Most people know that consuming excess sugar isn’t the best for your body. People also know that it can contribute to putting on extra weight. But the thing is, there are a lot of foods out there that are high in sugar that we may not know about. It is sneaky and likes to hide in a lot of foods, especially foods that come in a box. I wanted to show you 5 foods that you’ll be surprised to learn are high in sugar, ultimately so that you can be aware of what you may be putting in your body.
First things first. Let’s talk about why you shouldn’t consume too much.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU EAT?
The recommendation for the maximum amount of “added sugars” in your diet is 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women, and 9 teaspoons (37 grams) for men. Now, this is not a recommendation like others where they recommend you need to eat at least a certain amount of a nutrient daily. This recommendation is actually kind of like “IF you have to eat sugar, make sure you don’t go over this amount.” But, it is not a recommendation to eat sugar. Believe me, your body doesn’t need it. But if you like to eat foods that have sugar in them (as many of us do), it is smart not to go over the recommendation if you are wanting to lose weight and/or maintain your weight.
Personally, I think this recommendation is high. I would even aim for lower. But I know that is hard for some people. I also think this recommendation is hard for people to internalize and understand because we don’t make a lot of our food these days and don’t see how many teaspoons of sugar are being added to our foods. Therefore, it is hard for us to know exactly how much we are eating. This is why it is best to avoid foods made in packages. You just never know (unless you have access to the food label) how much sugar you are actually eating.
Why is it so bad?
You may be asking, why is it so bad to eat sugar? Well, sugar in the form we eat it today is 100% not a real food. As I was researching for this post, I learned how sugar is made. Here is what I found:
“Cane stalks are shredded and squeezed to extract it natural juice, which is boiled until it thickens and molasses-rich sugar crystals begin to settle. The molasses-rich crystals are sent to a rapidly spinning centrifuge to remove molasses and leave pure naturally white sugar crystals. The sugar crystals are then dried.”1
You guys, this is not something you want to put in your body in this form. This is what we call refined sugar, and the sugar added to your foods is usually in this form. This sugar is completely extracted from its natural form and made to be the absolute sweetest it can be, so that we enjoy eating it. Studies have shown that eating this type of sugar releases dopamine in your brain which is a chemical that makes you feel happiness or pleasure. And the reason you can eat an endless amount, is because your feeling of pleasure overrides your feeling of fullness in your brain. Ever wonder why you can’t get rid of those cravings for sweet treats? This is why. The more you eat them, the more you want them. It can become an addiction like any other substance.
Yeah your taste buds may enjoy it, but the rest of your body sure doesn’t. Eating excess sugar can lead to many diseases. To name a few: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity, and heart disease.
Eat Naturally Occurring Sugar
Sugar in it’s natural form, as carbohydrates, is the way you want to eat it. Click here to learn more about specific foods that are REAL carbohydrates. Simply put, eat your fruits and vegetables. The sugar that occurs in these foods is natural and paired with many other vitamins and minerals to help your body absorb it properly: not send your body into overdrive. Your body will know exactly how to use this “sugar” for energy to help your body perform best.
Now that you know why you don’t want foods high in added sugar, I will tell you the 5 foods you may be surprised about.
1. Whole Wheat Bread
1 slice of whole grain bread has 3-4 grams of added sugar. Usually you eat 2 slices at a time for a sandwich or toast, and that will put you at 8 grams of sugar. That is 33% of your total added sugar for the day that is the recommended maximum.
Now if this is the only form of added sugar in your diet, that’s okay. But more than likely, it is one among many foods you eat in your daily life that has hidden sugar.
The bread I am talking about is the common bread you find at grocery stores. There are some good options out there but most are not good. The bread we eat today is not the bread that Jesus ate 2000 years ago. I personally stay away from bread because I feel best if I do and I recommend others to as well. However, if you are doing the best you can to be healthy but you don’t want to give up bread, I recommend eating sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, because the nutrients are more available to be absorbed in your body. Find out more here. Just remember, be sure to check ingredient lists so that you aren’t getting anything you don’t want in your food.
2. Canned Soup
Soup is one of those foods that people think is healthy just because it falls under the category “soup”. Some people get soup and salad for lunch and think they are making a great choice. Well, once again I am here to tell you that it might not be the best for your body. Especially if the soup comes from a can, you may want to check the ingredient list and nutrition label.
