A few days back, we have learned all the reasons why sugar is bad for you. For starters, it leads to diabetes, weight gain, depression, and even sadness. Sounds terrible, right? Maybe you’ve quit drinking sugary drinks, eating junk food, but that is not enough. There are still hidden sources of sugar in some foods you wouldn’t expect. We’ve exposed some of the worst culprits below and what healthy alternatives you can enjoy instead.
I absolutely love milk. I could drink a glass with every meal, but once I learned it has an average of 12 grams of sugar per serving, I had to put the carton down. You still need the calcium, so get it from dark, leafy greens like spinach, and broccoli. You can still enjoy milk, but limit it to one cup per day.
2. Flavored Yogurt
Have you jumped on the Greek yogurt bandwagon yet? It’s packed with protein to keep you feeling full for longer, and is loaded with calcium too. But, flavored versions can contain over 20 grams of sugar per serving. Yikes! Those flavored with honey are the worst offenders. Instead, pick up unflavored versions (Fage is my personal fave!) and sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top for extra taste. You’ll have a treat that’s actually healthy and just a third of the amount of sugar found in the flavored varieties.
Must Read: Why Kefir is Better than Yogurt?
3. Energy Bars
Granola or snack bars packed with protein make an easy on-the-go snack. But, many of the popular versions have up to 25 grams of sugar per bar. Ugh. Hopefully, that convinces you to start reading labels before snatching up the seemingly “healthy” snack bars off the shelf. If you need a protein fix while on the run, snack on a hard-boiled egg.
When it comes to snack bars, I personally treat them like candy bars. Most of them have chocolate flavors so I get my sweet tooth fix without feeling as guilty as devouring a Twix, but I know they’re still only okay in moderation, and not a daily snack.
4. Red Apples
Red apples are a great source of fiber, but unfortunately, they too contain up to 20 grams of sugar per apple. Let’s be realistic though, red apples won’t directly lead to weight gain, but the sugar rush from just one might trigger a craving for more and more sugar later.
So, if you want to maintain a more balanced sugar intake (and still get your tasty apple fix), stick to the smaller green version, the Granny Smith. They have less sugar and about the same amount of fiber.
Also See: 10 Healthy Foods That Are NOT Healthy
5. Fat-Free Foods
Beware any products labeled “fat-free” or “low-fat.” More than likely it’s loaded with sugar. An easy way to make things taste better without the fat is by loading in the bad stuff. Did you know Sour Patch Kids are actually labeled as a “Fat-Free” food? Think about how much sugar is in those anytime you see that label and you’ll know to just walk away.
The difference between the packaged bread most of us are picking up at the store and the bread you can purchase at the local bakery (or make yourself) is unsettling. While the kind from the bakery has just a pinch of sugar in an entire loaf in order to activate the yeast, most store-bought brands have up to three grams of sugar per slice.
Start visiting your local bakery or even make your own bread at home. The process is really simple and in addition to cutting out loads of sugar, you’ll be saving cash, too!
7. Salad Dressings
It varies from dressing to dressing, but many bottled vinaigrettes, like balsamic and raspberry, plus Italian dressing, contain up to 10 grams of sugar. Make your own using olive oil, a little lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning.
8. BBQ Sauce
Even though it’s delicious, there aren’t many redeemable qualities about BBQ sauce. It contains up to nine grams per ounce and it’s loaded with sodium. There are low-sugar BBQ sauce options out there, but you might just want to make the switch to mustard for flavor at the next barbecue party you attend.
What surprising sugar-loaded foods have you discovered in your diet? I’m definitely guilty of using vinaigrettes and will probably start making my own dressings. What changes will you make in your diet?