7 Foods With Unexpectedly High Sugar Content

7 Foods With Unexpectedly High Sugar Content

You probably already know how to nix that extra sugar in your diet, whether you eliminate the sugar in your coffee, tea or even cereal. But sugar bombs can be found in more than just candy, soda, and desserts. What you may not know is that plenty of healthy foods hide sugars. In order to cut back on sugar to meet recommended guidelines, start reading labels carefully. Check out some common foods that seem healthy but actually hide high levels of sugar.

1. Fresh and dried fruit

Fruit is a healthy snack because it packs a lot of nutrients along with filling fiber and water content. But unlike vegetables, the reason that fruit has that deliciously sweet taste is naturally occurring sugar. As a rule, the sweeter and riper the fruit, the more sugar it contains. Avoid eating fruits if you need to watch your sugar levels. While dried fruit can seem like a good substitute for chewing candy, everything from raisins to apricots contains even higher levels of sugar than their whole fruit counterparts.

2. Beverages

Soda gets a bad rap for being a sugar-filled beverage. But it's not the only sugar bomb on the shelf. Fruit juices, even the 100% natural ones, contain high levels of sugar. So do many flavored waters and sports drinks, so be sure to read the labels before you indulge. A good alternative to sugary drinks is plain water, which you can infuse yourself with a refreshing and sugar-free cucumber.

3. Dairy and yogurt

Dairy naturally contains sugar. Some dairy products have more than others, and some products have added sugar, like cottage choose with added fruit and flavored yogurts. Skip the fruity flavors and enjoy your dairy and yogurt plain. Greek yogurt has higher levels of protein and lower levels of sugar, making it a good choice.

4. Sauces and dressings

Bottle sauces like marinara sauce, barbecue sauce, and ketchup, as well as bottled salad dressing, tend to have added sugar to make them more palatable. Read the labels carefully to ensure that you're not getting excess sugar as you enjoy an otherwise healthy salad. Making your sauces and dressings from scratch can cut down on the added sugar.

5. Energy and granola bars

The front of energy-bar and granola-bar labels frequently focus on the amount of protein and healthy ingredients that they contain. But if you flip the package around, the back label will reveal that many bars are high in sugar, making them a poor choice for a snack.

6. "Fat-free" products

To compensate for the lack of flavor from taking out the fat, fat-free products often have higher levels of sugar than their full-fat counterparts.

7. Frozen and canned meals

Frozen meals, from breakfast to pizza to anything sweet and sour, tend to have high levels of sugar. Canned soups also often contain high levels of sugar, which acts as a preservative.

Don't let misleading labels on the front of the box that showcase the product's healthy benefits fool you. Turn the package around so that you can see how much sugar the item contains. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that lists sugar in the first three ingredients.