When we think about lowering our sugar intake, we probably picture throwing out all of the extra snacks, sweets and cookies lying around the house. Typically, sugar is seen as synonymous with dessert. Unfortunately, though, decreasing the sugar in our diets often requires a little more thought than that. There are a ton of foods out there that we consider breakfast, lunch and dinner that are also jam packed full of sugar we don’t need.
The truth is, too many foods have been processed to contain way more sugar than it naturally would if we were to make it from scratch the right way. But it can be difficult to know what foods have this problem without doing the research. We’ve helped you along the way by picking out ten of the top foods that contain more sugar than you could ever imagine.
The best rule of thumb when it comes to avoiding too much sugar in your diet is try to go as natural as possible.
While fruit contains sugar, it contains the kind of sugars that are healthy and good for the body. And anything processed often has plenty of added sugar.
Foods with Hidden Sugar
#1 Salad Dressing
Yes, we all know that salad is an excellent choice for a healthy lunch, but be careful of what you put on top of it. There are many salad dressings which are absolutely full of unnecessary sugar that can take health points off your meal. Watch out for Sweet French, Vinaigrette and some oil based dressings. Ingredients to avoid include dextrose, honey, glucose and maltose. You may want to consider making your own dressing.
#2 Pasta Sauce
Many, many pasta sauces have huge amounts of sugar per serving – as much as a slice of cake! Look out for sugar ingredients and marinara and consider making your own low sugar pasta sauces.
You can certainly put together a very healthy breakfast smoothie in your own blender, but if you go out for a smoothie, watch out. If they’re using a juice base, you’re likely to get an unwelcome dose of sugar. Try making your own, and include all the pulp, to make the healthiest smoothies.
Yoghurt is a breakfast favourite, and it can be very good for you, but if you don’t go for the right kind, you’ll probably get a lot of sugar. Most fruity, flavoured, light, low fat or diet yoghurts contain large amounts of sugars and artificial sweeteners. If you go for plain yoghurt, you should only get natural sugar. Try sweetening plain yogurt with some healthy, raw honey.
Often, a slice of white or wholemeal bread will contain quite a bit of sugar – around a half a teaspoon to be exact. That doesn’t sound like much, but you are only recommended six teaspoons maximum.
If you’re one who likes to have a drink with dinner, you may want to rethink what you choose. Many alcoholic beverages are full of sugar, and it can be so easily overlooked. Most fruity ciders, mixers, cocktails, even beer contain a lot of sugar. A few fruity drinks on a Friday night can leave you going far, far past your recommended intake of sugar in a day.
#7 Ready Soups
Many soups you purchase in a can be filled to the brim with sugar to sweeten the base. Vegetable soups are especially bad for this. Always check the label!
#8 Breakfast Bars
Breakfast bars are always a tempting choice for a busy morning and the packaging can often fool you into thinking it’s a nutritious option as well. Experts warn that many of these so called “whole grain” breakfast bars contain as much sugar as a chocolate bar.
It’s not only the sugary brands like “Fruit Loops” that contain an abundance of sugar; many cereal and granola options are packed full of sugar too. For example, a bowl of Quaker Oat Granola actually contains about 23 grams of sugar in a single serving, which is an entire daily intake for women.
No, just because a muffin is “banana nut” doesn’t mean it’s a healthy option. Muffins are essentially like cake, full of sugar, chemicals and trans fat. If it’s cake you want to eat, you should treat yourself to cake! Don’t fool yourself into thinking eating a muffin for breakfast is any different than a slice of birthday cake.