Sugar can be one sneaky ingredient. It is a simple carbohydrate that naturally occurs in much of the food we eat like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Where it becomes a master of disguise, though, is when sugar is processed and added to your foods in the form of glucose, dextrose, corn syrups, and more.
What are added sugars?
Added sugars are any sweeteners or sugars that are added to food and beverages during the time of processing. This means that sugar that isn’t naturally in food or beverages (dairy, vegetables, fruit) is added when the products are made.
Added sugars hide under the aliases of:
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Maple syrup
- Evaporated cane juice
- Cane sugar
- Malt sugar
- Invert sugar
- Raw sugar
- Corn syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
There are so many reasons to look into reducing your sugar intake. It helps with weight loss, keeps your heart healthy, reduces inflammation, and lowers your risk of diabetes.
If you don’t know where sugar is hiding though, it can be hard to keep the levels low. Now that you know what they are hiding as, let’s take a look at where they are hiding: in some of your favorite foods!
Tomatoes have naturally occurring sugars. But most ketchup has high fructose corn syrup making each serving 4 grams of sugar instead of 1.
Yogurt contains lactose which has natural sugar in it. If you have yogurt with added fruit, it usually adds sugar and flavoring and can have you consuming over 20 grams of sugar.
Checking the ingredients on spaghetti sauce is a must. There are many good ones out there without a ton of added sugars, but some will put 7 grams of sugar in each serving! Better yet, try making your own!
Vanilla and chocolate dairy-free kinds of milk are delicious, but unless you buy a “sugar-free” variety, you’re consuming upwards of 9 grams of sugar per serving.
Eating dried fruit seems like a healthy option, but you’re eating something that likely has added sugars and possibly preservatives and sulfites. Dried fruit often has 12 grams of added sugars, which brings it to a whopping 30 grams of sugar overall for a half-cup serving. You’re better off going fresh!
Now that you’ve got a good base knowledge of sugars, you can shop smarter and healthier!