Monday, August 1, 2016

Busted! 5 Foods That Have "Hidden" Sugars in Them and Ways To Avoid Them

Grocery shopping can be tricky! Especially if you are trying to avoid sugar. Walking up and down the isles of any grocery store will prove a daunting task when just about every packaged food item contains some amount of sugar. There is sugar loaded into items that no one would ever expect sugar to be in, let alone in high quantities. Listed below are 5 foods that have hidden sugars in them that may surprise you and hopefully make you think twice before putting them in your cart.

  • Fruit Yogurt - Ahhh, yogurt! Often thought of as a "healthy" food, fruit yogurt is usually loaded with lots of added sugar. Coming in at a whooping 19 grams of sugar, fruit yogurt should be more aptly named dessert. Instead of going for the sweetened yogurts with fruit already in them a good option would be to buy plain yogurt and the fruit you desire and make your own. By doing this you can control how much sweetener actually makes it into your yogurt and avoid the over access of 19 grams of sugar. (By the way, in case you were wondering....19 grams of sugar is the rough equivalent of 5 sugar packets.) Using a sweetener like Stevia might be a good option to replace the sugar altogether. 
  • Dried Fruits - Now you would think that dried fruit would be healthy enough BUT if you are buying this from the grocery store chances are it is also loaded with added sugars. Just look at the ingredient list and in most cases the second ingredient is sugar. In some instances just 1/3 cup of dried fruit can contain as much as 24 grams of sugar or roughly 6 sugar packets. That is a lot of extra sugar added to some dried fruit that is already sweet enough on its own. If you really want some dried fruit look for unsweetened varieties or make your own in a food dehydrator or oven. This way you will know you are only getting the natural sugars from the fruit and not all the extra from added sugars. 
  • Energy Drinks -  This one may not be a surprise that it has sugar added to it but just how much it has might be. In some instances this little can of "pep" can contain a monumental 83 grams of sugar! The sugar packet equivalent on this one comes out to be about 19 1/2 sugar packets. That is A LOT of sugar. Not all energy drinks are made the same and sugar content will vary but it would be wise to check out the food label before drinking one of these down and definitely proceed with caution. 
  • Pasta Sauces - Believe it or not your favorite pasta sauce probably contains on average 10 to 12 grams of sugar or the equivalent of 3 sugar packets of added sugar to it. It doesn't occur to most people to look for sugar in pasta sauces but it is there and in surprising amounts. Depending on what type of sauce you are using this will greatly vary the amount of sugar that is present. Some sauces can average well over 24 grams of sugar per bottle so it pays to look at the food labels and see just how much sugar is in your favorites. A good way around this is of course to make homemade sauce but if that isn't possible there are some pretty good sauces available that have very little if any added sugars. Just be sure to read the labels to know what you are buying.
  • Granola Bars -  Known by some as a "healthy" snack this little gem of a bar can hold some secrets. These convenient snack bars can have about 12 grams of sugar per bar or roughly 3 1/2 sugar packets worth per bar. It always pays to read the food labels before devouring one of these up. Making your own granola bars are not only a good way to control how much sugar gets added but also gives you more control over the variety of bar you can have too. Experiment with different flavor combinations and let your creativity soar. You may just create your new favorite.

Sugar! Sugar! Sugar! It is everywhere and in just about everything. Hopefully by giving you the above examples it will help in learning how to avoid extra sugars that are hidden in some of our most unsuspecting foods. A good rule of thumb at the grocery store is: If it comes in a probably has added sugar. With so many things like diabetes and obesity on the rise it is so important to watch sugar intake and be mindful of what is going into your body. By learning how to read food labels and being aware of all the hidden sugar possibilities obtaining optimal health will become easier and easier as the knowledge base broadens. What are some foods that you have found to contain hidden sugars in them? Were you able to find an alternative solution? If so, share in the comment section below.


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