Headline after headline tells us that too much sugar is bad for your health. And when it comes to excessive sugar consumption, it is usually the added sugar that is to blame. After all, natural sugars found in whole, unprocessed foods, such as fructose from fruit or lactose from dairy products, provide the body with the energy it needs in adequate amounts, and they are often associated with nutrients such as fiber or protein. Added sugar, on the other hand, is digested quickly and causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly, creating a cascade of metabolically damaging reactions. High intake of added sugar can lead to fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and systemic inflammation. They are often associated with overweight and obesity. »
Added sugar should not contribute more than 10% of daily calories, research shows that 3 out of 4 people eat more than that.
If you don’t add sugar to your foods, you might think you have nothing to worry about, but several foods that don’t fall into the dessert category can be surprisingly high in added sugar. Processed foods, many of which aren’t even sweet, account for 90% of all added sugar people consume, according to a 2016 study published in the BMJ Journal.
1 flavored yogurt
Shouldn’t yogurt be on the right list? Well, it does, but it depends on the type of yogurt you buy. For example, fruit-based varieties often have more added sugar than fruit. Read the ingredients. If sugar is among the first three ingredients, leave the item on the shelf. And know that sugar can go by more than 60 names, including cane juice and corn syrup, on ingredient lists. Or choose plain yogurt to start and add your own ingredients. Cinnamon, fresh fruit, pureed berries, unsweetened applesauce, roasted and unsalted nuts and seeds are all great additions to add flavor without added sugar.
2 cans of soup
You’ve heard that canned soups are high in sodium. But did you know that it can also be filled with this sweet product? Tomato-based soups are generally the highest in sugar. Some condensed soups contain up to 15 grams (g) of sugar per serving. 1.5 cups. Sugar reduces the acidity of tomatoes to balance the flavor, so check soup labels carefully before buying, especially when it comes to tomato-based varieties.
3 Dressing for salad
Dressing is one of the main ways in which a seemingly healthy salad can instantly go from a good choice to a dietary disaster. But it’s not just because of the fats that salad dressing usually contains. Some salad dressings contain up to 6 g of sugar per serving. portion. And it turns out that the low-fat, fat-free versions tend to be the highest in added sugar. When manufacturers remove fat from a product, they often add more sugar to replace flavor.
Your best option? Try using hummus, tzatziki, citrus juice, vinegar and even pureed berries to dress your salads in an easy and healthy way.
4 Tomato sauce
Canned tomato sauces are convenient but can be sneaky sources of sugar, often added to tone down the sour taste of tomatoes and keep canned sauces fresher longer. Again, these are not the natural sugars, but glucose syrup and other added sugars. And some pot sauces contain up to 4 g in a half cup. If you’re having trouble finding low-sugar or no-sugar sauces, try a can of regular diced tomatoes instead. Just drain the juice, puree them and add your own spices for a quick sugar-free sauce. You may end up making a sauce that you love more than anything you can find on the shelves.
5 fruit juices
Fruit juices are certainly not all created equal. Some varieties of fruit juice, for example, contain only pure orange juice. Other drinks labeled as fruit juice are loaded with added sugar and other ingredients. Check product labels and look for juices that list only fruit juice in the ingredient list or say “100% juice” or “no added sugar” somewhere on the label. Or better yet, choose the whole fruit instead. Bonus: Research has shown that choosing whole fruits like apples and grapes over their juice equivalents can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
6 cereal and snack bars
Did you eat a candy bar for breakfast? Cereal bars and snacks often seem much healthier than they actually are. Some brands contain up to 11g of sugar per bar and you may find white flour in the ingredient list. Avoid bars with sugar in the first three ingredients. There are some that contain very little, if any, added sugar. You can also consider snacking on a handful of whole nuts and whole or unsweetened dried fruit instead. (We will return to dried fruits later).
7 Dried fruits
Dried fruits tend to look much healthier than they are. A single handful of dried cranberries, for example, can contain up to 27g of added sugar, in addition to the sugars naturally found in the fruit. Sugar levels tend to be higher in dried fruits, which are naturally acidic. Look for options that list only fruit as an ingredient and no added sugar. These products usually carry the statement “no added sugar” on the front.