We all know that eating sugary foods is bad for you (they make your teeth rot and cause you to gain weight), but did you know that many foods that do not taste sweet have sugar in them? This is especially true when you are eating on a diet — what seems like “good for you” food may be trying to sabotage your efforts. If you have these sneaky foods, your diabetes management is not going well. The following ten sneaky foods with hidden sugars and other surprising ingredients can wreak havoc on a dieter.
Top 10 Foods with Hidden Sugars
Home-cooked meals are usually healthier than take-out or processed foods, but even they can be sneaky when it comes to sugar. Many healthy foods may contain hidden sugars and wreak havoc on your health.
Here are ten foods you might not realize have added sugar in them:
Granola is a healthy snack, right? Not so fast, and Granola is often sugar-coated and contains more sugar than you may expect.
Check the labels so that your diabetes management will not be ruined.
The problem is not with the oats themselves: Oats are high in fiber and protein; they are also rich in B vitamins, which help convert food into fuel. The problem is that many granolas are loaded with added sugars — and even some fruit juices and some varieties have as much as seventeen grams of sugar per cup.
If you are going to eat granola, make sure it is low sugar (or at least lower sugar) to still enjoy the benefits without blowing your carb count for the day.
- Salad dressing
Salad dressing, exceptionally creamy sauces such as ranch or blue cheese, can be loaded with sugar. Just one tablespoon has about forty calories and five grams of sugar.
Many people think they are doing a favor by choosing low-fat salad dressings, but these are often just as sugary as their full-fat counterparts that affect your Diabetes Management.
Look for salad dressings with no added sugars, or choose a vinaigrette made with vinegar or lemon juice and some olive oil.
Yogurt is a staple of most diets and healthy eating plans. But if you are watching your sugar intake, you may be surprised to learn that some yogurts contain more added sugar than a Twinkie.
Yogurt has become so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget that it is technically a dairy product. And like many dairy products, the main ingredients are milk and sugar. The problem is that many brands add extra sweeteners to improve flavor and texture, making them less than healthy choices.
Many yogurts also contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a form of sugar derived from corn and often used as a cheap sweetener in processed foods like cereal, soda, baked goods, and other packaged goods awful for diabetic management.
The good news is that most yogurt brands now offer low-sugar options that have less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.
- Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is often considered a healthy food, but it is not always as healthy as it seems. Peanut butter can contain added sugars, which are sugars that are not naturally present in the ingredients.
According to the USDA’s guidelines, adults can consume no more than 6gm of sugar per day. One tablespoon of peanut butter contains two grams of sugar — that means that if you eat two tablespoons of peanut butter per day (which is extremely easy to do), you will be eating up to four grams of added sugar per day.
To avoid consuming too much added sugar, check the nutrition facts label on your peanut butter jar and look for brands with no more than two grams of sugar per ounce.
- Bottled Tea
Bottled tea is one of the most common beverages in the world. It is estimated that Americans consume more than eight hundred million gallons of bottled tea each year, which ruins the diabetes management of every third diabetic patient in the US.
Most people assume that bottled tea is a healthy alternative to soda. But most commercial bottled teas are packed with sugar and calories, sometimes more than a can of soda! Drink!
Here are some popular brands that contain more than twenty grams of added sugar per serving:
- Snapple Peach Iced Tea (26 grams)
- Snapple Green Tea with Lemonade (23 grams)
- Arizona Diet Green Tea (20 grams)
- Dried Fruit
Many people think of dried fruit as a healthy snack, but that is not always the case. Dried fruits are high in sugar and calories, and even small servings can be loaded with added sugar. A one-ounce serving of raisins contains twenty-three grams of sugar — more than twice the amount you should have in an entire day. And while some dried fruits, such as unsweetened cranberries and dates, are naturally low in sugar, others, such as apricots, contain added sweeteners to make them taste better.
- Dairy-Free Milk
Many people are lactose intolerant, so it is not surprising that milk alternatives are becoming more popular. Unfortunately, many of these alternative kinds of milk have added sugars and other additives. For example, unsweetened almond milk contains about thirty calories per cup, while vanilla almond milk has fifty-two grams of sugar (about fifteen teaspoons) per cup.
If you want to replace cow’s milk with a plant-based alternative, try coconut milk or soy milk. They are both lower in calories than dairy-free milk made from nuts. And because they are less processed, they also contain more nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.
- Processed Foods
Processed foods are often loaded with sugar and other additives that are not good for your health. For instance, granola bars often contain added sugars — and they are not even that healthy! Check nutrition facts labels on processed foods carefully and stick to those with no added sugar (or at least less than 5 grams per serving).
- Fruit Juices
You might think that fruit juices are a healthy way to get vitamins into your diet — but they are not as good as the whole fruit itself. Drinking fruit juice can cause weight gain by spiking blood sugar levels after meals and making you hungrier later. In addition, most fruit juices have added sugars and calories.
- Instant Oatmeal
Instant oatmeal is a great breakfast option, but it can be high in added sugar. The main ingredient in instant oatmeal is oats, naturally low in sugar. But most brands add sugar to the mix to enhance the flavor.
If you are trying to cut back on added sugars, look for brands that have less than 5 grams of sugar per serving on the nutrition label. And if you are looking for even more significant savings, try these tips:
- Buy store-brand instant oatmeal instead of national brands. You may be surprised at how much cheaper they are!
- Look for instant oatmeal made from 100% whole grain oats (check the ingredients list). This means all ingredients are whole grains, not just some of them.
We are all guilty of eating, drinking, and purchasing products that may contain hidden sugars. The best way to avoid this predicament is to read the labels carefully and become familiar with what ingredients may be harmful. Avoiding these ten foods will be a good start in making your diet a little healthier.