You could probably guess that a slice of cake or a can of Coca-Cola has a high sugar content: The cake has 30 grams of the sweet stuff, while the soda contains even more at 39 grams. You know the usual suspects, but do you know that many innocent-looking foods are actually guilty of packing loads of sugar?
To support weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to know that the top sugar culprits. The American Heart Association recommends that women limit their sugar intake to 6 teaspoons per day, or no more than half of their daily discretionary calories allotment. According to Web MD, 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar equals 4 grams of sugar. That means that that one can of soda with your lunch contains nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar, already putting you well over your daily limit.
Oatmeal: It looks innocent, but is hiding a scandalously sweet secret.
Make sure you’re not secretly sabotaging your diet by learning about some foods that you would never expect to be so sugar-packed:
At first glance, a bowl of oatmeal seems harmless enough. It’s a filling, satisfying breakfast that contains whole grains, fiber and important vitamins to power your brain and your day. However, if you’re ripping open an instant oatmeal packet in the morning, you may be starting off on the wrong foot. Instant oatmeal packets typically contain lots of added sugar, so even though that peaches and cream or cinnamon apple variety tastes great, it’s sending lots of sugar your way. For example, just one packet of a fruit and cream-flavored variety of Quaker Instant Oatmeal has 33 grams of sugar, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
A better option if you love your oats in the morning? Skip the instant kind and grab a large canister of steel-cut, rolled oats with no sugar added. To sweeten up the breakfast, add a little cinnamon or fruit.
Yogurt is great for breakfast or as a snack because it delivers lots of protein and calcium, not to mention the important probiotics that your digestive system needs. And these days, there’s no limit to what type of yogurt flavors food engineers can concoct, from key lime pie to tiramisu. You might think that swapping a slice of cake after dinner for a chocolate torte-flavored yogurt is a smart switch, but unfortunately, these flavored varieties of yogurt – whether they’re fruit flavors or imitations of indulgent desserts – contain high amounts of added sugar. According to Nutrition Secrets, just 6 ounces of flavored yogurt can contain at least 26 grams of sugar, and even the reduced-sugar varieties can still contain more than your recommended daily limit. A better alternative is to choose Greek yogurt, which has more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt, the source noted, and sweeten it with fresh fruit.
Spaghetti sauce has as much sugar as a Pop-Tart.
You know that scene in “Elf” when Buddy adds maple syrup and crushed Pop-Tarts to his spaghetti? You shouldn’t judge, because depending on your family’s preferred type of spaghetti sauce, you might be doing something almost as bad the next time you have pasta for dinner. Store-bought spaghetti sauces typically contain sky-high amounts of sugar, according to Web MD. In fact, the site noted that some brands have as much sugar as a Pop-Tart. For example, a 1/2-cup serving of Bertolli Vineyard Marinara contains 12 grams of sugar, double the amount of sugar the AHA recommends you consume in a whole day.
A better alternative? Make your own tomato sauce. But if you can’t forgo the store-bought, look for reduced-sugar or no-sugar-added varieties.
Why does sugar always have to sabotage attempts at healthy eating? You may think you’re sticking to your diet by swapping a burger for a salad, but if you load on the salad dressing then you’re probably messing up your diet. Creamy dressings like ranch and blue cheese already get a lot of flack, but seemingly “light” dressings can also be no good, Authority by Nutrition explained. Just 2 tablespoons of a popular fat-free sun-dried tomato vinaigrette has 12 grams of sugar, not to mention 70 calories. And it’s likely you’re pouring way more than just 2 tablespoons on your greens. A healthier option is to dress your salad with a homemade dressing made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and garlic.