Whether you are trying to give up sugar altogether or just cut back, you will be shocked by how many of your normal foods contain sugar. These are foods that don’t seem sweet, where the sugar is simply used as another preservative. Here are some foods to watch out for as they might contain hidden sugar.
Foods with Hidden Sugar
Many foods have hidden sugar, that you would not expect. By reading labels and knowing the different names used for sugar, you will be able to avoid it or reduce it as needed. Here is a list of some foods that often have hidden sugars:
Sauces and condiments – Before you use that Ranch dressing or Teriyaki sauce, read the labels. You might be surprised by how much hidden sugar there is. There is sugar in just about every bottle of dressing or condiment or sauce you can get at the grocery store. Sometimes, you will find sugar-free varieties, but then they use artificial sugar, so it is up to you if that is worth it to you.
Baked goods – Most baked goods are also going to have a lot of sugar, unless you are getting low carb or sugar-free varieties. This is not just with the sweeter goods like muffins and cookies, but with breads and food items that don’t even taste sweet.
Frozen foods – Yes, your frozen pizza or chicken and potatoes meal probably has sugar. Why? That is the big question! It works as a preservative to keep that food tasting good even after freezing it, then re-heating. You will be hard pressed to find frozen food that isn’t loaded with sugar, with the exception of fruits and vegetables.
Packaged and processed foods – It is pretty much guaranteed that the majority of processed foods you eat are going to have added sugar, and often much more than you think. Have you ever looked at a protein bar? It sounds good for you, but could have 10 or more grams of sugar, often up to 20 or more!
Bacon and sausage – Most processed meats in the deli are also going to have added sugar, starting with your pork products like bacon and sausage. You will need to find packages that say no sugar added, then look at the label on the back to be extra sure they didn’t add any to it.
Deli meats – Other deli meats, like turkey and roast beef, also usually have some added sugar. They are also loaded with sodium, so avoid them if you can.
Read Your Bread Labels
When you buy any variety of bread at the supermarket, it probably has sugar listed on the ingredient label. Breads made with white flour tend to have the highest amount of sugar, but whole-grain breads also have added sweeteners. Bakeries add sugar to bread to preserve the food in its plastic wrapper. In some cases, the bread is baked and packaged several days before it arrives in your supermarket, and it can remain on the store’s shelf for a week or longer.
When packaged bread doesn’t contain sugar, it begins to lose moisture, making it dry. In addition, the moisture from the bread will lead to mold growth, making the food unpalatable. If you want to have whole-wheat bread that doesn’t contain sugar, then you can learn how to bake your own bread so that you can keep it in a kitchen’s freezer until you are ready to eat it.
Reduce Your Condiments
You may pour a large amount of ketchup on your healthy homemade hamburger that is made with a homemade slice of whole-wheat bread, but by doing this, you are adding a huge amount of sugar to your food. Instead of using condiments such as ketchup, barbecue sauce or mayonnaise on your sandwiches, add lettuce and mustard to the food.
When you are avoiding sugar to improve your health, you should understand the different names that manufacturers use for this sweet substance. Here is a list of the names used for the added sugar in foods and beverages:
• Fructose sweetener
• Evaporated cane juice
• Crystal dextrose
• Corn syrup
• Cane sugar
• Corn sweetener
• Brown sugar
• Fruit juice
• Maple syrup
• Agave nectar
This is a partial list of the names for sugar because manufacturers create new types of sweeteners occasionally. To determine if a product at the grocery store has any type of sugar, you must read the small print on the package’s label. Remember that the beverages and foods that are labeled as natural, organic, healthy or low-calorie can still have added sugar. In addition, some foods contain natural sugars, but these types of foods frequently have high levels of minerals, fiber and vitamins.