Hidden Sources of Sugar
As our knowledge of nutritional science continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly clear how devastating the excess consumption of sugar is for our health. It causes us to gain weight, it causes spikes in blood sugar, and it increases the body's resistance to insulin, just to name a few of the issues caused by our national love affair with sugar.
Now, as we become armed with this knowledge, many of us are choosing to take control of our health and our diet, to live a better life by controlling our consumption of sugar. This can be incredibly difficult, however, because we are surrounded by so many concentrated sources of sugar that we aren't even aware of!
The goal of this article is to help you control your consumption of sugar by informing you of a variety of foods which many people don't realize are loaded with sugar.
Pasta Sauces Sometimes Worse than Drinking Soda
Most of us remember when we were children, and spaghetti was a staple of the average American diet. Pasta sauce does provide the nutrient equivalent of multiple servings of vegetables, but it also contains a tremendous amount of sugar. In fact, most of these sauces contain between six and twelve grams of sugar for each serving. Each serving is only a half a cup, and most people end up having even more.
Twelve grams of sugar is like eating two chocolate chip cookies!
Based on current research, it is recommended that men have 150 calories from sugar at most, and only 100 for women. That means that most pasta sauces have way too much sugar for you to keep your consumption down to acceptable levels without diligence. White sauces are even worse than red sauces, because they contain high levels of fat in addition to calories from sugar. We recommend shopping around for pastas that are specially made for aware consumers, or to make your own sauce at home!
Granola Bars Often as Bad as Candy Bars
Many people think of granola bars as the ideal healthy snack. Unfortunately, most of the granola bars that you buy at the store are loaded with sugar and other ingredients designed to make you crave them. Many of them are even covered in chocolate or yogurt.
It's important to recognize that many of the granola bars sold at supermarkets are nothing more than candy bars given a new name to appeal to more health conscious consumers. Granola is still a fantastic snack, but we recommend buying loose granola, which often comes in cereal boxes, and snacking on it that way. You can cut your sugar consumption from your snack significantly by switching to regular granola (8-12 grams of sugar per ounce vs. 5 grams of sugar per ounce).
Yogurt Can Be a Deceiving Health Food
Like granola bars, yogurt is another food which is often advertised as a health food when it is manufactured like a desert. Among dairy products, Yogurt is among the most concentrated sources of protein and calcium per serving, but it is often heavily sweetened to appeal to the consumer while also meeting their latent desire to improve their eating habits.
An eight ounce cup of Low-Fat Yogurt can contain more than thirty grams of sugar...Fully 1/3 of the sugar a woman needs in a single day! That's like eating eight ounces of ice cream! Of course, Greek Yogurt and similar forms of yogurt aren't inundated with sugar in the same way, and there are plenty of types of yogurt on the market which are low-sugar or naturally flavored which can fulfill your desire for a high-protein snack without loading you up with unhealthy sugar. Another option is to buy plain yogurt and add your own healthy fruits to naturally sweeten your snack!
Packaged Flavored Oatmeal Much Unhealthier than Plain Oatmeal
Oatmeal is an awesome way to get a lot of fiber along with some complex carbs, but the prepackaged flavored oatmeal that you buy at the store is almost like eating a bowl of sugary cereal. One serving of instant oatmeal contains as much as fifteen grams of sugar, whereas low-sugar packages still contain five or six grams of sugar.
Oatmeal is quick enough to make on its own. Plain oatmeal takes just a couple of minutes and is way healthier than flavored oatmeal. Try adding cinnamon and chopped up banana to meet your breakfast needs more completely without resorting to processed sugar. Plain oatmeal has less than a single gram of sugar.
Be Careful with Salad Dressing
Most people think about fat when they think about salad dressing, but these products are also often a major source of sugar. Catalina, French, and sweet vinaigrettes are the worst offenders, with as much as seven grams of sugar in just two ounces of dressing.
When using dressings, think of them as a means by which to add a source of healthy fat to your meal, and don't go overboard. There are a number of awesome dressings that are low in sugar while also adding a lot to the flavor and texture profile of your salad, such as oil and vinegar.
