10 foods that contain a lot more sugar than you think
It’s no secret that sugar is bad for health. I’m not talking about the natural sugar we consume in fruit and honey – that amount is tiny compared to all the sugar we consume in seemingly sugar-free foods. You don’t have to munch on cookies and chocolate bars every day to eat sugar – there are foods that contain a lot of sugar but aren’t even sweet! Yes, even the tomato soup you buy at the supermarket contains your daily dose of sugar. If you want to seriously cut down on sugar, you need to know a few tricks. Here are 10 foods that contain a lot more sugar than you think.
Companies like to hide how much sugar they put in their products, so they come up with different names for it to deceive the buyer. You might be looking for plain old sugar, but instead you’ll see sucrose, carob syrup, fructose, dextrose, and more. You really need to up your chemistry game to understand how much sugar is in the product you’re buying. Soda is a pretty obvious choice, but listen up: a can of soda contains 29 grams of sugar, which is more than your daily allowance! Women are recommended to consume 25 g of sugar per day, and men – up to 36 g.
Flavored yogurt can be advertised as healthy, but this is rarely the case. Especially the low-fat ones – companies add more sugar to compensate for the lack of taste, making flavored yogurt as healthy as a scoop of ice cream. One 8-ounce serving of yogurt can contain up to 33 grams of sugar, so you better read labels carefully. The best option is to buy natural yogurt and add your own fresh fruit and honey.
Agave syrup is commonly advertised as a healthy sugar substitute, but it is far from the case. It’s 85% fructose, which affects your liver and can cause big problems in the long run. Fructose is harder for your body to metabolize than, say, sucrose, but ultimately neither is better than the other. However, cane sugar will be easier for your body to absorb than agave.
Granola bars are no better than candy with a sugar-filled chocolate or yogurt frosting. They may also contain brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, and other unhealthy sweeteners. Half a cup of granola may seem like an innocent snack, but it has about 10 grams of sugar. If you don’t feel full enough and eat another portion, it will be a sweet disaster for your body.
Good old barbecue sauce is a real sugar bomb, even if you take a small amount. Just a few tablespoons of barbecue sauce contains more sugar than you’d expect. You can take two tablespoons of this sauce and eat two teaspoons of sugar with it. Up to 33% of BBQ sauce is pure sugar! Be mindful of portions and try to make your own sauces if possible.
All pre-made sauces are loaded with sugar, but pasta sauce seems like it shouldn’t be on the list, right? It’s not even that sweet after all! Well, it actually contains a ton of sugar – some of it comes naturally from the tomatoes, but the rest is added to improve flavor and preserve the product. A half-cup of pasta sauce can have about 12 grams of sugar, so you’re better off making your own sugar-free sauce or looking for low sugar in the ingredients list.
Dried fruit seems like such a healthy snack, but in reality, things are a little different. Many brands do use sugar in their products, so you should pay attention to this when buying dried fruit. But the whole drying process creates concentrated sugar in the fruit, making one bag of dried fruit a lot more sugar than two or three fresh ones combined. It’s easy to eat a lot of sugar without even realizing it!
Sports are healthy, so sports drinks must be good too, right? No, this is definitely not the case with most sports drinks that have been designed to give athletes a boost of energy. They have an extremely high sugar content and can contain up to 40 grams per bottle. That’s way more than your daily dose! Stick to water during your workout—it’s the only fluid you really need.
Okay, this may come as a surprise to you, but do you really know how much sugar is in your flavored coffee? That huge hazelnut latte or large cappuccino with vanilla syrup can contain up to 50 grams of sugar in total, and sometimes more! That’s about 11 teaspoons of sugar. Really, it’s better to stick to plain old coffee in small to medium portions.
Who would have thought canned soup could be high in sugar? But it can be a real sugar bomb if you don’t read the ingredients carefully. Look for other names for sugar, such as maltose, barley malt, sucrose, fructose syrup, and more. If you see that many of them are mentioned in small quantities – the product probably contains too much sugar. Look for sugar below the ingredients list.