other foods. “But most of the added sugars in our diet don’t come from stirring sugar into coffee or sprinkling it on berries,” says Maxine Siegel, R.D., head of the food-testing department at Consumer Reports. “We’re getting it from packaged foods—even some you wouldn’t think of as sweet.”

The trouble with added sugars: If you eat too much, it can be tough to get all the nutrients you need in a day and still stay within your calorie limits—key to avoiding weight gain. In addition, a diet packed with added sugars has also been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Added sugars can take many forms; evaporated cane juice—used in countless products, including baked goods, drinks, and yogurt—is one of them. This sweetener is derived from crushing sugar cane, extracting the liquid, and letting the liquid evaporate, leaving behind sugar crystals. According to the FDA, some people say that because evaporated cane juice contains molasses, it’s not the same as white sugar. And chances are many consumers think it sounds healthier or more natural than regular sugar. But evaporated cane juice’s composition is 99 percent identical to table sugar—remove the small amount of molasses, and you have the white stuff.

In its announcement, which is officially called a Guidance for Industry, the FDA says that evaporated cane juice is just sugar. It isn’t law, but the FDA strongly recommends that food companies stop using the term “evaporated cane juice” and instead say cane sugar, organic cane sugar, or some other truthful term, as long as the word sugar is included.

“This new wording change is a good thing,” Siegel says. “Evaporated cane juice is a misleading term, so the FDA’s move is helpful to consumers. But she notes that many other sweet ingredients added to food are also just sugar, even if they sound healthier. These include agave, fruit juice concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, and molasses.

What’s the Healthy Limit for Added Sugars?

The FDA recommends that no more than 10 percent of your daily calories come from added sugars. That’s 50 grams, or about 12.5 teaspoons, if you’re on a 2,000-calorie diet. Other organizations suggest an even lower limit. For example, the American Heart Association sets the limit at 24 grams for women and 36 grams for men. The World Health Organization recommends keeping added sugars to less than 10 percent of daily calories, but reducing intake to less than 5 percent could provide additional health benefits.

Sugar is added to a surprising number of foods, sometimes in large amounts. For example, just one serving of Strawberry La Yogurt has 26 grams of sugar. Some of that is natural sugar from the strawberries and the milk used to make the yogurt. But it still has a fair amount of added sugars. Other products that could contain added sugars are not so obvious, Siegel says, including pasta sauces and breads. Ragú Old World Style Marinara Sauce and Oroweat Soft Family 100% Whole Wheat bread both have “sugar” in the ingredient list. The new label will help you see how much is added and how much comes naturally from other ingredients.

You’ll begin to see the new Nutrition Facts label with the added sugars line by the summer of 2018. To stay on top of your added-sugars intake until then, check ingredients lists for the different types of sugars, and check the total sugars line on Nutrition Facts labels. If a product doesn’t contain fruit, milk, sweet veggies, or yogurt, and also contains 3 grams or more of sugars, it probably contains added sugars, and you should limit your daily intake.