12 Foods with Hidden Sugars: #7 Is a Real Eye Opener!
Our body does need sugar in order to create energy, but this can come from carbohydrates which are broken down in to sugars in the body. We do not necessarily need refined sugars that can be detrimental to our health and to our teeth. Bacteria thrives on sugar, and bacteria in the mouth from eating and drinking sugar can lead to tooth decay. Sugars are hard to avoid especially for those with a sweet teeth. But even if you manage to avoid sugary foods like desserts, pastries and soft drinks, you may be unexpectedly ingesting sugar in foods you wouldn't normally think to have sugar in them.
When reading this article, keep in mind that according to the AHA the recommended daily intake of added sugars for men is 37.5 g (9 teaspoons) and for women is 25 g (6 teaspoons). Here is a list of some sneaky foods you may not have known to contain sugar:
Ketchup has become a staple condiment in restaurants and households alike. We seem to find new food items to squeeze it on to all the time. Kids love it, adults love it, but they may think twice about using it so generously. Ketchup contains 4 g of sugar in 1 tablespoon. That is roughly 25%. And let's be honest, when we sit down to a plate of fries, do we only dab 1 tablespoon worth of Ketchup on our plate? More like double or triple that.
2. INSTANT OATMEAL PACKETS
Oats are a great addition to your breakfast and on their own are an incredible source of manganese, vitamin B1, fiber and protein to name a few. They help to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, coronary heart disease and reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Having a diet high in fiber is important and with oats it can be a yummy way of getting that fiber.
If we look at prepared packages of instant oatmeal however, there can be a high amount of added sugar in that package. Make sure you look at the package ingredients before you buy. It might be best to stick to the plain kind and add your own sugar or a natural syrup like maple syrup so that you know how much sweetener is going into your oatmeal.
Like ketchup, sauces are highly sweetened for the same reason, enhance the flavor and keep people coming back for more. These days it is difficult to find a pasta sauce at the supermarket that doesn't have sugar in it. Yes it does add flavor, but if you're wanting to avoid sugar is it really necessary?
4. DRIED FRUIT
You may be asking yourself, why would dried fruit even need added sugar? Isn't it already sweet enough? Dried fruit is already quite sweet, but it's true that some companies are adding sugar to dried fruit and we need to start looking at ingredients on the packaging to avoid this unnecessary use of sugar. My guess is that the fruit that was dried ripened with a tart taste rather than that fully ripened sweet taste you would expect. It ends up being more suitable in the candy aisle than the fruit aisle.
5. WHITE WINE
According to the USDA, a 5 oz glass of white wine contains 1.4g of sugar. The drier wines contain less sugar. 1.4g of sugar in a small glass of wine can really add to the recommended daily amount suggested by the AHA. Dessert wines have even more so when trying to avoid sugar, go dry and go red.
6. CEREALS THAT DON'T APPEAR TO BE SWEETENED AT FIRST GLANCE
Some cereals like cheerios and rice krispies do not appear to be sweetened like corn pops for example. Sugar is the third ingredient in cheerios and contains 1 gram of sugar per 1 cup serving. Sugar happens to be the 2nd ingredient in rice krispies. This is a good example of how something can contain added sugars and yet not noticeably taste sweet.
7. IODIZED TABLE SALT
Yes, iodized salt can contain sugar. I did not believe this when I first heard it until I grabbed my box of salt and scanned over the ingredients. It can be labelled as dextrose. Dextrose is sugar. It is added to salt in order to prevent potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost. Luckily, it is not added in significant amounts but I still go for the pure salt.
Even if you purchase plain yogurt, you are surprisingly not avoiding sugar. Sugar naturally occurs in yogurt. It of course depends on the kind of yogurt you buy: Low fat tends to be higher in sugar. Regular yogurt can contain between 12 and 15 grams of natural sugar. Greek yogurt comes out on top at around 6 grams. The nutrition label will have this information for you. The naturally occuring sugars are not normally a concern but this is helpful information if your overall goal is avoiding sugar of any kind.
Bread is something we typically use for our kids lunches nearly everyday. One large slice of white bread contains 1.5 g of sugar, so double that for 1 whole sandwich. A large slice of multigrain contains even more. Opt for regular brown bread or rye bread.
10. LOW FAT FOODS
Low fat does not equal low sugar. In fact low fat foods often contain more sugar to make up for lost taste and texture, even the savoury ones. Lets take a look at a Starbucks classic blueberry muffin from this UK study for example. The lower fat version of the blueberry muffin contained 1.5 teaspoons more sugar than the classic. The study found that on average, low fat foods contained 20% more sugar than their full fat counterparts.
Not only salt is used to enhance the flavor of soups, but sugar as well. If you buy canned soup, a portion of that purchase is going to sugar. A 1/2 cup serving of Campbells tomato soup condensed has 12 grams of sugar, the same amount of sugar as 2 donuts! Try experimenting with making your own soup so you know exactly what's going into it.
12. ANYTHING LABELED AS:
- Corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup
- Dextrose or crystal dextrose
- Evaporated cane juice or fruit juice
- Carob syrup
- Brown sugar
- Raw sugar
- Dextrin and maltodextrin
- Rice syrup
- Evaporated corn sweetener
- Confectioner’s powdered sugar
- Coconut palm sugar
- Black strap molasses
- Agave nectar
- Other fruit nectars (for example, pear nectar)
I always try to purchase products that are unsweetened. If it really does need some flavor enhancement, then I can add my own sugar in the form of a natural syrup, honey or organic sugar so that I can add very little; just enough to satisfy my palette without overdoing it or none at all.
As you can see, we are still eating and drinking sugary products whether we are aware or not. No matter how much sugar you intake, it is still important to save those pearly whites by taking good care of them. And don't forget that all-important dental checkup!
If you've spotted any foods with hidden sugar, let us know in the comment section!
Aurora is the lead editor here at pearlywhytes.com. She is one of those people who actually likes going to the dentist. She loves to write about anything health related, but oral health is her most passionate topic. Her free time is spent partaking in family activities and experimenting in the kitchen.