You Won't Believe How Much Sugar Is in These "Healthy" Foods
We all know that eating too much sugar is bad for your health. It's been linked to an increased risk of conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression and cancer. Some people even believe that it can cause acne and other skin conditions.
Unfortunately, you may be getting way more sugar in your diet than you think — by eating these foods. Check out 30 of your favorite "health" foods that are chock full of sweetener.
Processed Fruit Juice
Whole juice (the pulpy kind, like you might get out of a juicer) has some health benefits. It's loaded with vitamins and minerals and even offers a little bit of fiber. But it also has an insane amount of sugar.
Breakfast cereals: The morning-rush champion of busy parents everywhere. Just grab a bowl, pour in a helping of your kid's favorite brand and top it with milk. Voila! A healthy breakfast in mere seconds. Not so fast — read that nutrition panel first.
Many people assume that, as a flavored water, Vitamin Water is a healthy option. It says "vitamin" in the name, right? But Vitamin Water offers an important lesson: Just because something appears to be healthy, it doesn't mean that it is.
Granola is often marketed as a healthy alternative to traditional cereals — and it certainly looks like it's better for you than a bowl of Lucky Charms. But despite a base of all-natural ingredients like oats, nuts and fruits, granola is typically high in calories, carbs and sugar.
Creamy Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is often touted as a good-for-you treat, but even in its most natural state, it's not that fantastic. Peanut butter is fairly high in fat, and if you grab a jar of the processed stuff off of the supermarket shelf, it's chock full of sugar.
Grab a cup of unflavored Greek yogurt, and you've got a killer snack. It's full of protein and low in sugar and carbs. Unfortunately, most people don't really enjoy plain Greek yogurt. We can't blame you — it somehow manages to be both tart and flavorless at the same time. Sadly, the flavored varieties aren't nearly as healthy.
Parents often search for snacks that are both healthy and appealing to children. Often, they'll grab something like raisins or dried apricots because the kids like them and it's fruit — so it must be healthy, right?
Soup is a classic comfort food that’s warm and tasty. Bonus: It's healthy! Or is it? While soup isn't a food you'd typically associate with sugar, you'd be surprised at what's hiding in that can.
Bottled Salad Dressing
If you've ever followed any sort of diet, you know that bottled salad dressings are typically on the no-no list, often due to their calorie count alone — and not to mention all the processed ingredients. Yes, ranch is delicious, but if you buy it in the supermarket it's likely loaded with sugar.
Whether you avoid dairy milk because you’re vegan, allergic or watching calories, you still want to add something to your morning coffee or cereal. The solution is, typically, a dairy-free "milk" like oat or almond.
Many people assume that because chocolate milk is, well, milk it must be healthy. It's true: Milk itself can be a nutritious drink, with lots of vitamins and minerals and calcium. But even in its natural state, it has a lot of sugars.
Store-bought Spaghetti Sauce
On their own, tomatoes are fairly low in sugar. But throw dozens of them in a pot and boil them down into a sauce, and it could add up to a whole lot of sugar. Throw in some added sweetener, as many manufacturers do, and you've got a total sugar bomb.
Smoothies have the potential to be ridiculously healthy. Just throw some (unsweetened!) almond milk, plain yogurt, greens and berries into a blender and, wow. Nutrition out the wazoo! But grab a bottle off the shelf? You're doing yourself more harm than good.
You may think that the bran muffin you grabbed at the deli this morning was the smart choice. After all, you could have chosen the blueberry scone or the chocolate chip cookie. But plain old bran is boring, full of fiber and totally tasteless.
Next time you order chicken nuggets, leave out the BBQ sauce. Sure, it's a tasty dip, but do you know what's in it? Studies show that up to 40% of the weight of BBQ sauce may be pure sugar, meaning a couple tablespoons of the sauce can contain several teaspoons of sugar.
Convenient Cereal Bars
For on-the-go breakfasts, you really can't beat the convenience of a cereal bar. However, cereal bars are loaded with added sugars. On top of that, most of them contain very little fiber or protein, so they don't actually offer much nutritional value.
Whole Grain Bagels
Bagels are one of America's most popular breakfast options, and for good reason. Of course, none of us actually think that bagels are healthy. They're obviously carby, and once you slather them in cream cheese, it's game over.
There's a meme floating around that says black coffee is the preferred drink of psychopaths. And you know what they say: If it's in a meme, it must be true. But what about fancy-coffee drinkers? What experts say about them is that they're ingesting a ton of hidden sugars.
People are always looking for healthy snacks to eat on the go — something they can grab and take to their kid's game or munch on during the morning commute. And granola bars seem like they'd be a healthy option. After all, they're made out of oats.
Sports drinks are often mistaken as healthy options for those who exercise. In fact, if you've ever taken part in any sort of race, you've likely seen them handing out cups of Gatorade on the sidelines. But think twice before you head out and buy your own bottle.
Everyone's Favorite Condiment: Ketchup
It's probably fair to say we all know that one person who puts ketchup on everything. But next time your oddball buddy goes to dump some ketchup in his soup, try filling him in on exactly why he shouldn't do it: It's a total sugar bomb.
Some fruits' natural sugars are higher than others. For example, berries are relatively low on the sugar scale, while pineapple is super sugary. For some reason, it seems like only those fruits that are highest in sugars ever get canned. When was the last time you saw a can of blueberries — not slathered in corn syrup for pie filling?
Delicious Dark Chocolate
We all know that candy bars are total sugar bombs. But somehow, dark chocolate has gotten a reputation as the "healthier" option. While it's true that plain old dark chocolate has a ton of health benefits (antioxidants, anyone?), it doesn't taste very good.
Refreshing Iced Tea
Iced tea is another one of those beverages that has gained a "healthy" reputation by association. Tea, by itself, is one of the most good-for-you drinks on the planet. It's plant-based, has zero calories and (depending on the variety) can have cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Caffeine-filled Energy Drinks
Some people don't like the taste of coffee, but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy the effects of caffeine. What do they do when they're sleepy and need a quick pick-me-up? Grab a can of Red Bull. Unfortunately, most energy drinks are full of sugar.
There's a reason your daily vitamin is so delicious: It's loaded with sugar. Many people believe that taking a multivitamin can help improve their health. While the jury's still out on that, one thing definitely does hold true: Eating a gummy isn’t great for you.
Oatmeal has been a popular breakfast for centuries now. It's cheap, it's easy and it's pretty good for you. At least, raw oatmeal is. But the kind they sell in little packets, full of flavors and other add-ins, is a sneaky source of hidden sugar.
Filling Protein Bars
Protein bars are a popular snack, and not just for athletes. Many people enjoy using them as a "healthy" meal replacement when they don't have time to cook, or even when they just want a quick (but filling) snack. But are they actually good for you?
Coleslaw is made out of cabbage, and cabbage is healthy. Therefore, coleslaw must be healthy. That's the way it works, right? Coleslaw can be a healthy side if you make it at home. And bonus if you make a vinegar-based slaw versus a mayonnaise-based variety!
Canned Baked Beans
Beans, beans are good for your heart. You know that rhyme, right? Well, whoever wrote it was clearly not talking about canned baked beans, because those guys are just full of sugar. Even homemade, they're not that healthy. Two of the main ingredients are ketchup and brown sugar!