If you’ve decided to cut back on sugar, you need to be aware that there are more foods with added sugar than you might think. Grocery shopping probably takes me longer than most because I never put a new product in my cart without reading the ingredient label. I want to see exactly what I’m going to be putting in my body and putting in my family’s bodies.
When I’m looking for added sugar, I look for any of the words that can mean sugar. Some of these are: cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses, fructose, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, and, of course, high fructose corn syrup.
Please don’t misconstrue this post. I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat any foods that have added sugar. I’m definitely not condemning every food product on this list. This post is all about awareness.
Sugar. is. everywhere. Even if you are consciously cutting back on sugar by not adding sweetener to your coffee and avoiding desserts, you still might be consuming more sugar than you think because it’s added to so many things.
If you are aware of which foods have added sugar, you can make an informed choice about how much you’re going to allow for yourself and your family. If you allow yourself to have added sugar in everything, it can add up fast and you’re most likely eating much more than you think. Instead, think about what has added sugar and limit it where you can.
For example, if I know we’re going to be eating something with barbecue sauce for dinner one night, I’ll make sure that’s the only night we have a sauce with added sugar. (Except this month. This month I’m not consuming any added sugars as a part of the Happy Healthy Mama Healthy Year Challenge.) It’s all about finding a balance and being aware of the actual amount of sugar you are consuming.
Sugar is bad for us in all forms, but completely avoiding it 100% of the time is unrealistic. By being aware and cutting back on foods with added sugar, we are all doing our health a big favor. In many instances, there are options of the same food without added sugar. Just check labels and get to know which brands have added sugar and which do not.
Sugar is connected to just about every major disease. It’s worth being diligent about keeping the amount you consume in check.
I took a trip to the grocery store recently with the intention of uncovering foods with added sugars. I’m telling you, it’s everywhere! I stuck mostly with foods that are perceived as “healthy” to prove the point that even foods that are marketed as healthy have added sugar. Here’s what I found!
Sugar was all over the prepackaged breakfast foods. Here are a few examples.
So many condiments have hidden sugar! Some are obvious, like ketchup, but others, like the spicy mustard pictured below, surprised me.
Tomato products like stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce often have added sugar, but not always. Find the ones that do not to help cut back on your added sugar.
There’s a lot of sugar in apple sauce if you get the sweetened kind!
I’m sure it’s not surprising that flavored yogurt has sugar. You’re better off buying plain and adding a small amount of honey, maple syrup, or chia seed jam.
Soups and Canned Meals
Tomato based soups are the most likely to have added sugar, but always check the label if you’re buying soups from the grocery store.
If it doesn’t say “unsweetened,” it’s got added sugar.
Crackers and Chips
The savory foods are the most surprising to me.
The cheapest store-bought breads will have high-fructose corn syrup, the more expensive brands have plain sugar. Pick your poison.
Frozen foods are convenient but be careful to check for added sugars.
If you aren’t buying natural nut butters, they most likely have added sugar.
Again, I’m not sharing these to declare you shouldn’t eat any foods with added sugar. Many of these foods have found a spot in my pantry, some occasionally, others more often. It’s all about education and being aware of what foods have added sugar so you aren’t eating every single one of these on a daily basis. That would add up to too much sugar! Read labels, be aware, and find your balance.
Speaking of cutting sugar, my update for the Cut the Sugar Challenge will be coming tomorrow. Once again, I got a day behind this week. That keeps happening! One day I’ll be caught up on life. Maybe.
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