Uncover 6 Hidden Sources of Sugar

  • Overhead view of muffin tin with cups filled with different types of sugar
    A Cunning Carbohydrate
    Like starch and fiber, sugar is a type of carbohydrate. Eating too much of it can make it tough to manage your blood glucose levels. Avoiding cookies, cakes, and other treats is one way to slice sugar from your diet. But this cunning carbohydrate can lurk in foods not commonly considered sweets, too.

  • honey dripping off honey spoon into bowl
    Natural versus Added Sugar
    Some foods, such as vegetables and whole fruit, naturally contain sugar. But much of the sugar we eat is called added sugar—the sweet stuff put in foods during processing or preparation. That includes white sugar, honey, cane sugar, molasses, and high-fructose corn syrup, to name a few.

  • Woman with tape measure
    Nothing Nutritious
    In addition to boosting your carbohydrate intake, added sugars provide calories but no nutritional value. If you eat lots of added sugar, your body won’t get the nutrients it needs, and you’ll likely pack on the pounds. You can better manage your diabetes by limiting added sugars. But first, you need to know where to find them—and they’re not only in desserts.

  • Tasty oatmeal with fresh blueberries
    Check Your Cereal
    The packaging for breakfast cereals often touts their nutritional quality—for instance, “a good source of vitamin D.” But buyers beware: Those boxes don’t highlight the high sugar content. Choose cereals with lower amounts of sugar listed on the nutrition label. For some sweetness, add fresh strawberries, blueberries, or bananas.

  • glass of orange juice on wooden table
    Fruit Juice 101
    Store shelves are lined with nearly every conceivable fruit juice or fruit drink option. Orange juice, pineapple juice, carrot juice—no matter your favorite, it’s important to choose 100% juice. Skip the concentrate and other fruit-flavored drinks. They’re often filled with added sweeteners or syrups.

  • Yogurt With Toppings
    Pick Plain Yogurt
    Yogurt can be a healthy snack option, but not when it’s loaded with added sugars. Instead, look for those with artificial sweeteners, which have fewer calories. The best choice? Sink your spoon into a plain low-fat variety topped with your favorite fruit.

  • granola bar
    Granola Bars Be Gone
    Formed with ingredients such as rolled oats, nuts, and dried fruit, granola bars may look healthy. Unfortunately, many commercially available brands are made with added sugars. Some also contain trans fats, which can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. A healthier option? Rye crackers or no-salt-added popcorn.

  • hand-holding-cup-of-coffee
    Forgo Flavored Coffee
    Coffee is one beverage many of us can’t go without; it’s the quintessential morning pick-me-up. In many flavored coffee beverages, however, it’s more than the caffeine that gets us going. Flavored syrups like hazelnut or vanilla are sugar-sweetened and add unnecessary calories.

  • Doctor with apple
    Can the Canned Fruit
    It’s always a good idea to include more fruit in your diet. And canned fruit is convenient and portable. But fruit canned in heavy syrup is packed with sugar. Instead, reach for a whole piece of fresh fruit like an apple, or opt for fruit canned in water or natural juice.

  • Close-up-of-nutrition-facts
    Be a Label Sleuth
    You can uncover hidden sugars in foods by checking the nutrition label. Sugars are listed under the total carbohydrate amount. That total may include both naturally occurring sugars and those that were added, but it can still give you a good sense of a food item’s sugar punch.

  • Young Girl Chooses Sports Drink
    Investigate the Ingredients
    Be sure to scan the ingredient list, too. It’s best to limit or avoid foods in which added sugars are one of the first ingredients. In addition to more easily recognizable added sugars—such as honey or brown sugar—look for words ending in “ose,” like maltose or sucrose.

6 Hidden Sources of Sugar

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Last Review Date: 2019 Jul 15
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