Most people are able to identify desserts and candy as having added sugar, but what about less obvious sources? Some foods that most people would consider “healthy” may actually have a lot of added sugar in them, such as:
Have you had a peek down your local grocery store’s breakfast cereal aisles lately? Loaded from the top shelf to the bottom are colorful boxes – many with cartoon characters that appeal to the young (and young at heart), that are also loaded with sugars and other sweeteners. Many are confused by the branding which declare the products’ content are “whole grain” or “fortified with vitamins and minerals.” Neither means that they are absent sugar.
Health tip: Go for the tried-and-true traditional oatmeal, to which you can add your own fruit or a touch of honey. For those who want a cold and convenient healthy alternative, try the company Food for Life which offers among its products Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Crunchy Cereal – Golden Flax with less than a gram of sugar.
Naturally occurring milk sugar is lactose, of which there is 4.5 g per 100 g in plain yogurt. If a dairy product contains less than this amount, it means sugar has been removed; if it contains more than 4.5/100 g, this is an indication that sugar has been added. Popular Science research found in a recent analysis that Dannon Low-fat Strawberry on the Bottom and Brown Cow Whole Milk Strawberry yogurts both contained a whopping 22 grams of sugar for a 5.3-ounce container.
Health tip: Try looking around and experimenting with other, less sugary yogurts. YoQ by Yoplait has a plain flavor option with only 1 gram of sugar per 5.3-ounce container. For a rush of flavor, try Two Good brand, which uses a unique slow-straining process (using reduced-fat milk) that creates reduces the sugar to only 2 grams per 5.3-ounce container – no matter the flavor!
Sometimes your food just needs a little extra kick, but keep in mind that it might cost you in your sugar consumption. Ketchup, barbecue sauce, hoisin sauce, teriyaki sauce, salad dressings and relish all have added sugars that mount up.
Health tip: Where possible substitute the salsa for ketchup, make your own BBQ sauces (which allow you to manage the sweetening content / honey, molasses or brown sugar), and go for oil and vinegar as salad dressing.
A study conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that drinking high levels of sugar-sweetened carbonated beverage was associated with a higher risk of coronary artery disease in adults without a history of cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes.
Health tip: Opt for water first. Read labels and avoid beverages that have little to no nutritional value in addition to the high sugar content. This warning applies to all beverages, including carbonated beverages, fruit juices, energy drinks, coffees, flavored milks, and sports drinks.