A very good friend recently confessed to me that sometimes their subconscious sugar cravings are so powerful, they get out of bed in the middle of the night to eat sweets.
This is what sugar — dubbed ‘sweet poison‘ by NY Daily News — is doing to us. We’ve become a generation of zombies that seek sugar at any cost, even if it means interrupted sleep, expanding waistlines and poor emotional health. The worst part is, we don’t even realize it’s happening.
Cookies and candy get a lot of criticism, but at least these sugary foods are honest about what they contain. The real danger lies in foods that hide their sugary nature behind fancy monikers and mile-long ingredient lists. These hidden sugars make it possible for the average American to consume 152 pounds of sugar each year, despite filling their grocery carts with savory staples and so-called health foods. Once eaten, sugar affects the brain almost exactly like another powdery white substance we know and fear – cocaine — triggering an intense addiction that compels us to seek more.
The first step to getting off the sugar addiction roller coaster is exposing these hidden sugars. There are literally thousands of foods that conceal this sweet poison behind savory labels, but these 10 are the worst, and most surprising. (Note: this list refers to the conventional and store brands many of us buy. Different rules apply to organic, artisan and homemade varieties. Obviously.)
10 Foods That Have the Most Hidden Sugar
Grilling a hamburger? Mixing up a batch of Grandma’s potato salad? Prepare for a sugar bomb. Ketchup, barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, steak sauces, salad dressing and, yes, even mustard all contain sugar. Some styles of BBQ sauce contain 13 grams of sugar (approximately 3 teaspoons) for every two tablespoons of condiment!
Yup. This is one of those “I thought it was healthy!” foods that are probably sabotaging your weight loss plans. An 8 ounce serving of the average fruit variety non-fat yogurt contains a staggering 47 grams of sugar (11 teaspoons)!
3. Pasta Sauce
Pasta with marinara sauce is a delicious savory meal. Too bad the hidden sugars make your body treat it like dessert. Store bought pasta sauce contains around 12 grams (around 3 teaspoons) of sugar for every half cup.
4. Dried Fruit
Unlike pasta sauce, we expect dried fruit to be sweet. Those trying to keep a healthy diet will often opt for this instead of candy, but it makes no difference to your body. Just ⅓ of a cup can have 24 grams of sugar (8 teaspoons) and it’s not all naturally occurring: Most add a healthy dose of the refined stuff (as if fruit needs to be sweeter?!).
5. Granola Bars
For some reason, we’ve been duped into assuming granola = healthy. With 12 grams (4 teaspoons) of sugar, and sometimes much more, hiding in most conventional brands, you might as well be eating a Payday.
Love toast with your coffee? How about a sandwich for lunch? That innocent looking slice of bread contains around 2 grams of sugar per slice (nearly a teaspoon). Even worse, if you opt for cheap bread, it’s likely added in the form of high fructose corn syrup.
7. Boxed Cereal
You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes contain added sugar, but it’s hiding in “healthy” cereals, too. Just look at the labels of Raisin Bran (20 grams, or 5 teaspoons), Kellogg’s Smart Start (14 grams, or 3.5 teaspoons) and Kashi GoLean Crunch (13 grams, or 3-plus teaspoons).
8. Peanut Butter
It doesn’t matter whether you prefer chunky or creamy, if you’re eating any of the popular peanut butter brands, you’re getting a big dose of sugar — to the tune of 3 grams (a teaspoon) in each 2 tablespoon serving. And just think, most of the time we slather it on bread (sugar) with jelly (sugar) and then feed it to our kids!
9. Deli Meat
Bread and mayo isn’t the only thing making our sandwiches unhealthy. Most deli meats are infused with corn syrup and/or aspartame (an artificial sugar) for some strange reason.
10. Tomato Soup
Another staple that most of us have eaten since childhood. Too bad there are 10 grams (over 3 teaspoons) of sugar in the average 1/2 cup serving of canned tomato soup (usually high fructose corn syrup). Not to mention 400 mg of sodium. Blech.
A Sweetener by Any Other Name: The morals of this story are: 1) always read the label, and 2) avoid processed foods at all cost. However, even if you do these things sugar can still sneak in. That’s because it’s not always called sugar. Check out this helpful post to learn how to spot other names for sugar on food labels.
Image via Thinkstock
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.