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The Scary Hiding Places of Sugar

Have you ever seen a Nutella commercial? In the one I saw, a mom was talking about how hard it was to make breakfast in the morning with three kids running around. Thank goodness for Nutella, then! “Perfect on multi-grain toast,” she said, its “simple, quality ingredients like hazelnuts, skim milk, and a hint of cocoa” made her kids feel “ready to tackle the day!” How bad could it be, right? 

This is just one of many examples of the clever marketing tactics the food industry uses. In reality, many “healthy” items are actually sabotaging your weight loss efforts due to the insane amount of sugar that has been added. The result? Sugar spikes and crashes, more cravings, and fat storage or weight gain. 

Next time you go for that “healthy” item, you might want to think again… 

“Healthy” Foods Ridiculously High in Sugar                                                   

  1. Yogurt 

  • One little carton of Dannon’s fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt has 24g of sugar, or about six teaspoons! To put that into perspective, you’d get less sugar eating two Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups! And don’t forget that six teaspoons of added sugar is the recommended daily amount for women (and nine teaspoons for men) according to the American Heart Association, meaning you’ve reached your capacity after one little snack!

    • HEALTHY SWAP: Stick to natural, plain yogurt and add a bit of honey, fruit, or high-quality maple syrup for flavour. Just watch the portions.

2. Salad dressing

  • Fat-free salad dressings especially are packed with added sugar. Kraft’s Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette, for example, has 5g of sugar in 2 tablespoons. It’s low in calories — 50 calories per serving — but almost fifty percent of those calories come from sugar! Stay away! 

    • HEALTHY SWAP: Whip up your own salad dressing at home and reduce the amount of oil included. Healthy fats are good for us, but oftentimes you can use way less than the recipe calls for for the same great taste!

3. Store-bought granola or granola bars

  • These are loaded with sugar despite being a go-to snack for kids and adults alike. One half-cup serving of Nature Valley’s cranberry almond granola packs 14g of sugar — only 5g less than an entire Hershey’s milk chocolate & almond bar. 

    • HEALTHY SWAP: Stick to the more natural granola varieties that aren’t flavoured — that’s usually where the sugar comes from. Or make your own!

4. Protein & Energy Bars 

  • Once upon a time, I thought store-bought protein bars made a great snack. 20g of protein, wow! But one lemon vanilla protein bar by Luna has 15g of sugar, which is more than the amount of protein it packs by the way. That’s equal to half a pack of Rolo’s chocolates! 

  • One chocolate chip Cliff energy bar has 23g of sugar and only 9g of protein. That’s nearly the same amount of sugar in one Skor bar and not much protein.

5. Fruit juice and fruit cups

  • Apple juice might seem like a great option, right? Wrong. One cup of Tropicana apple juice has 27g of sugar, equal to two Twix chocolate sticks! While an apple itself naturally has sugar too, at least it has fibre to slow its absorption and maintain blood sugar levels. The amount of fibre in store-bought juices? Zero. 

  • One Dole tropical fruit cup has just 60 calories, but 14g of sugar. In other words, 56 of those 60 calories come from sugar!!!!! (And again, there’s only 1g of fibre.)

6. Cereals 

  • Did you know that Raisin Bran cereal has more sugar than Lucky Charms? In fact, it has two times as much sugar as Count Chocula. 

    • HEALTHY SWAP: Thankfully, there are some great low-sugar options on the shelves now like Nature’s Path cereal in the flavour “Heritage Flakes” with only 4g of sugar and tons of fibre. It’s my favourite! 

7. Savoury foods 

  • When we think sugar, we think sweet. But things like ketchup, tomato sauce, and other savoury-tasting items are actually full of sugar. One tablespoon of Heinz ketchup, for example, has one teaspoon of sugar. And think of how much ketchup we normally use… definitely more than a tablespoon! Keep an eye on the sugar content in things that don’t taste sweet. You’d be surprised! 

8. Toppings and spreads

  • Back to the Nutella commercial: With 21g of sugar per two tablespoons, it’s hardly surprising that sugar is the number one item on its ingredient list. No wonder those kids feel so energized in the morning! Try talking to them again at 12pm… 

  • One tablespoon of Greeve’s strawberry-rhubarb jam has 13g of sugar. 

The Bottom Line 

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Some of the healthiest-looking items at the grocery store like Raisin Bran cereal and fruit cups actually pack more sugar than some of your favourite candy bars! And I don’t know about you, but if I’m gonna have that much sugar I’d rather munch on some Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.

You Tell Me! 

Is there something in your pantry that you’re surprised has so much sugar? Share in the comments below!  


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