6 Foods With More Sugar Than You Think

6 Foods With More Sugar Than You Think

We don’t know who needs to hear this, but sugar isn’t doing your body any favors, especially when it comes to excess sugar intake. Added sugars are the real danger because natural sugars, which exist in whole, unprocessed foods, supply the body with natural energy in appropriate amounts. Plus, natural sugars come with other nutrients like fiber, protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. 

Added sugars rapidly cause a spike in blood sugar, creating a cascade of metabolically damaging reactions. When you regularly consume large amounts of added sugars, you increase the risk of fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, systemic inflammation, and insulin resistance. All of those health conditions are linked to overweight and obesity. 

Although the U.S. dietary guidelines suggest that people limit added sugar intake to less than 10% of their daily calories, three out of four people typically exceed that percentage. You may think that you are safe if you don’t add sugar to food, but several foods, which aren’t even sweet, account for 90% of added sugar intake. Here are the most common foods that are sugar bombs. 

Canned Soup

Canned soup is not only a source of excess sodium, but also lots of sugar. Tomato soups tend to contain the highest levels of added sugars, with certain condensed varieties containing 20 grams (g) of sugar per one-cup serving. The reason that manufacturers add so much sugar to tomato soups is to balance the taste and reduce acidity. Always check soup labels carefully before you buy them. 

Tomato Sauce

Sticking in the same lane as tomato soups, store bought tomato sauces in jars are sneaky sources of sugar. These sauces are convenient, but they contain high amounts of both sodium and sugar. Once again, the sugar cuts the acidic taste of tomatoes and helps extend the shelf life. Certain jarred sauces contain four grams of sugar in a half-cup, per the USDA. It is very easy to make your own tomato sauce without the need for excess sodium and sugar!

Granola And Snack Bars

When you enjoy granola for breakfast, are you actually eating glorified sugar? When you fuel up with a snack bar, are you overloading your body with sugar? Both granola and snack bars sound much healthier than they actually are. Some bars contain upwards of 10 grams of sugar, along with other processed ingredients that aren’t conducive to your health. If you see names for sugar at the top of the ingredient list, avoid those products. Watch out for brown sugar syrup, corn syrup, fructose, and other names for sugars. Instead, opt for a handful of raw nuts or unsweetened dried fruit.

Dried Fruit

Seemingly healthy, dried fruit can contain a lot of sugar, if you purchase certain varieties. A single handful of dried cranberries, for example, can contain 29 g of added sugars. That’s in addition to the naturally occurring sugars that already exist in cranberries. Just remember that added sugar levels tend to be higher in fruits that are naturally tart. If you buy dried fruit, look for options that only list the fruit as the ingredient. You want to avoid added sugars and preservatives like sulfur dioxide. 

Salad Dressing

Salad dressing is another store bought item that contains unhealthy fats, high levels of sodium, and lots of added sugars. The sad reality is that dressings seem healthy because they go on salads. Some dressings contain six grams of sugar per serving (about 2 tablespoons). Fat-free dressings tend to have the most added sugars and sodium because removing fat reduces flavor. Your best bet is to make your own dressings with olive oil, balsamic/apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and seasonings. 

Flavored Yogurt

Shouldn’t yogurt be on your list of healthy foods to enjoy for breakfast? This all depends on the type of yogurt you purchase. Plain Greek yogurt, for example, is a great source of probiotics and an excellent breakfast food option. If you buy flavored yogurts, or varieties that contain fruit jam on the top or bottom, the sugar content will be very high. Read the ingredients because you need to steer clear if you see sugar in the top three ingredients on the list. Enjoying plain yogurt with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, or unsweetened dried fruit provide great flavors and nutrients.

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