Even “Healthy” Foods can be High in Sugar

Corn flakes cereal

Even healthy foods can be high in sugar

Sugar is everywhere. It’s just a fact of American life. We, as a nation love sugar. It’s all around us, and we like to think we’re good at spotting it, but sometimes the opposite is true. Too much sugar is the fast-track to cavities and other dental problems, so most of us try to be careful– but what if we’re not seeing the big picture?

It turns out, many “healthy” foods that are otherwise good for us are full of hidden sugars. That doesn’t mean we can’t ever enjoy them, but we need to moderate our intake of anything sugary. They can’t be our go-tos when it comes to a quick, healthy meal or snack.

Common Hidden Sugars

This isn’t a be-all, end-all list of hidden sugars, but it should tell you that sugar goes by dozens of names.

The next time you’re looking at healthy meal or snack options, check the ingredients list or the recipe for the following:

  • brown sugar
  • cane sugar
  • powdered sugar
  • turbinado sugar
  • raw sugar
  • corn sweeteners
  • corn syrup
  • crystallized cane sugar
  • maltose
  • fructose
  • sucrose
  • glucose
  • dextrin
  • evaporated cane juice
  • fruit juice concentrate
  • honey
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • invert sugar
  • syrup
  • malt syrup
  • maple syrup
  • molasses

That’s a lot of sugar!

A Few Examples

Now that you know what to look for on an ingredients list, let’s take a look at a few real-world examples.

  • Yogurt – One leading brand of yogurt contains 29 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Breakfast Bars – A breakfast bar made with “real fruit” and “whole grains” lists 15 grams of sugar.
  • Cereal – A single cup of bran cereal with raisins, which advertises “no high fructose corn syrup,” contains 20 grams of sugar, per serving.
  • Juice – A cranberry-pomegranate juice product, also advertising “no high fructose corn syrup,” contains 30 grams of added sugar.

It’s hard to completely kick sugar out of your life, but you can be a wealth-wise label reader and make informed decisions about what you regularly put into your body. Just do the best you can, because every little bit helps.

Cutting down on sugar requires effort, but your efforts will be rewarded a hundred times over. Here’s to that beautiful smile.

~Dr. Marea White