Foods With Hidden Sugars

We all have heard repeatedly that too much sugar is bad for you. But as we have learned more about how our bodies work, we know that this is partly due to blood sugar increases.

Too much sugar at one time creates a spike, which then throws off the body's other systems. It also leads to tooth decay, weight gain, and chronic health conditions.

I like to approach life, including the food I consume, with a balanced approach -- so this isn't a bid for you to never have a drop of sugar again.

You can breathe!

It's good to be aware, though, so that you can make more balanced decisions.

Most of us are pretty good about reading labels and looking for added sugar, but you may not realize that sugar can come in some other more stealthy forms. So while you may not anticipate seeing added sugar in your breads or sauces, it's likely still there.

The next time you're browsing items for a recipe and checking the labels for the ingredients, there are a few other things to keep an eye out for.

First, in addition to all of the manufactured sugars ending in -ose (like fructose and sucralose), you'll want to watch for natural sugars, as well. These can be things like agave, cane, honey, and monk fruit. It can also be sugar derived from fruits like dates and coconut. There are some occasions where fruit juice is even used as a sweetener.

Some of these may seem innocent enough, but they are still processed the same in our bodies.

Some of the top offenders for food with added sugar are dressings and sauces. These can be things like salad dressing, with up to nine grams of sugar per two-tablespoon serving. BBQ sauce can have up to six or seven grams of sugar per one tablespoon. And you wouldn't believe how much can be in pasta sauce -- that marinara you love can have up to twenty-two grams of sugar per serving.

Other undercover offenders tend to be popular breakfast foods. Even the healthier cereal varieties can have up to eighteen grams of sugar per serving. The same goes for yogurt and oatmeal. Even peanut butter can have up to four grams of added sugar per two-tablespoon serving.

A sure way to avoid added sugar is to buy whole foods, naturally decreasing the amount of pre-packaged or processed foods.

One can easily whip up a more natural salad dressing or pasta sauce with a bit of research. These often not only are much healthier but taste much better. Spending some more time in the kitchen is a great way to combat the amount of excess sugar we tend to consume, sometimes without even knowing.

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Health and happiness,

Alicia Williamson RN, BSN, MSNW, CHC

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