10 Popular Foods and Drinks Surprisingly High in Sugar
We’ve all heard that sugar is public health enemy number and has been linked to various diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
A good thing emerging from this massive castigation is that people are more aware of how much sugar is included in their favorite foods and try to reduce their intake. Unfortunately, certain foods or drinks that are not necessarily sweet but savory, are ridiculously packed with hidden sugar.
To help you separate the good from the bad, we’ve made a list of popular foods and drinks that are surprisingly high in sugar and should definitely be limited or avoided altogether.
You’d think sports drinks are designed for athletes and thus are low in calories and sugar. While the first part is true, the second one is quite the opposite.
Meant for elite athletes and runners, sports drinks include surprisingly high amounts of sugar to provide sportsmen with energy in the form of glucose. Unless you train like an elite athlete and manage to burn the calories form the extra sugar, it will all be stored as fat.
Captain’s tip: To avoid the 32 grams of added sugar and 160 calories from sports drinks, just stick to water.
Packaged fruit juice
Fruit juice can be a good source of vitamins and minerals. But unless it is homemade, and you control the quantities of ingredients, packaged fruit juice is usually packed with added sugar, artificial flavors and very little fiber.
In fact, a bottle of fruit sugar may contain 30-40 grams of sugar and 175 calories, quite similar to sugary sodas which come with 35-40 grams of sugar.
Captain’s tip: Eat whole fruits instead of packaged fruit juice or replace them with detox drinks or water.
For coffee lovers, there’s nothing better than a steaming cup of coffee on cold weather or a flavored, creamy Frappuccino on hot days. While the taste may be exquisite, the sugar content of such beverages is quite staggering.
For example, flavored coffee served in coffeehouses usually include around 25 teaspoons of sugar, which means approximately 100 g of sugar per serving. That’s almost 3 times more than a can of Coke!
Captain’s tip: Opt for coffee without any flavored syrups or cream.
Like coffee, iced tea is another drink that tastes great and is very popular, especially in hot, summer days. But with great taste comes a load of sugar, mainly from the syrup used to sweeten the iced tea.
340 ml of commercial iced tea provide around 35 grams of sugar, similar to a can of Coke. Which means, that instead of getting a refreshing, summer drink, you get an insulin spike.
Captain’s tip: Make your own iced tea at home with high-quality tea, lemon, honey and fruits of your choice.
For many people, smoothies represent an efficient shortcut to a healthy diet. But drinking smoothies is not always beneficial for your health.
That’s because many such beverages found in stores come in quite large sizes and are usually sweetened with fruit juice, maple syrup or even ice cream. This can double or even triple their already existing natural sugar content to the point you end up consuming over 90 grams in a single serving.
Captain’s tip: Focus on adding more green vegetables like kale, spinach into your smoothie to get more antioxidants and fiber instead of sugar.
Ketchup on fries, on burgers, on almost everything! If that’s you, maybe it’s time you stopped. Why? Because ketchup, as delicious as it may be, is ridiculously loaded with sugar and an array of additives and preservatives.
A tablespoon of sugar brings along around 4-5 grams of sugar and a devious amount of salt to make you ask for more.
Captain’s tip: To maintain your weight and overall health, replace ketchup with hummus, mint dips or the like.
It may be fast and convenient, but just like any other frozen food, frozen pizza is also full of sugar, preservatives and added color. Firstly, is made with flour, a refined carb which gets broken down into sugar in the body and usually stored as fat.
Secondly, the pizza sauce is also a rich source of sugar. Many such sauces include dextrose, a sugar derived from starch, which can rapidly raise your blood sugar levels.
Captain’s tip: Choose low-sugar or homemade options.
Yogurt can be successfully included in a balanced breakfast. However, not all yogurt is created equal.
For example, low-fat yogurt, often considered better than the full-fat one, is actually not that good.
To have the same taste as full-fat yogurt, the low-fat variant includes a lot of added sugar. Thus, a single cup can “help” you consume 47 grams of sugar, equivalent to 12 teaspoons. Would you willingly put that amount into any of your foods or drinks?
Captain’s tip: Opt for natural, Greek yogurt.
Ready to eat soup
When you think of soups, sugar is not the first ingredient that comes to your mind. You simply think they are convenient and tasty. But pre-packaged soups have a lot of added ingredients, among which sugar.
One teaspoon of soup powder has 4 g of sugar in the form of sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and the like. Moreover, thick or cream-based soups also include flour, another source of sugar to be wary of.
Captain’s tip: Try to make your own soup with vegetables with naturally occurring sugar.
Cereals are another go-to option for breakfast, just like low-fat yogurt. Unfortunately, consuming them everyday can seriously affect your sugar consumption.
Breakfast cereals, especially those marketed to children, include 12 grams of added sugar and a lot of added flavors in just a 30-gram serving. The tastier they get, the more packed with all types of hidden sugar they are.
Captain’s tip: Eat plain corn flakes or prepare high-protein breakfast.