Today, added sugar is everywhere in our diets. If you regularly examine nutrition labels on your foods, you know that many of the foods we eat every day have a surprising amount of sugar. Here are 5 types of foods and drinks that are unexpectedly high in sugar.
#1: Fruit juices
Fruit juices are a big part of the typical American breakfast and at face value they seem very healthy. People know that fruit is healthy, so they assume that fruit juice is too. Unfortunately, fruit juices have much more sugar than a piece of fruit alone, and they lack the fiber that you get from the skin and pulp of fruits. The result is that fruit juices don’t provide the same benefits of whole fruit and are much more calorically dense.
#2: Sports drinks
When it comes to Gatorade and other sports drinks, people think that they are healthy because they are associated with sports and athletes. Sports drinks can be great for rehydrating and replenishing electrolytes after intense exercise. Unfortunately, sports drinks also contain a significant amount of sugar and they are not necessary for most people who drink them. Researchers believe that sugary sports drinks are a major contributor to the childhood obesity epidemic.
#3: Some sauces and condiments
Because they don’t usually taste sweet, many people don’t think of sauces and condiments as large sources of sugar. However, many popular sauces and condiments are actually loaded with sugar. The worst offenders are spaghetti sauce, ketchup, and barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce is especially unhealthy, as up to a third of the sauce’s weight may come from added sugar. Next time you prepare for a cookout, consider studying the nutrition labels to find some lower sugar sauce options.
#4: Cereals and cereal bars
Cereals are one of the most popular breakfast foods in the country. With labels that say “low-fat” and “whole grains,” many people assume that cereals are healthy. However, cereals (like many processed grains) tend to include large amounts of added sugar. Because cereal is often marketed to children, they also likely play a large role in the child obesity epidemic. Meanwhile, cereal bars and granola bars are often associated with hiking, being in the outdoors, and leading an active life. That may be why over 70% of Americans believe that granola bars are healthy snacks. On the other hand, less than one third of nutritionists agree.
#5: Premade smoothies
The final item on this list may be the most deceptive. Smoothies are a go-to “healthy food.” Smoothie King and other popular smoothie places have built their brands around healthy living. In reality, the vast majority of smoothie places add a lot of sugar to their smoothies. For example, the smallest size (20 ounce) of the Hulk Strawberry smoothie at Smoothie King contains an unbelievable 127 grams of sugar! When it comes to drinking smoothies, you are better off asking for them to be made without added sugar. Or even better, making your own low-sugar smoothies!