10 Popular Foods That Hide Way More Sugar Than You Think

2 years ago

Experts recommend that women should only consume 24 grams of sugar a day, while men are allowed up to 36 grams. But did you know that a can of soda already contains nearly 40 grams of sugar? Granted, everyone knows sodas are high in sugar, but many are unaware that a can of tomato soup can hold up to 20 grams of sugar per serving, and your favorite apple juice, even if labeled unsweetened, has about 25 grams of sugar a cup.

We at Bright Side are putting a sugary spotlight on certain foods that we once assumed were healthy, low-sugar options.

1. Baked beans

When thinking about savory baked beans, them being high in sugar is not the first thing that comes to our minds. One portion of 254 grams of baked beans contains no less than 5 teaspoons of sugar.

2. Smoothies

Making smoothies at home can be a great morning ritual. However, the store-bought smoothies are sweetened with ingredients like ice cream or syrup, increasing the sugar content. Some of them contain over 13 teaspoons of sugar in just one serving.

3. Canned soup

You’d think that store-bought soup would be a healthy combination of water and nutritious vegetables. But when you zoom in on the nutrition facts, you will notice that a single can’s sugar content can actually cover your entire required daily sugar intake. This is especially common in tomato-based sauces, which contain 8.7 grams of sugar per 1 cup.

4. Low-fat yogurt

While low-fat foods might be tempting to those trying to live a healthier lifestyle, not all of them are actually better for you — especially when it comes to yogurt. A serving of full-fat plain yogurt has 4.7 grams of sugar, while a serving of Greek yogurt can have up to 6 to 12 grams of sugar. The addition of sugar in low-fat options is used to make up for the loss of flavor and consistency that comes from fat. Many low-fat and flavored yogurts also contain unhealthy forms of sweeteners, like sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup.

5. Fat-free salad dressing

Similar to yogurt, salad dressings that have less fat and calories contain increased amounts of sugar. 2 tablespoons of your favorite store-bought salad dressing can have about 7 to 10 grams of added fat. Experts recommend making your own salad dressing at home to ensure that there are no added sugars, preservatives, or other unhealthy ingredients.

6. Ketchup

This bottled sauce makes the list as one of the most popular condiments around the world. Having a combination of sweet, sour, and umami flavors, ketchup is most popular in fast-food burgers and as a dipping sauce for French fries. However, a single tablespoon of this red condiment is equivalent to putting an entire sugar cube in your mouth. Containing approximately 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon, most commercial bottles of ketchup contain significant amounts of high fructose corn syrup.

7. Peanut butter

Peanut butter is a popular source of protein and a versatile pantry staple. While natural kinds of peanut butter contain little or no sugar, many commercial variants are filled with unhealthy oils and added sugars, which make a seemingly healthy spread into a potentially dangerous one. Some popular brands can have up to 8 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons. Dieticians recommend reading the ingredient labels of the peanut butter so you can see which ones are the most natural and healthy.

8. Coleslaw

Cabbage is a healthy vegetable loaded with nutrients, anti-inflammatory properties, and vitamin K. But coleslaw, the one with full-fat mayo and white sugar, can have up to 16.3 g of sugar per cup.

9. Potato chips

Salty snacks don’t seem to equate to sugar, but a bag of your favorite potato chips can have about 3%-5% sugar content. This is especially common in chips with flavors such as barbecue, sweet chili, honey, or sweet corn chips. Depending on how many chips you eat, 15 barbecue-flavored potato chips can already have 2 grams of sugar. Chips are also high in carbs, which your body converts into a form of sugar called glucose. Nutritionists advise that junk food, such as chips, should be eaten sparingly to prevent any illnesses.

10. Dried fruit

Dried fruit is considered a go-to healthy snack. Similar to their fresh versions, they are rich in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. However, when the fruits are dehydrated, the water content is removed, leaving all the sugars compacted into the shriveled fruit, making them very high in natural sugars.

Which of these high-sugar foods surprised you the most?

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Please note: This article was updated in November 2021 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.


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