It’s definitely not news that sugar is bad for you. But even if you’re cutting back on your favorite sweet snacks like candy bars, gummy bears or cookies, you’re likely getting in more sugar than needed through other surprising sources.
As Health explains in this video, many “healthy” foods can be packed full of sugar. The most surprising? Whole grain bread, which is commonly touted as being heart-healthy, but can sometimes be loaded with this sneaky substance. When buying bread, Woman’s Day says that the first ingredient should always be whole wheat flour. And while some sugar is necessary to activate the yeast, according to the magazine, some brands use an excessive amount or include other sweeteners.
Salad is obviously healthy, but that dressing you’re dousing it in probably isn’t. Many store-bought dressings have sugar added to make them, and your salad, yummier. Lower-fat versions are often a bigger culprit than full-fat varieties. Of course, making your own salad dressing at home is optimal, and a heart-healthy one with olive oil and vinegar can be whipped up in minutes. To get even more nutrients, add blended berries for a natural sweetener.
Protein-packed Greek yogurt is a healthy, filling snack, but those fruity flavored yogurts are not. Purchase plain yogurt and add your own toppings like fruit, nuts, dark chocolate or unsweetened coconut flakes.
Tomato sauces are filled with lycopene, but many pasta sauces and ketchup have added sugar. Though, that doesn’t mean you should stop eating these! Lycopene may lower your risk of cancer and heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. As with the other suggestions, making your own spaghetti sauce with plain crushed tomatoes is a smarter, healthier and probably tastier alternative.
Before you load up on canned or frozen fruit at the grocery store, be sure to check the labels. Even though they’re naturally sweet, many often have added sugars to them. Dried fruit is another source of hidden extra sugar, so always make sure to check the ingredients list.
Sure, peanut butter is filled with protein, and nuts are a go-to healthy snack, but nut butters aren’t all created equal. Some have loads of added sugar, honey or other sweeteners to please a variety of taste buds. Only purchase those that have nuts and salt. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, it’s easy to make your own at home.
The main thing to remember is that you’ll always need to check the label for sugar before buying any item, especially processed foods. And since it’s hard to avoid all added sugar, it’s best to consume 37.5 grams (if you’re a man) or 25 grams for females, reports Authority Nutrition.