Remember all the hype about sugar being toxic?
Well, if that left you in fervor of what to do about your diet, you are not alone. Below are 10 foods to watch out for – they have hidden sources of sugar. You may be surprised by what you find on the list, most are commonly recommended “diet” foods.
- Yogurt. Yogurt, in most cases, naturally contains about 12 grams of sugar per six-ounce serving, but many brands serve up 8 ounces at a time and can have as much as 31 grams of sugar per serving. Choose Greek yogurt, which naturally contain less sugar, and monitor food labels carefully – note servings sizes along with calories, fat and sugar – one container may be 2 servings.
- Prepackaged applesauce. If you are going to sacrifice sugar, this is not the way to go. At 25 grams of sugar, this so-called healthy snack is equal to 1 cup of all natural vanilla ice cream.
- Tomato Sauce. It may be better choice for your heart than the three-cheese, rich and creamy sauce, but drizzle one-cup of red tomato sauce over noodles and you will add about 24 grams of sugar straight from the jar or can. Cut your portion size down to reduce your sugar intake – companies have not caught up to this trend yet, so finding a jar that’s “no sugar added” isn’t likely.
- Granola bars. Seems like the perfect made-from-nature snack, but granola bars are sugary sweet, especially since most are held together with honey. Most brands offer as much as 22 grams per serving. Choose plain oatmeal, made from whole oats, instead as your go-to source of fiber.
- Fat-free condiments. Hold the sauce – just because it says fat-free, doesn’t mean sugar-free. In fact, many fat-free foods pack in additional sugar to make up for the flavor lost from fat removal. Fat-free salad dressings, for example, have as much as 43 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons.
- Bran pastries. It looks innocent enough, but breakfast parties are not healthy – it’s like having dessert for breakfast. Most packaged bran muffins are super-sized, made with artificial fruit and packed with additional sugars. If you aren’t making them from scratch at home, you may be consuming as much as 42 grams of sugar per muffin.
- Canned fruit. This is one undeniable source of sugar, experts have advised for years against canned fruits and vegetables because of increased sodium and sugar content. Canned fruits are packed in gooey, thick syrup loaded with sugar. Get your fruit fresh and choose berries over bananas, pineapple and watermelon to avoid excessive sugar intake.
- Fruit smoothies. Jamba Juice and Smoothie King may make you feel like you’re eating a healthy breakfast, but most of the key ingredients are sugar, sugar and more sugar. Fruit, yogurt and low-fat dairy make up the ingredient list, not to mention that “energy” pack you add. These shakes can rack up more than 70 grams of sugar in one “healthy” shake.
- Cereal. Love Fruit Loops in the morning? Check the label. A 2011 study by the EWG found that most cereals contain more than 20 grams of sugar per serving. Most people pour two servings into their bowl and add milk – adding up to a whole lot of sugar. That’s no way to start the day.
- Instant Oatmeal. You might as well eat a Pop-Tart. One bowl of Instant Quaker Oatmeal with Berries will rack up 12 grams of sugar – half the day’s allotment in one serving (and that’s only inf you make it with water, not milk.)
Remember, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories of sugar per day for women (25 grams) and 150 calories (36 grams) for men. This includes calories/grams from fruits – even whole, fresh fruits have natural sugars. It is difficult to eliminate sugar entirely, but monitoring it carefully is a major win for your health.