10 Foods You Didn't Know have ADDED Sugar
I am a super health nut, BUT I do love food, especially dessert and a glass of wine. I am not here to tell you to not eat what you love and sugar is the devil, because that wouldn't be fair and that's just not me. Going out to eat, enjoying an amazing meal, dessert and some drinks is one of my favorite things to do. And let's be real mostly everything that we eat at a restaurant is loaded with sugar (it tastes so good!) cue the dopamine release!
Enjoying life, enjoying company and letting loose are mandatory in my book BUT there are two things that I want to instill in others.. this is to be AWARE and EDUCATED about the food they eat. It is the 80/20 rule. Indulge, enjoy, but be in the know. Be aware of the things you eat on a daily basis and exactly what you are putting into your body. I like to spend the weekends unwinding and exploring different foods (20), while staying active as much as possible, but during the week (80) I do not consume foods with added sugars. (I even take an entire month to cut out sugar to give my body a break and flex my willpower muscles- but that is for another post) Sugar is a sneaky little guy that likes to be added into EVERYTHING. It's addicting and food companies are getting rich because of it. You would be shocked at how many things have added sugar in the ingredients that absolutely do not need it.
I am not here to lecture you, we all deep down know sugar is not good for us. When consumed, it sets off the same part of our brain as drugs. We must be aware so we can control and CHOOSE what we put in our body and not let it control and choose us.
Do me these favors- start to look at the hidden words for sugar- fructose, sucrose, corn syrup...list goes on and on and
READ FOOD LABELS.
Read everything you purchase, read everything you put in your body, if you can't read it put it down and back away. Yes, absolutely read the label of every single thing I buy. This is the start of changing habits that lead a healthier life while still enjoying the finer (and yummier) things with control and choice.
Here are 10 items that most always have added sugars.
1. Dried fruit
We think since this is fruit it is a healthy snack alternative. Most dried fruits are loaded with added sugar. I am always scratching my head and asking myself “why do we need to add MORE sugar to an already sweet snack.” (to lock in our taste buds) Dried fruit is also WAY higher in natural sugars (which can still store as fat) since they are condensed and dried out. Think about what a banana looks like normally, now think about the size of it when it is dried. Huge difference in size AND in sugar content per sq inch especially with the added sugars on top of it.
This surprised me when I started to be a sugar detective. Sugar? In our ketchup? Yup, the companies load these condiments with sugar to make our food taste extra yummy. Some companies are working hard to save us with sugar free ketchups, but they are pricey. Get this, even Simple Truth organic ketchup has sugar..32g per ½ cup!
The first or second ingredients in bread is usually sugar OR dare I say it...high fructose corn syrup. Eeeek! Bread is loaded with refined sugars and of course the wheat gives you that insulin spike but we can thank the food companies for added more sugar on top of that.
4, Pasta sauce
Just crushed up tomatoes right? Think again. An innocent jar of pasta sauce has on average 12 grams to a half cup. We might as well sprinkle sugar on tomatoes and throw them on our pasta.
I see this all the time when people say they have a healthy meal or are on a meal plan and grab that yogurt. Especially the greek yogurts with fruit at the bottom. Turn that pretty little label around and you will see sugar as a main ingredient. Greek yogurts are super high in protein BUT they are very tart so in order for the general public to enjoy it so sugar is mixed into it so will like the taste and buy more.
6. Salad Dressing
This one is the most frustrating because salad dressings are used to make our lettuce and veggies moist and enjoyable so why are loads of sugar snuck into these dressings only to ruin our healthy salads. This is where I splurge and make sure to purchase the dressings with no added sugars. Take a look at the ingredients and go to the safe brands such as Tessemae's or make your own with some oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and spices for a cheaper version.
7. Peanut Butter
Peanuts are a whole ‘nother beast, but if you are one of those people who melt at the thought of peanut butter take a look at the ingredients at those Skippy or Jiff jars. Luckily for me I am not a huge peanut butter taste person (I know shocking) but I have pointed this out to many people who have successfully changed their peanut butter buying habits. Choose the natural one such as Trader Joe’s brand. There will most likely have a layer of oil on top. This is a good sign.
8. Granola Bars
These little snacks have a reputation for being healthy and lordy I have no idea why. It is near impossible to find a granola bar without being loaded up on sugar. If you have any ideas shoot them my way because I find it very hard to recommend any sugar free bars. Even kind bars have loaded sugars. (Lara Bars are a god-send but not really considered a granola bar)
This one makes me laugh because this was a recent frustration. I only shop sugar free and do not purchase anything from the grocery story with added sugars and do not cook/bake with added sugars. I do love bacon (who doesn’t) and despite it’s bad reputation, in moderation, it is not terrible for you and is paleo and tastebud friendly. However bacon, has sugar added to it, almost every brand! You have to really dig or order online to find paleo bacon. They do exist but man you have to work for that sugar free tasty goodness .
Last but not least the “healthy choice” that is most of the time the opposite of healthy. Not the home made ones...these can be jam packed with nutrients if you choose and love of course ;). Smoothie King and Jamba Juice and even some juices have loaded additive sugar..the fruit is soaking in sugar water! Read your labels, ask the store and make sure you know what is going in the smoothie that is being made for you.
Sugar is everywhere and yes it is a lot of work to avoid, but it you become aware of where it is sneaking around and start to form the habit of reading labels you will find it easy to maneuver around and those small changes will go a long way in your weight loss and health journey. Baby steps!