Maintaining a balanced diet is a must for living a healthy life. With our guide to fat, you can more easily navigate the world of healthy vs. unhealthy fats, but what about managing sugar intake? We all know dessert should be considered an every-now-and-again treat as opposed to a food group to include on a regular basis, but what about the sugar that sneaks into foods that say things like “healthy” and “light” and “low fat” on the label?
Natural vs. Refined
To begin, it’s important to understand the difference in naturally occurring sugars and refined, added sugars. Fruits, vegetables, and milk all contain natural sugars, commonly referred to as fructose in fruit and lactose in dairy products. Meanwhile, pastries, candies, and cookies all contain added refined sugars called sucrose.
Did you know that some of the foods we consider to be healthy, sneak in sugars that are worth noting and still contribute to your overall intake? In addition, there are several words for sugar that sometimes goes under the radar, just as the food brands hoped. We found an article that lists 57 of these sneaky names for sugar that might find their way into the ingredient list on your food item. Click here for the full list.
The Sneakiest Culprits
We’ve compiled a list of foods that tend to sneak sugars into their ingredient lists. Once you’re aware of these stinkers, it will be easier for you when making selections in the future.
Opt for plain yogurt whenever possible. If you need a little sweetness, add a little honey at home so you’re more aware of how much sugar you’re consuming.
This includes whole wheat and whole grain bread! Always check the nutrition label so you’re aware how much you’re consuming.
03 Protein Bars
There’s a reason protein bars taste like candy. Even if they say 1g sugar or sugar-free, do a quick check for the fake sugars maltitol and sorbitol. About 65% of the sorbitol you eat is converted immediately to fructose by your liver. The other 35% feeds the bacteria in the large intestine and not the good kind. That’s the same reason eating too much sugar-free candy can make you feel gassy and sick.
04 Dressings and Condiments
Especially if it’s low fat, do a quick check for added sugars. You may be surprised!
Really, anything that comes in a box should be checked, but especially cereal. Pay attention to serving size. Many cereals have a ¾ cup serving, which is smaller than you might think!
A lot of smoothie places add a lot of sugar to their blends and you don’t need it! Use this guide to make smoothies at home.
07 Tomato Sauce
If ketchup is your jam, added sugar is hard to avoid. With spaghetti sauce though, you can choose a delicious tomato basil variety with less sugar over sweeter, more basic varieties. Ask your Health Advisor for tips!