Sugar is everywhere! It’s hard to avoid sugar when it’s added to just about every single packaged food you find on grocery store shelves. It’s even added to foods we would never suspect which certainly makes eliminating sugar from our diet challenging.
However, with a little bit of investigating, you can quickly identify where sugar hides so you don’t have to fall victim to marketing tricks making a not so healthy food appear to be healthy.
But, before we jump into the top four hidden sources of sugar, let’s briefly talk about why we should be avoiding sugar anyway.
What’s the Problem with Sugar?
Over the past decade or so, the conversation surrounding the dangers of sugar have popped up everywhere. It’s hard to not bring the topic of sugar up when talking about nutrition. But, what’s the big deal anyway? Here are five reasons why sugar can be detrimental to our health.
- Sugar can cause imbalances in the bacteria in our gut. With any imbalance in the gut, we run the risk of dealing with dozens of other health consequences. Excess sugar intake can also lead to yeast overgrowth.
- Sugar consumption may increase the risk of heart disease.
- Consumption of high fructose corn syrup, commonly found in sodas and baked goods has been linked to obesity.
- Sugar consumption has been linked to skin issues like acne.
- Too much sugar can increase your risk of diabetes.
The Top 4 Hidden Sources of Sugar
Let’s take a look at some of the common hidden sources of sugar. These are foods that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with added sugar which is why it is so important to read food labels. When you know where sugar hides, it will be much easier for you to avoid it and reduce it from your diet.
#1 Yogurt: Yogurt is a staple in so many peoples diet and is commonly referred to as a health food. While full-fat unsweetened yogurt contains some added health benefits, sweetened sugars don’t. Be careful with the flavored yogurts you find in stores as they are often highly sweetened.
#2 Cereal: Cereal is another big one and unfortunately it happens to be a staple in many children’s diets in the United States. It’s best to stay away from cereal altogether and opt for something like rolled oats for breakfast instead.
#3 Sauces & Dressings: Tomato sauces, ketchup, and salad dressing are notoriously known for containing added sugar. The last thing you want to do is add a dressing or sauce to your healthy meal with lots of added sugar. Check the nutrition label to make sure sugar had not been added. Better yet, make your own sauce or dressing!
#4 Granola Bars: Granola bars are another big one. The tricky thing about granola bars is that companies have a way of marketing their product as “healthy.” However, don’t fall for the marketing tricks. Some granola bars contain just as much sugar as a candy bar! It’s best to stick to granola bars that are only sweetened with natural sweeteners like dates or make your own with nuts, rolled, oats, and a small amount of raw honey.
To avoid having added sugar in your diet, start reading the food label on the back of everything you purchase. As a rule of thumb, if sugar is one of the top ingredients listed, it likely contains quite a bit. It is also best to choose more whole foods in their natural state. Things like veggies, poultry, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit with natural sugar are better options than anything packaged.
Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021
High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3522469/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Jacobs N.C is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, specializing in digestive and women's health. She doesn't believe in dieting but rather making lifestyle changes, and believes that healthy eating must be delicious. Rebecca is also a recipe developer and creates healthier alternatives to traditionally unhealthy foods.