Sugar is a diet destroyer, but is hidden is so many seemingly healthy foods that it can be difficult to avoid. If you’re trying to go sugar-free, you’ll want to be aware of the sneaky ways sugar makes it into your diet. In this post, I’ll share five surprising foods that contain hidden sugar.
5 Surprising Foods With Hidden Sugar – At-A-Glance
- To find out if a food is healthy, you need to turn the product over and read the ingredient list. The first ingredient listed is the one that is most prominent in the food.
- Learn how to spot alternative names for sugar. Look for words like syrup, juice concentrate, and names that end in the suffix -ose.
- If sugar is one of the first three ingredients listed in a food, I recommend avoiding it.
5 Surprising Foods with Hidden Sugar [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Five surprising foods that have a lot of sugar in them!
- Alternative names for sugar.
- The best way to fight hidden sugar in foods.
#1: Salad Dressings
Commercial salad dressings are notorious for containing sugar. You don’t have to be much of a detective to find it because it is often high up on the ingredient list.
For instance, the first ingredient in this dressing is high fructose corn syrup, which is one of the many alternative names for sugar. The first ingredient listed is the one that is most prominent in the food, so this “healthy” salad dressing is mostly sugar.
Hidden Sugar Challenges
This reveals two challenges for dieters right off the bat.
First, you can’t assume a food is healthy just because the label makes it look that way. You need to turn the product over and read the ingredient list.
Second, you need to know the alternative names for sugar, which is not easy because there are so many of them.
There are a few simple giveaways that tell you the food contains hidden sugar. Look for words like syrup, juice concentrate, and names that end in the suffix -ose like dextrose, fructose, and sucrose.
#2: “Healthy” Snacks
Let’s look at “healthy” snacks. Packaging can make food look healthy when it is not.
The packaging for these apple chips gives them a nice wholesome appearance. There are great keywords on the label, like “gluten-free” and “made from fresh apples”.
Apples are the top ingredient, but that is followed by unhealthy oil and three sugars, which wipes out the health value of the apples.
Pretzels are also a snack that some consider to be a good choice. In fact, a small packet was handed to us on a plane as an alternative to the cookie snack. However, the package contains flour, salt, oil, and two added sugars, so there was no redeeming quality in the bag of pretzels.
#3: Peanut Butter
On that same trip, we picked up this packet of peanut butter from the hotel breakfast bar.
Peanuts have a wholesome reputation, but when they are processed into commercial brands, they rarely make it to the shelf without sugar being added.
This tiny package lists sugar as the second most prominent ingredient. Peanut butter on a slice of toast or a bagel is a very-quick digesting breakfast that would spike your blood sugar and leave you feeling hungry in a very short time.
Condiments are something that you should always check for hidden sugar.
This relish contains high fructose corn syrup. You’ll want to check the ingredient list before putting the item in your shopping cart.
#5: Processed Snack Meats
If you’re following a low-carb/high-fat diet, you might reach for a beef stick hoping that you’re grabbing a quick low-carb snack.
You’ll want to take a moment to read the label before making the purchase. A Slim Jim, for instance, contains sugar and has 9 grams of carbs.
Bottom Line on Hidden Sugar
Sugar is seemingly everywhere. While it might feel like one more thing you have to deal with on your diet, there are ways you can avoid or limit sugar in your life.
The best way is to focus on eating whole foods that only contain one ingredient, like meat, fish, eggs, and fresh or frozen vegetables.
If there is more than one ingredient found in the food, make sure that sugar or one of its aliases is not one of the top three ingredients. The farther down sugar is located on the ingredient list, the less you will be getting per serving.
This is one of the simple principles that I teach in my free 0123 Strategy, which is a great way to quickly and easily get your diet on track. Thanks so much for reading! Have a great week!
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.