Wednesday, November 16, 2011

hidden truths about sugar

                                                           The Facts:
When it comes to sugar it may be hard to hide from it, but you can definitely run!

One of the sneakiest truths about processed, refined sugar is that it can be found in even the least suspecting foods. 

We all know that foods like cookies, cakes, and muffins are laden with sugar, but have you considered BBQ sauce or Pasta?

The trick is to never assume that just because it's a non-sugary item that it doesn't contain sugar.  ALWAYS check Nutrition labels so you know exactly what you're eating.

I've mentioned before that it's best to keep your sugar intake as low as possible. If you are eating sugar regularly, keeping it below 15 grams of sugar is best. F.Y.I- 4 grams of sugar = one tsp of granulated sugar.

Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot, but many times when we're counting our sugar intake we only consider the sweet foods like ice cream and donuts. Hidden sugars are one of the easiest ways to miscount how much sugar you're actually eating. Companies tend to market towards the "appearance" of healthy, when in reality they are knowlingly misleading consumers. Putting good food into your body takes effort!

Consider these foods that commonly contain hidden sugars..Notice how sometimes the companies brand the label as "healthy"...outsmart them!


Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch aren't the only cereals with a high sugar count. These cereals generally stay between the 10-12 range when it comes to sugar. These are calculated in Grams.

The Bad:
Special K w/ Fruit &Yogurt- 3/4 cup = 11 
Kelloggs Smart Start Toasted Oats- 1-1/4 cups = 17 
Post Raisin Bran- 1 cup = 19
Quaker Oatmeal Squares- 1 cup = 13 

If you love cereal (like I do) look for options with 7 grams of sugar or less..

The Good:
Special K Cinnamon Pecan- 3/4 cup = 7
Honey Bunches of Oats- 3/4 cup = 6
Crispix- 1 cup = 3
Multi-Grain Cheerios- 1 cup = 6
Kix- 1-1/4 cups = 3

Sauces and Condiments:

Ketchup has an unusually high sugar count and some BBQ sauces can contain as much as 44 grams of sugar per serving! Fortunately there are healthy options out there so make sure you look for them.  Compare products so you don't end up with unwanted sugars.

The Bad:
Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Sauce- 2 T. = 15
Newman's Own Tomato and Basil Spaghetti Sauce- 1/2 cup = 12
Kraft Honey Dijon Salad Dressing- 2 T. = 5
Marzetti French Dressing- 2 T. = 10

The Good:
Heinz Ketchup Reduced Sugar- 1 tbsp = 4
Wishbone Salad Spritzers Italian Dressing- 10 sprays = 1
Mt. Olive Bread & Butter Pickles- 1 oz = 0
Hunt's Spaghetti Sauce- 1/2 cup = 4
Guy's Award Winning BBQ Sauce- 2 T. = 0

Breakfast and Snack Bars:

If you're on the go, forget these high sugar snacks. You'll feel better and have more energy by eating an apple (which is just as easy to grab in a hurry) or one of their better alternatives. Again, companies try to make their products sound nutritious so don't be fooled by marketing. Also knowing the values of the company can help you feel good about their products. For example, Kashi focuses on whole grains and overall health so I tend to buy their products more, because I like what they put in them. Don't just assume it's good for you,  read the label!!

The Bad:
Nature Valley Strawberry Yogurt Bars- 1 bar = 13
Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars (all flavors)- 1 bar = 12
Quaker Chewy PB and Chocolate Granola Bars- 1 bar = 11
Quaker Oatmeal To-Go Brown Sugar Cinnamon Bars- 1 bar = 19
Health Valley Organic Apple Cobbler Cereal Bars- 1 bar = 16

The Good:
Kashi TLC Cherry Dark Chocolate Bars- 1 bar = 8
Kashi TLC Blackberry Graham Cereal Bars- 1 bar = 9
Kashi Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars- 1 bar = 5
Kashi Roasted Almond Crunchy Granola Bars- 2 bars = 7


Yes yogurt is supposed to be good for you, but not all yogurt's are created equal. Some yogurts have more sugar than a scoop of ice cream and even come with candy to put in it..which I have always thought was weird anyway (back in my sugar eating days).  It will be difficult to find a yogurt without at least a little bit of sugar in it, because of the milk that's made with. There are brands that have low amounts of sugar, but still taste good. Don't be afraid to try something new.

The Bad:
Yoplait Thick and Creamy Strawberry Yogurt- 6 oz = 28
Yoplait Original Boysenberry 99% Fat Free Yogurt- 6 oz = 27
Yoplait Original Lemon Burst 99% Fat Free Yogurt- 6 oz = 31
Yoplait Original Strawberry Yogurt- 6oz = 27
The Good:
Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla Yogurt- 6 oz = 7
Dannon Carb and Sugar Control Strawberry Yogurt- 1 container = 2
Yoplait Vanilla Light Yogurt- 6 oz = 15
Stoneyfield Plain Whole Milk Yogurt- 1 cup = 13
Yoplait Greek Plain Yogurt- 1 cup = 9
Fage Total 0%- 1 cup = 5

Don't let "smart" marketing make you look like a fool...

-Know the facts!

-Read the label and ingredients!

-Change your life!


  1. I try not to eat a lot of sugar, but I do try to eat a lot of fruit. I worry sometimes that I'm getting too much sugar from my fruit intake. When you say fifteen grams, or less, do you include sugars from fruit in that?

  2. Yes Fruit should be included in your 15 grams, but if you chose 1/2 cup of blackberries that's only 3 grams of sugar versus a banana which is 11. Your body knows what to do with the natural sugars that come from fruit so if that's what you're using your 15 grams for that's fantastic. Fruit is SO good for you so if you have a sugar craving make that your go-to sugar food instead of processed, refined sugars in cakes and cookies.

    You can't really go wrong by eating a lot of fruit, but just remember that at the end of the day sugar is sugar natural or not. Try incorporating in some more veggies and drink lots of water!

  3. Yeah that's what I've been trying to more vegetables and drink more water. It's been tough because I don't love a lot of vegetables raw (for snacking), unless they're in a salad. But I'm trying a lot different veggies and ways to eat them, so I'm figuring it out. :)

    The sugar thing is a constant battle. Thank you for posting this and for the advice. It's helpful! Any bit of motivation helps! You're great!

  4. Hey April! I love your passion for all you do. :-) Just wondering where you are getting your information. You cited two books about getting off sugar and wondered if they are your primary sources. I was curious because I thought 15 grams seemed a little low for total daily sugar intake, considering one apple can have 14 grams of sugar. I haven't read anything lower than 32 grams of sugar per day. Let me know your sources. It's the English major in me. :-)