Breakfast Cereals Often Infused with Excess Sugar
Most people are aware of the unhealthy cereal brands that are targeted to children, but many of the cereals marketed as healthy foods are also quite loaded with sugar as well. Many bran, corn, and oat cereals have ten, twenty, or even more grams of sugar per cup.
Never trust the advertising when it comes to breakfast cereals, always look at the spine of the box and check the sugar content, as well as the general nutrition content! Good breakfast cereals should be fortified and full of fiber and complex carbs.
Energy Drinks Frequently Loaded with Sugar
Energy drinks are often marketed as metabolism boosters that give you a shot in the arm when you need it most, but many rely on a heavy dose of sugar to provide the brunt of their energy. There are a number of energy drinks on the market that have as much as 25 grams of sugar in a small can.
If you are interested in the healthier ingredients contained within energy drinks, think about buying B-Complex or Vitamin C supplements from the grocery store and combine them with a nice, tall glass of water to simultaneously rehydrate you and supply you with healthy nutritional supplementation. Supplements containing Taurine or Guarine may also be an option, but do your research.
Packaged Fruits Contain Much More Sugar than Fresh Fruit
One of the biggest culprits for excess sugar is canned fruit. The so-called light syrup commonly advertised on the can isn't so light, and drastically increases the sugar content per serving. In fact, just draining the syrup from the can can decrease the sugar content by more than half.
Rather than turn to canned fruits, buy them fresh at the store, and eat them before they go bad. Also, it's important to note that frozen fruits have a higher nutrition content than even their fresh counterparts, as frozen fruits are usually frozen immediately after they are harvested, whereas fresh fruit loses some of its nutrition content during transport and delivery. Both are still quality sources of dense nutrition, however.
Cole Slaw is a Poor Alternative to Salad
It almost seems like a little salad, doesn't it? This side, which is commonly one of the healthier-sounding sides at many restaurants, is usually also loaded with sugar, as well as fat. This is true for coleslaw from fast food restaurants as well as that which is sold at supermarkets and served at most eating establishments. Generally, cole slaw contains around fifteen grams of sugar.
Before going to a restaurant, consider looking up their sides on the web in order to see if their cole slaw meets the grade. If you are a big fan of cole slaw, start making your own batches, designed to meet your personal needs.
Many Teas Loaded with Sugar
In the recent past, people consumed lots and lots of juice, without thinking about the tremendous amount of sugar that is contained in many popular fruit juices. As consumers have become more aware, many have changed to specialty teas. Unfortunately, many of these forms of tea are just as bad, or worse. For example, Sweetened tea with lemon can contain more than thirty grams of sugar per 16 ounce bottle, even more than some fruit juices, including apple juice.
Teas are a fantastic way to infuse your diet with flavonoids and other healthy ingredients, but go for unsweetened tea or lightly sweetened tea, or better yet, make your own and control the content! Also consider sweetening your tea with Stevia, a natural no-calorie sweetener that is far better for you than artificial sweeteners.
High Sugar Volume in Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is often a solid choice for an on-the-go snack, but it's important to recognize that dried fruit has a high concentration of sugar. The dehydration process actually means that there is more sugar per ounce in the product, meaning that you have to be much more conscientious, and because of the reduced water content, will perhaps not be filled up as easily. For example, half an ounce of raisins contains ten more grams of sugar than eight ounces of grapes.
Sugar Content in Ketchup
Ketchup is a heavily sweetened and processed product by the ounce, but luckily, most people don't drown their food in ketchup. A single tablespoon of ketchup contains around four grams of sugar. If you have your sugar under control, this isn't an issue, but if you are looking to reduce your sugar consumption by any means necessary, turn to other condiments such as mustard, which contains less than a quarter of the sugar contained in ketchup.
Limiting Sugar is a Constant Battle
In this world of High Fructose Corn Syrup and sugar-infusion, it can be very difficult to contain the level of sugar in one's diet. It takes a conscious effort, because everywhere in society, there are advertisers trying to sell you products that sate your desire for flavor as well as your conscience with intentionally misleading labels.
By taking your nutrition into your own hands, it is possible to overcome these societal norms and optimize your diet for a long and healthy life without giving up the wonderful tastes and flavors that make eating such a pleasure!