Nutrition

5 Hidden Sources of Sugar

hidden sugar

1.  Salad Dressing.  You wouldn’t think of pouring corn syrup or cane juice onto a bowl of crunchy greens, but many salad dressings are loaded with these and other sweeteners.  To avoid adding unnecessary sugar to an otherwise healthy meal, make one of these easy homemade dressings or buy a simple no-sugar-added vinaigrette.

2.  Tart frozen yogurt.  Though the term “tart” implies that something is unsweetened, the popular tart frozen yogurts have even more sugar than regular ice cream or frozen yogurt.  The tart flavor comes from the addition of lemon juice or citric acid, not from a lack of added sweeteners and flavorings.

3.  Granola bars.  When we hear the word “granola,” we usually think healthy.  But most commercial granola bars are loaded with sugar and lack the protein and whole grains that make real homemade granola a good choice.  Look for bars that have 6 or fewer grams of sugar per serving, like Kashi TLC chewy granola bars.

4.  Yogurt.  A single serving container of fruit-flavored yogurt can have up to 40g of sugar.  Even when you ignore the naturally occurring sugar from milk (lactose, which is ~ 12g per cup), that’s still leaves 5-7 teaspoons of added sugar — way more than a serving of ice cream!  Avoid this disguised junk food by buying plain yogurt and adding fresh fruit, or follow this guide to choosing the healthiest yogurt.

5.  Reduced fat foods.  When companies remove fat from their packaged foods (like peanut butter, sauces, cookies, crackers, etc), they often have to add more sugar to compensate for the loss of flavor and texture.  The result is a product with less fat, but the same (or very similar) amount of calories and even more sugar.  Plus, studies have shown that people eat larger portions of light and reduced fat foods.  Better to just go for the original version and keep your portions moderate.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Teri Roughen
    March 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Oh I know! And I’m sure I have way to much of it. Thanks for the reminder. Teri

    • Reply
      Amelia
      March 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      I must admit, I eat way too much also! Sweets are so tempting, but it does help to become aware of just how much sugar is added to regular foods. Avoiding this unnecessary sugar leaves more room for indulging in the occasional sweet treat!

  • Reply
    Caryn B
    April 2, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Very informative….I actually knew this about yogurt and the ideal thing would be to sweeten myself with fresh fruit. My son has food allergies so there is only one type of yogurt he can eat (Almond Milk) and unfortunately, it does contain more sugar than I’m comfortable with. But he doesn’t eat it every day and we limit other sources of sugar when possible. The one I’m most surprised about is salad dressing. Wow….I need to be reading my labels better….Thanks!

    • Reply
      Amelia
      April 3, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      Food allergies do make healthy eating more difficult sometimes, but it sounds like you’re practicing moderation and that’s really the key!

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