There is no doubt that we are facing an unprecedented epidemic when it comes to obesity and weight-related illnesses and deaths in this country. In America alone, millions of dollars are spent each year on diet and weight loss. Even if you are not throwing money at it directly, you are likely trying to do something to help keep the pounds off. You know to limit sweet treats, but you need to watch out for these nine foods which appear to be healthy, but in truth, are loaded with unhealthy sugars. Eating too many of these as part of your normal diet may sabotage all the good work you are doing and may be part of the reason you are not seeing the results you want to see! Here are some examples of hidden sugar in your diet you probably didn’t even think about:
Granola cereals or bars
Granola has been given the image of being super healthy, however, in almost all cases granola-based cereals actually contain a lot of sugar. This is because the granola itself isn’t bad but it is mixed in with other ingredients to make that cereal or snack bar. A serving of granola cereal can have up to 15 grams of refined sugar in less than a cup. That’s like eating three teaspoons of sugar. Granola bars may be packed with 25 grams of sugar in a small bar, or more! This is the same amount of sugar that you can find in a chocolate candy bar! Granola bars and sweet cereals are also bad because they don’t fill you up due to the small serving size, so it’s common to eat 2-3 servings worth in one sitting if you are hungry. If you want satisfying crunch, grab a handful of almonds or walnuts or other healthy nuts instead.
Another example of ways hidden sugar in your diet can sneak up when we are trying to be healthy is in eating a large amount of canned and processed fruits. Canned fruit is often packed in sugary syrup, which is really calorie-laden high fructose corn syrup. You can end up adding as many as 30 grams or more of sugar to your meal with a cup of regular canned fruit cocktail. If you are buying canned fruit, make sure to get cans that are packed in water or light syrup rather than sweet heavy syrup. That one thing alone can cut your sugar intake by half. Better still, skip canned fruit entirely and grab a real piece of fruit. Fruit does have natural sugar, but it also has fiber and other nutrients that are good for your body that canned fruit does not have due to the processing that it has to go through.
Ketchup-based salad dressings
Salads are good for us with all those veggies. However, you may be undoing all of the good things the salad can do for you. Dressings can contain a lot of sugar so you may want to skip the French, Russian, and Thousand Island dressings to keep the salad as healthy as possible. “These ketchup-based dressings have 9-10 grams of sugar per two-tablespoon serving… That’s more than four times the recommended allowance of about two grams per a two-tablespoon serving. If you think a fruity vinaigrette such as raspberry or pomegranate is a better choice, you’d be wrong” (Huffington Post). The best way to avoid high sugar dressings is to make your own dressings. If you must buy store made, look for cream-based dressings like ranch and blue cheese that usually have a lower sugar content!
We are a busy people and cannot always cook homemade meals, so we reach for the frozen dinner in the freezer thinking a meal with veggies and meats will be good for us and low in sugar. However, there can be a ton of carbs in them and these are a leading example of hidden sugar in your diet! “Frozen entrees commonly have 30-40 grams per serving of added sugars, and at least 500-600 milligrams of sodium. Refined sugar and excess salt both contribute to increased disease risk. When refined sugar causes the rise in insulin, this results in the kidneys retaining sodium. As a consequence, you can experience a rise in blood pressure” (Huffington Post). Obviously, it is always best to cook fresh meals at home, but if you must use frozen dinners, be sure to check the sugar and sodium content!
A big mistake many people make with their diets and sugar intake is they assume something that is healthy is healthy in any form. Fruit is a big example of hidden sugar in your diet as many people think dried fruit is a healthy snack option. The exact opposite is true actually since you can end up eating as much as 29 grams of sugar in a single serving of dried cherries. And it’s not all coming from the naturally sweet fruit. Fresh cherries will have maybe 10 sugars per cup and fresh pineapple may have 20. Dried cherries can have up to 20-30 sugars per serving and dried pineapple can have close to 45 or more! Sugar that is added healthy foods when it is processed can ruin its healthy impact and rede it useless for healthy diets! This is especially true for children and the food they eat!
This one may come as a surprise to many since yogurt is touted as being such a healthy snack option and dessert replacement. And while they do have less sugar than ice cream or more traditional sweet temptations, they are still a trouble area for many. All yogurts contain some sugar in the form of lactose also known as milk sugar and this is ok because it is complex natural sugar. The danger with most yogurts is in the added sugar many of them have. A typical fruit yogurt can have 30 grams or as many as six teaspoons of sugar per serving- or more! A better choice is plain Greek yogurt, unflavoured varieties and if you need the fruity sweetness, add your own fresh fruits or a drizzle of raw organic honey. This is one of the big examples of hidden sugar in your diet many people aren’t aware of.
A surprising source of hidden sugar in your diet is in wine! If you love to have a glass or two of wine with dinner, choose your wine carefully. Most people have heard that red wine in moderation can be good for you and this is true because of the antioxidants that it can contain. White wine, however, is not so good as it is the type of wine that generally uses the most sugar in its fermentation process. The amount of sugar in white wine typically depends on the kind of wine you’re drinking. Dryer wines will have just a few grams of sugar per glass while sweet wines may have up to ten grams per glass. So, if you indulge in white wine, limit your consumption and if possible consider a red wine instead to resist the hidden sugar in your diet!
One of the sneakiest ways sugar gets into your diet is through what you drink. We don’t think much about what we drink because it happens so fast and often times doesn’t fill us up the way food does. We also think once again that healthy things are healthy in any form. Fruit juices can have anywhere between 20-30 grams of sugar per cup and we often drink more than an 8oz serving size when we do indulge. The problem is some juices have sugar added to them in addition to natural sugars they may also have. The best thing to do is read the label first and look for “100% juice unsweetened” which has no added sugar. But you also need to be careful with all natural juices too because an 8oz glass of apple juice may contain the natural sugars of 5 or more apples, which can quickly add up!
BBQ and other sauces
“Adding sauces like barbecue, teriyaki, and jerk to grilled meats can add mega flavor with minimal fat, but in some products, sugars can account for a whopping 80 percent of the calories. A skimpy two-tablespoon serving of barbecue sauce can have 12 grams of sugar. That’s like eating almost three teaspoons-worth of sugar” (Huffington Post). Instead, a better option that is healthier and that will allow you to enjoy more than a measly 2 tablespoons worth is to make your own sauce. This will let you cut down on the sugar and have more control over what is going into the sauce. If you’re eating out, ask for the sauce to the side so you can control the amount that you end up eating with your meal. Condiments, in general, can be tricky so go easy on them and ask for sugar-free versions if you can.
Contact Forest City Dental
For more ways to keep your teeth healthy and to limit the intake of sugar in your daily diet, contact our experts at Forest City Dental. They will be glad to help you find new ways to reduce sugar intake and protect your teeth. Call now for your new patient consultation and to fight back against hidden sugar in your diet!