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Where Sugar Hides

Posted by Smarter Nutrition on

Seven Leading Hidden Sources of Sugar (And How to Avoid Them)

Sugar is one of the most talked about (and demonized) subjects in health and fitness. Most people say they want to cut back on their sugar intake and eat a more wholesome and unprocessed diet.

The problem is that sugar is found in almost everything.

Sugar hides out in foods that you would never suspect.  This includes bread, salad dressings, and even healthy-looking granola bars.

Marketing efforts can make you think that something is healthy when in reality it is  full of sugar. 

This post discusses seven leading hidden sources of sugar and how to avoid them.  We will show you firsthand how to become a keen sugar detective and know exactly what to look for!

Seven Leading Hidden Sources of Sugar and How to Avoid Them

#1 Yogurt:

Yogurt is either a quick and convenient breakfast choice or a filling snack. However, you must be careful with yogurt. Some yogurts are highly sweetened.

You should be particularly careful with the flavored and fat-free yogurts. They are often loaded with sugar, to make up for the loss of flavor, once the fat is stripped out.

It's also a good idea to avoid “lite” yogurts that use artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. It is important to check the back label of the yogurt container. Avoid it if it contains more than five grams of sugar.

A Healthier Option:

What is a healthier alternative?

Full-fat, unsweetened, Greek yogurt is your best bet.

You can sweeten it yourself with raw honey and some fresh fruit. Then you will know exactly how much sugar you are consuming.

#2 Dressings and Sauces:

Salad dressing and pasta sauces often contain added sugars.

Make sure to check the nutrition label to see just how much sugar is added. You can also look at sugar’s position on the ingredient list. If it is the first or second ingredient, that's a sure sign that it contains high quantities of sugar.

A Healthier Option:

Ready-made salad dressing can be replaced with homemade dressing.  It is easy to make a delicious salad dressing with olive oil, vinegar, and some fresh herbs and spices.

You can also make a tasty pasta sauce using fresh tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, and fresh garlic. These homemade versions taste better and are much better for you! 

#3 Granola Bars:

Granola bars are deceivingly tricky because they are marketed and appear healthy.

However, many of them contain large amounts of sugar. Some of them contain as much sugar as a candy bar! You should be aware of how much sugar is added to the granola bars you are eating.

Avoid any granola bars that contain five grams of sugar or more (which may be hard to find). To ensure that the bar you choose contains some nutritional value, make sure to also look at the fiber content.

How much fiber is in the bar? Even 3 grams of fiber is better than none!

You can also check to see what type of fat is added. Does it come from healthy sources, like nuts and seeds? Is the fat hydrogenated? It's important to avoid any type of hydrogenated fat.

A Healthier Option:

If you are looking for a quick snack, you can look for sugar alternatives with fruit, like dates, raw honey, and pure maple syrup.

Another option is to make your own granola bars using nuts, seeds, dates, and nut butter. If you make a large batch, you can freeze them and eat them during the week.  These granola bars are delicious and filling. 

#4 Frozen Meals:

Most frozen meals contain added sugar and salt. While it may be tempting to choose a frozen meal when the time is limited, it’s best to stay away from them. 

A Healthier Option:

Instead of eating frozen meals, you can make your meals on the weekends. Think of food prepping. You can then freeze any leftovers and eat them during the week.

#5 Dried Fruit:

While dried fruit is a quick and easy snack, it is not always the healthiest option. The fruit is naturally sweet, but some companies use added sugar to make it even sweeter.

If you occasionally eat dried fruit, check the nutrition label to make sure that it does not contain added sugar.

A Healthy Option:

It’s best to skip the dried fruit altogether and eat regular fruit.  It satisfies a sweet tooth and there is no need for any added sugar.

Better yet, freeze grapes and enjoy them frozen. The kids love this, and it is a great alternative to ice cream or processed sweet treats.

#6 Cereal:

Cereal is one of the most common breakfast items. 

Although many children are raised on cereal, most types contain a large amount of sugar. It’s best to stay away from any type of sweetened cereal. 

Both the cereal and the milk you add to it contain sugar. It’s not the best way to start your day. There are much healthier options.

A Healthy Option:

If you like cereal, try rolled oats or quinoa instead. They make a delicious and fiber-rich breakfast. You can sweeten it yourself with pure maple syrup and fresh fruit.

#7 Ketchup:  

Ketchup is a common kitchen staple for many people.  In the past (and in many establishments currently), ketchup is added to meal plans and considered a “vegetable” serving.

However, it is another hidden source of sugar. Most ketchups that are not organic are made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), one of the worst types of sugar alternative.

Check the nutrition label to make sure it does not contain any added sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

A Healthy Option:  

Use a no-sugar-added ketchup or skip it altogether.  It is better to eat a burger with sliced tomato, avocado and lettuce instead.

Sugar is found in just about everything.

But knowledge is power. If you know where to find it, it is easier to avoid it. The next time you are out shopping, look at the nutrition labels on your food. You may be surprised at where you find sugar. Avoid foods with added sugar, wherever possible. Use the healthier option tips above to make healthier, low-sugar choices.

Your body will thank you!

 


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