Eating too much sugar has been linked to an increased risk of many diseases, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Many people are now trying to minimize their sugar intake. One of the reasons is that many foods contain hidden sugars, including some foods that you wouldn't even consider to be sweet! In fact, even products marketed as "light" or "low-fat" often contain more sugar than the regular versions.
Here is a list of 18 foods and drinks that contain way more sugar than you would think!
1. Low-Fat Yogurt
Yogurt can be a highly nutritious food. However, not all yogurt is created equal. Like many other low-fat products, low-fat yogurts have sugar added to them to enhance flavor. Furthermore, low-fat yogurt doesn't seem to have the same health benefits as full-fat yogurt. It's best to choose full-fat, natural or Greek yogurt. Avoid yogurt that has been sweetened with sugar.
2. BBQ Sauce
BBQ sauce can make a tasty marinade or dip. However, 2 tablespoons of it can contain around 14 grams of sugar, or over 3 teaspoons. If you are liberal with your servings, this makes it easy to consume a lot of sugar without meaning to. To make sure you aren't getting too much, check the labels and choose the sauce with the least amount of added sugar. And remember to watch your portions!
Ketchup is one of the most popular condiments worldwide, but like BBQ sauce, it is often loaded with sugar.
Try to be mindful of your portion size when using ketchup and remember that a single tablespoon of ketchup contains 1 teaspoon of sugar.
4. Fruit Juice
Like whole fruit, fruit juice contains some vitamins and minerals. However, despite seeming like a healthy choice, these vitamins and minerals come with a large dose of sugar and very little fiber.It usually takes a lot of fruit to produce a single glass of fruit juice, so you get much more sugar in a glass of juice than you would get by eating whole fruit.
In fact, there can be just as much sugar in fruit juice as there is in a sugary drink like Coke. It's best to choose whole fruit and minimize your intake of fruit juices.
5. Spaghetti Sauce
Added sugars are often hidden in foods that we don't even consider to be sweet, such as spaghetti sauce. All spaghetti sauces will contain some natural sugar given that they're made with tomatoes. However, many spaghetti sauces have extra sugar added to them as well. The best way to ensure you aren't getting any unwanted sugar in your pasta sauce is to make your own!
6. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks can often be mistaken as a healthy choice for those who exercise. However, sports drinks are designed to hydrate and fuel trained athletes during prolonged, intense periods of exercise. For this reason, they contain high amounts of added sugars that can be quickly absorbed and used for energy.
Sports drinks are therefore categorized as "sugary drinks." Like soda and fruit juice, they have also been linked with obesity and metabolic disease. Unless you're a marathon runner or an elite athlete, then you should probably just stick to water while exercising. This is by far the best choice for most of us.
7. Chocolate Milk
Chocolate milk is milk that has been flavored with cocoa and sweetened with sugar.
Milk itself is a very nutritious drink. It is a rich source of nutrients that are great for bone health, including calcium and protein.
However, despite having all the nutritious qualities of milk, a 230 ml glass of chocolate milk comes with an extra 2 teaspoons of added sugar!
Granola is often marketed as a low-fat health food, despite being high in both calories and sugar. The main ingredient in granola is oats. Plain rolled oats are a well-balanced cereal containing carbs, protein, fat and fiber.However, the oats in granola have been combined with nuts and honey or other added sweeteners, which increases the amount of sugar and calories. In fact, 100 grams of granola contains nearly 400 calories and over 6 teaspoons of sugar.
9. Flavored Coffees
Flavored coffee is a popular trend, but the amount of hidden sugars in these drinks can be staggering. A large flavored coffee in some coffeehouse chains can contain up to 25 teaspoons of sugar!
That's equivalent to 100 grams of added sugar per serving, or nearly 3 times the amount you would get from a 340 ml can of Coke. Considering the strong link between sugary drinks and poor health, it's probably best to stick to coffee without any flavored syrups or added sugar.
10. Iced Tea
Iced tea is a chilled tea, usually sweetened with sugar or flavored with syrup. Most commercially prepared iced teas will contain around 33 grams of sugar per 340 ml serving, which is about the same as a can of Coke. If you like tea, pick regular tea or choose iced tea that doesn't have any sugars added.
11. Protein Bars
Protein bars are a popular snack.
Foods that contain protein have been linked with increased feelings of fullness, which can help with weight loss. This has led people to believe that protein bars are a healthy snack!
When choosing a protein bar, read the label and avoid those that are high in sugar. You can also eat a high-protein food like yogurt instead.
12. Vitamin water
Vitamin water is marketed as a healthy drink containing added vitamins and minerals. However, like many other so-called "health drinks," Vitamin water comes with a large amount of added sugar. In fact, a bottle of regular Vitamin water contains 120 calories and 32 grams of sugar. Despite all the health claims, it's wise to avoid Vitamin water as much as possible.You could opt for the sugar-free version, which is sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead.That being said, plain water or sparkling water are much healthier choices if you're thirsty.
13. Pre-Made Soup
Soup isn't a food that you generally associate with sugar. When it's made with fresh whole ingredients, it's a healthy choice and can be a great way to increase your vegetable consumption without much effort. The vegetables in soups have naturally occurring sugars, which are fine to eat given that they usually come in small amounts and with lots of other beneficial nutrients. However, many commercially prepared soups have a lot of added sugar. To check for added sugars in your soup, look at the ingredients list for things like sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, barley malt, dextrose, maltose and other syrups.
14. Cereal Bars
For on-the-go breakfasts, cereal bars can seem like a healthy and convenient choice. However, like other "health bars," cereal bars are often just candy bars in disguise. Many contain very little fiber or protein and are loaded with added sugar.
To conclude, added sugars aren't a necessary nutrient in your diet. Small amounts are fine, they can cause serious harm if eaten in large amounts on a regular basis.The best way to avoid hidden sugars in your meals is to make them at home so you know exactly what's in them. However, if you need to buy prepackaged food, make sure you check the label to identify any hidden added sugars, especially when buying foods from this list. And don't forget to use the spike app for insulin reminders!