Sugar is everywhere.
This is a scary statement for anybody with diabetes.
Even “healthy” foods may not be as innocent as they first appear. Hidden sugar in food can cause blood sugar levels to go soaring – every diabetics worst nightmare.
Many foods are deceitful as they do not taste sweet – even though they are loaded with sugar.
Here are 12 of the most common foods that contain hidden sugar…
- Pasta Sauces
Many pasta sauces have between 6 and 12 grams of sugar per half-cup serving. That’s the same amount you’d get from a chocolate chip cookie. The American Heart Association recommends that women have no more than 100 calories of sugar per day (about 6 teaspoons’ worth) and men have no more than 150 calories (about 9 teaspoons).
Too much sugar can lead to extra kilograms, and that’s bad for your health. So, look on the ingredient label for the sugar content of your favourite marinara or Alfredo before planning your meal.
- Granola Bars
Check granola bar labels for ingredients like corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, brown sugar syrup, dextrose, and fructose. Some have a yoghurt or chocolate coating, or chocolate chips, which can ramp up the sugars fast – anywhere from 8 to 12 grams per serving. Instead of eating a 30g granola bar, switch to 30g of granola (about 1/3 cup) and the sugar lowers to about 5 grams.
Yoghurt is full of healthy calcium and protein, but even low-fat flavoured yoghurt can have 17 to 33 grams of sugar per 225-gram serving – that’s about as much as 2 scoops (1 cup) of chocolate ice cream. When shopping, look for ones that are lower in sugar. Or, buy it plain and toss in the fruit of your choice.
- Instant Oatmeal
Oatmeal has a good rep for being full of healthy fibre, but many fruit-flavoured instant ones have between 10 and 15 grams of sugar per packet. “Reduced sugar” varieties can have closer to 5 or 6 grams per packet. Better yet, add apple slices to plain instant oatmeal. It has less than 1 gram of sugar in a packet. We prefer natural rolled oats, which have no added sugar.
- Salad Dressing
Sweet dressings, such as raspberry vinaigrette, French, and Catalina, have the most sugar – about 5 to 7 grams of sugar in a 2-tablespoon serving. So watch how much you pour on. A lower-sugar option is a light homemade vinegar and oil dressing. It will have only about 1 gram of sugar in the same amount.
- Breakfast Cereals
Yes, we all know fruity kids’ cereals are high in sugar, but even healthier-sounding ones sneak it in. Many popular oat, corn and bran cereals have 10-20 grams or more per cup. No matter what the front of the box promises, read the ingredients label to be sure of what you’re getting.
- Energy Drinks
Most of those drinks that say they’ll give you a lift have tons of sugar along with caffeine. Some energy drinks have about 25 grams per 200ml serving. How about having some cool water instead? Sometimes being dehydrated can make you feel tired.
- Packaged or Canned Fruits
Mandarin oranges in light syrup have about 39 grams of sugar per 1-cup serving. You can minimize the sugar somewhat by draining the cup – that gets you to about 15.5 grams.
Better yet, just have fresh fruit.
That’s the “healthy” side dish at the fast-food restaurant, isn’t it? Think again. One regular-size side of coleslaw from many popular fast-food places will cost you about 15 grams in sugar. You can learn what goes into some of your favourite restaurant offerings by looking it up online on their website.
If you’re craving coleslaw, you can always make a low-sugar version at home.
You’re wary of the added calories and sugar in juices, so you’ve switched to tea. Uh-oh. Many popular teas have a surprising amount of sugar. The leading brands of lemon-flavoured iced tea, for example, all have about 32 grams of sugar per bottle. A cup of apple juice has 24 grams. You can control sugar if you brew your own tea instead. Also, some flavoured waters aren’t high in sugar – check labels, though.
- Dried Fruit
With all the water taken out, dried fruit has way more sugar by volume than fresh fruits. A small packet of raisins – 15g – has more than 8 grams of sugar. Instead, you could eat a cup of grapes for 15 grams of sugar.
- Tomato Sauce (Ketchup)
At about 4 grams per tablespoon, tomato sauce (ketchup) on your burger can give you a minor sugar boost. That’s not as much as some other foods on this list, but if you’re trying to cut back on sugar, switch to regular yellow mustard – it gives you less than 1 gram of sugar per tablespoon.
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