Sugar has been linked to serious diseases like heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and even cancer, which is why it’s crucial to cut down on foods and drinks that are high in sugar.
However, it’s easy to underestimate how much sugar you’re really consuming especially when our diets are full of foods that contain a surprising amount of hidden sugars. Take a look at 15 foods that are surprisingly high in sugar and what you should be eating instead…
Low Fat Yogurt
Reduced fat and flavored yogurts rely on added sugars to make them taste flavorful and like their full-fat alternatives. For example, a cup of low-fat yogurt can have more than 47 grams, or 12 teaspoons, of sugar. That’s more than the recommended daily limit for added sugars in a single cup.
For a healthier option, stick to full-fat and unflavored yogurt, Greek yogurt, or Skyr. Look for a container that has less than 12 grams of sugar per serving.
BBQ sauce is a grilling staple, however, just two tablespoons of the rich sauce have about 14 grams of sugar. Typically, sugar is high on the list of ingredients in BBQ sauces and make up for as much as 40 percent of the weight.
Make sure to check labels of different BBQ sauces and choose the sauce with the least amount of sugar. It’s also crucial to check the serving size and be mindful of portions.
Ketchup is one of the most popular and most widely used condiments in the world. While it’s delicious, it’s also packed with sugar.
Spend some time looking for ketchup with the least amount of sugar and remember that, typically, a tablespoon of ketchup has about one teaspoon of sugar.
Fruit juice might seem like a healthy and refreshing beverage option. While they can contain some important vitamins and minerals, they are typically full of sugar. Unfortunately, the fiber that fruit naturally contains that helps the body keep blood sugar stable has also been stripped.
To keep blood sugar levels from spiking, choose to eat whole fruits whenever a juice craving comes along.
Smoothies can be a better choice compared to juices since the fiber is retained during blending. However, fresh and pre-bottled smoothies can also be packed with sugar in the form of fruit juice, ice cream, and even syrup. In fact, some smoothies can contain over 96 grams of sugar in a single serving.
Smoothies can be a great addition to your diet, however, be sure to make your smoothies fresh at home and include more than just fruits in your drink. Try including some vegetables and leafy greens for added nutrition and to help keep sugar levels down.
Jarred pasta sauces are an easy way to add tons of flavor to a simple pasta dish. Yet, many rely on added sugars to add flavor.
Instead, try making a simple homemade tomato sauce to complement your pasta dishes. If you must use store-bought sauces, look for options that have little to no added sugars.
Sports drinks might seem like the perfect choice for hydration while exercising, but they contain a high amount of added sugars as they were designed for athletes during intense and prolonged periods of activity. Typically, a standard 20 oz bottle contains more than 30 grams of added sugar.
The only people who actually benefit from sports drinks are elite athletes or marathoners. Unless that’s you, just stick to plain water.
Granola seems like a healthy option because oats are a great source of protein, carbs, fat, and fiber. But store-bought granola is typically covered in syrups and honey to give them a sweet flavor.
To avoid all the added sugar, try making your own granola at home. If you must buy premade granolas, look for ones with less added sugars. It’s also important to be mindful of portion sizes with granola since it’s easy to overindulge.
Flavored coffee is delicious, but they are a sneaky source of hidden sugars as they often rely on artificial syrups for flavoring. For example, a large flavored coffee at some coffee chains has up to 25 teaspoons of sugar.
You can still enjoy your morning cup of coffee. Just stick to unflavored and unsweetened versions and try to avoid creamers that are high in sugar.
Iced tea can be extremely refreshing on a hot day, but they’re typically oversweetened with sugar or syrups. Some brands of iced tea actually contain a staggering 33 grams of sugar in a 12-oz serving.
Look for iced teas without any added sugar or make your own at home so you can save money and control what goes into it. It may take some time to get used to the less sweet flavor, but your taste buds will adjust quickly.
Proteins bars are popular among fitness fanatics who are convinced they can’t possibly get enough protein from their diet. However, they actually can do more harm than good thanks to the amount of sugar they often contain. Some protein bars actually contain around 30 grams of sugar, which is similar to amounts found in candy bars.
Be sure to look for protein bars with little to no sugars added. Most people also get plenty of protein from their diets so protein powders and bars aren’t actually necessary.
Cereal is a breakfast staple for millions of Americans. However, most cereal brands are loaded with sugar since they are often made for children, who love sugar. Starting your day off with spiking blood sugar will also lead you to have an energy crash and crave more sweet things later in the day.
Be sure to check the labels on cereal boxes and look for ones that are high in fiber and don’t have any added sugar.
Like breakfast cereal, cereal bars are marketed as a quick, on-the-go breakfast alternative. However, they’re basically candy bars with the amount of sugar they contain.
Try waking up a little bit earlier so that you can enjoy a balanced breakfast at home. If that’s not possible, pack some healthy snacks like fruit and nuts that you can eat during your commute.
Fruit contains natural sugars, however, canned fruits are also soaked in a sugary syrup. They are also typically peeled, which strips them of some of their fiber.
Fresh fruit is always the best option and most fruits are easy to pack and eat wherever you are.
Canned Baked Beans
Baked beans often taste more savory than sweet, however, canned versions are often hiding a surprising amount of sugar.
Look for cans that have lower amounts of sugar. The simple swap can save you from half the amount of sugar as fully-sweetened versions.