Okay so before I looked up the actual facts, I knew soup was high in sugar, but WOAH is it high. As an example I am going to use Campbell’s Tomato Soup because I feel like that is a pretty common soup people eat. ONE CAN has 30 GRAMS of SUGAR! Guys, that is above the maximum recommended amount for THE WHOLE DAY. The second ingredient listed on the back is High Fructose Corn Syrup. Need I say more?
Canned soup may not be the best option if you are trying to lose weight and cut excess sugar in your diet. Homemade soup would be a great option!
3. Flavored Yogurt
Mmmmmmkay. So Yogurt is one of those foods that can be super great for your body, or completely detrimental to your health journey. Those good ole’ yogurt companies are SUPER great at marketing and telling you that it is great for your health. We have got to be good at being investigators and looking at the nutrition facts label as well as ingredients. Most importantly the ingredients.
Yogurt can be confusing with sugar because on the food label they do not separate the natural sugar that comes in the form of lactose from the milk, and the added sugar they add to the yogurt to make it so tasty you can’t not have it. A lot of yogurt has more sugar than a donut.
Look for a yogurt that is FULL FAT, mostly because it’s better for you to have the fat, but because if it is “low fat”, they are more than likely adding sugar to compensate for the bad taste of low fat. WE DON’T WANT THAT.
Light and fit?
Yogurt also has so many “light and fit” options- this kills me. Artificial sugar does not make you “light and fit”. It is exactly what it says it is. ARTIFICIAL. A.K.A- FAKE. I don’t want to put anything that was made in a lab inside by body if I don’t have to. Our bodies are created and made to process natural fats and protein and sugars- not the fake stuff. You are way safer to go with the real ingredients, even if it’s real sugar.
For an example, Yoplait strawberry yogurt has 26 grams of sugar for one 6 oz container. WOAH. This is over the recommended amount for the whole day and you down that in about 10 seconds for breakfast. To contrast, Stonyfield Farms Plain Whole milk Yogurt has only 5 grams of sugar, and that is all coming from the natural lactose. Not to mention Yoplait has about 13 ingredients and Stonyfield Farms has 1. Yoplait has 5 grams of protein, Stonyfield Farms has 14 grams of protein. You get my point..
If you can tolerate dairy, go with full fat whole milk plain yogurt and add fresh fruit and honey to sweeten it if you so desire.
You may want to think twice before you eat Ketchup with your fries and hamburger. 1 tablespoon of ketchup has 4 grams of sugar. Usually when we have that large fry from Chick-fil-A we eat at least 2-3 tablespoons, I know I sure do! That gets you to about half of the max recommended amount of added sugar for the day… in just a few bites.
They now make great versions of Ketchup that do not have the added sugar. Tessemae’s has a great version with no added sugar! They use dates to sweeten it. There are other brands out there but that is just one example.
Most people add granola on top of yogurt or eat as a snack as a “healthy” option. Granola is another food that is full of sugar and will not really do anything for you other than make you want more. For example, Back to Nature Granola, is a pretty standard granola marketed as healthy. Once again on the package it says “No High Fructose Corn Syrup”. However, there is sugar in other forms added. You will see them when you look at the ingredient list. The specific granola I looked at has 10 grams per ½ cup. Again, almost half of your daily maximum with just one half cup.
EAT REAL FOOD
Sugar and other additives hide in so many processed foods we eat. This is why I recommend a real food approach to your diet: eating whole, unprocessed food that comes from the earth. We should be eating food in the most natural form that we can in this day in age. When we know where our food comes from, we know that there aren’t added ingredients that can contribute to disease.
The goal here isn’t to look for “reduced sugar” foods. The goal here is to eat natural sugar from foods that don’t have a label. Don’t get me wrong by thinking I am saying that sugar is the devil and to avoid it all. I definitely eat added sugars here and there. All I am saying is that we should not be eating products every day of our lives that are high in sugar like these.
That’s all for today! Don’t forget to subscribe to my e-mail list for new post updates every Monday!
- The Sugar Association . (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2017, from https://www.sugar.org/