One of the most shocking things I’ve learned since we started eating low sugar is that even if you don’t eat any dessert, you’re still consuming tons of sugar every single day!
You can think you’re eating healthy foods and still be consuming more sugar than recommended because sugar gets added to almost every food we eat. I want to open your eyes a little bit to the sugar that is hiding in your food! We’ll look at some foods to beware of if you want to eat less sugar.
If you want lots more info on why we eat low sugar, the amazing results we’ve seen because of it, and the rules we follow, I’ve got a great post covering it all HERE.
The book that caused us to finally switch to a super low sugar diet is call Zero Sugar Diet and I recommend it 100%. It is easy to read, well researched, and motivating!
First, Let’s Visualize It…
On all nutrition labels, sugar is measured in grams, which is hard for me to get a solid grasp on. I started realizing how much sugar I was looking at when I read that 4 grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon. Knowing that, I can visualize the sugar much better!
As a quick example, a 12 oz can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar, or just under 10 teaspoons of sugar! Can you imagine going into your kitchen, measuring out 10 teaspoons of sugar and eating it?
Of course, you already knew that soda has plenty of sugar in it, which is why we’re going to talking about sneaky foods high in sugar.
How Much is Too Much?
I only pay attention to the added sugars in the food we eat. According to the AHA, here is the maximum amount of added sugar you should eat per day:
Women: 25 grams (or 6 teaspoons)
Men: 37.5 grams (or 9 teaspoons)
Once you read about these foods high in sugar that you may be thinking are just fine, you’ll quickly realize why you can easily consume way more sugar than you’re supposed to in a day without ever touching dessert or soda.
15 Sneaky Foods High in Sugar
The nutrition information for each of these foods can vary by brand, but I tried to find information that’s an average of what you’ll find in most brands.
One tablespoon of ketchup contain about 4 grams, or 1 teaspoon, of sugar!
2. BBQ Sauce
One tablespoon of barbecue sauce contains just under 6 grams of sugar, which is 1½ teaspoons of sugar.
That basically means that half of your barbecue sauce is just sugar. And I know I always used to have far more than 1 tablespoon during a meal.
3. Salad Dressing
Ranch and Italian salad dressing each contain about 1½ grams of sugar, about a third of a teaspoon.
While this isn’t huge, it does all add up and you probably wouldn’t think to check your salad dressing for added sugar.
4. Pasta Sauce
I found this one surprising!
A half cup serving of store bought pasta sauce has about 6½ grams of sugar, or over 1½ teaspoons.
I don’t think of spaghetti as being a sugary meal. The sugar is sneaky!
Are you ready for things to get crazy?
A serving of strawberry Yoplait yogurt has 19 grams of sugar — almost 5 teaspoons!
Pretty much any kind of flavored yogurt has a huge amount of sugar in it. And you can’t trust the sugar free versions, because those are loaded up with artificial sweeteners, which are also quite harmful. The only yogurt without sweeteners are the plain varieties.
6. Raisin Bran Cereal
One cup of Raisin Bran (and honestly, who eats just one cup of cereal?) has 17 grams of sugar, which is just over 4 teaspoons.
I always thought of this as a healthy breakfast option, but that’s a lot of sugar — well over half of the amount of sugar women should have in a whole day.
7. Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal
This one is not quite as bad at 8 grams of sugar, or 2 teaspoons. Though it’s still more sugar than I would like to eat for breakfast.
8. Granola Bars
Granola bars and protein bars can vary widely in how much added sugar they have. Even the expensive health brands often add a ton of sugar to their products, so you really have to look!
Some Kind and PowerBar brand products have 10 to 20 grams of added sugar, which is 2½ to 5 teaspoons worth.
You would never go and eat 5 grams of pure sugar, but it’s added into a bar that you may think is a healthy snack choice.
A maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal packet has 12 grams of sugar, which is 3 teaspoons!
If you’re stopping my McDonalds for a quick breakfast, their fruit and maple oatmeal has 33 grams of sugar! That’s more than you should have for the entire day at over 8 teaspoons.
One tablespoon of strawberry jam has just under 10 grams of sugar, or about 2½ teaspoons.
Think about that for a second. There are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, and 2½ of those teaspoons in your tablespoon of jam are sugar!
11. Almond Milk
Almond milk usually has 7 grams of added sugar in each cup, or a bit less than 2 teaspoons.
Flavored almost milk (like vanilla) has more like 13 grams, or a bit over 3 teaspoons.
You have to look for almond milk that is specifically labeled as unsweetened if you don’t want any added sugar in it.
12. Tomato Soup
There are 12 grams of sugar in each serving of canned tomato soup, 3 whole teaspoons.
13. White Bread
Each slice of white bread has about ½ a teaspoon of sugar in it (2 grams), so if you’re having a whole sandwich, you’re getting an extra teaspoon of sugar along with it.
Almost all crackers have added sugar. A serving of wheat thins has 5 grams of sugar, more than 1 teaspoon.
15. Canned Tea
Those cans of iced tea you grab from the gas station because you think it’s much healthier than soda, those can have 14 to 22 grams of sugar in each serving, 3½ to 5½ teaspoons of sugar! And those big cans are usually at least 2 servings. So you could be downing 10 teaspoons of sugar without thinking twice about it.
Are you surprised by any of these foods that have a whole lot of sugar in them?
When I first read Zero Sugar Diet, I started paying attention to every food label in our kitchen and in the stores and was shocked by so much of what I saw!
It can be frustrating, but now that we’ve been eating low sugar for about a year and a half, I know what foods to beware of. And I know I feel so much better eating this way, so I don’t mind too much that there a tons of foods that I won’t be eating because of how I choose to eat.
More Info About Eating Healthy:
- What We Eat in a Week: Low Sugar Diet Edition
- 6 Ways to Use Meal Planning to Eat Healthy
- Simple Things I Did to Lose 15 Pounds