Find the Top 8 Hidden Sources of Sugar on Your Plate
Some sugar is ok
Let’s start by saying that the goal doesn’t have to be going sugar free. Even the World Health Organization doesn’t say you have to remove sugar completely. They only recommend limiting added sugars under 25g per day.
Our belief is that if you’re going to have sugar, it’s best to really enjoy it! You want to make a conscious choice when you eat sugar. Enjoying a tasty dessert is a great example. What you don’t want is sugar sneaking its way into your diet without your knowledge.
Hidden sugar goes by many names
First, you should know about the many names of added sugar. Here are a few examples of popular forms of added sugar.
- Syrups - corn syrup, high-fructose syrup, rice syrup, maple syrup
- Sugar alternatives - honey, molasses, agave nectar, cane sugar, brown sugar
- Basic sugar molecules - glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose
We are all familiar with foods that are typically rich in these added sugars such as candy, cakes, or chocolate bars. Unfortunately, it is now often hiding even in foods where you wouldn’t expect it. Here are our tips for how to spot them and reduce their amount on your plate.
#1 Granola bars
Granola bars might look like they are health-foods but the opposite is often the case. Many of these are high in added sugars. Take one 100 g granola and you could be getting up to 30g or about 7 teaspoons of sugar. The same goes for many energy bars. It’s important to always take a look at the nutrition label to see how much sugar is inside when buying any kind of bar. Or you can make one at home. You can try our recipe for a muesli bar that only has 4 g of sugar.
Yogurt can be a nutritious choice but it depends what kind you choose. Low-fat and flavoured yogurts can pack a surprising amount of sugar. When the fat is removed from yogurt, manufacturers sometimes add sugar to compensate for the loss of taste. A single cup (250ml) of low-fat yogurt can contain over 45 g or 11 teaspoons of sugar! That’s the daily recommended intake of added sugar gone in one snack. Make sure to choose plain unsweetened yogurts and enjoy it with a piece of fresh fruit.
#3 Breakfast cereals
Breakfast cereals are considered a healthy breakfast option. While that might be the case for some types, many are very high in added sugar. Some breakfast cereals, even those for children, contain up to 35 g or about 9 teaspoons of sugar per 100 g. Make sure to always read the label before you buy. For example, Lizza breakfast muesli contains only 7,6 g of sugar per 100 g. And there are many other tasty breakfast options that are low in sugar. Check out a few tips in our previous blog post.
#4 Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea are so popular that we often don’t consider how many different versions there are. Unfortunately, many of them are really high in added sugar. In some coffeehouse chains, a large flavoured coffee drink can contain upwards of 45 g or 11 teaspoons of sugar! And most iced teas you can buy in the store contain around 35 g of sugar in a 0,5-litre bottle. The best solution is to make your own quality coffee or tea. If you’re outside, read the label or enquire about a drink you’re considering buying, or simply go for sparkling water.
#5 Dried fruit
Fruits are generally considered healthy, but dried fruit contains less water and is therefore a much more concentrated source of sugar. For example, one cup of raisins has 116 g of sugar and one cup of whole grapes has only about 15 g of sugar. While raisins aren’t bad for you, you would have to pay very close attention to how many you eat if you want to keep your sugar intake in check. As a general rule, eating fresh whole fruit is always going to yield less sugar.
If you’re looking for ways to add concentrated sources of sweet flavour into your diet, consider erythritol. We at Lizza use it for our sweet desserts because it carries no calories and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels like regular sugar. You can read more about the benefits of erythritol in our previous blog post.
You might be surprised how much sugar is hidden inside of popular condiments. Here are a few examples.
- 1 tablespoon of a typical BBQ sauce contains over 1 teaspoon or 4,5 g of sugar.
- 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains nearly 1 teaspoon or 4 g of sugar.
- 1 tablespoon of typical store-bought salad dressing has around 2,6 g of sugar.
You can make your own delicious salad dressings using olive oil, vinegar, and herbs, without the need for sugar. And you can find many condiments that are low in sugar. For example, mustard is a good choice with only 0,1 g of sugar per tablespoon.
Most people wouldn’t think of bread when trying to look for sources of sugar. The reality is that many common breads can have up to 6 g of sugar in every slice! As an alternative, try our Lizza breads that have as little as 0,5 g of sugar per slice without compromising on taste. Or get inspired by our delicious cheesy bread recipe.
#8 Protein powders and bars
Protein powders and protein bars are often based around tasteless protein isolates. That means they need a little something to make them tasty. That little something often ends up being quite a lot of sugar. Many protein bars have up to 20 g of sugar which is similar to an average candy bar. That is a high price to pay for a portion of protein.
The best approach is to carefully read nutrition labels before you buy a protein product. You can also get your protein boost elsewhere. Lizza offers a range of high protein foods that you’ll find familiar such as pizza, pasta, or breads. You won’t have to worry about sugar content with us.
Equipped with these tips, sugar can no longer hide from you. Just a few changes can help reduce your sugar intake in a meaningful way and you can use the rest to enjoy something truly delicious!