5 Surprisingly Sugary Foods

by in Healthy Tips, February 5, 2014

yogurtIt may not surprise anyone that a 20-ounce bottle of soda can contain anywhere from 15 to 22 teaspoons of sugar per serving, but sugar is also lurking in less obvious places. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines suggest no more than 10 teaspoons a day of added sugar, but if you’re not paying attention, those spoonfuls can add up fast. Here are 5 sources of sugar found in seemingly healthy choices.

Bottled Salad Dressings
Many brands of balsamic vinaigrette have the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving (and a serving is only 2 tablespoons). French and Thousand Island style dressings are just as bad, if not worse. The solution: Make your own.


Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Many parents hand over these bars to their kids for a quick breakfast or after school snack- but don’t be fooled. Many brands are mini-sized candy bars in disguise. These 2-bite wonders contain 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of sugar per piece. Check ingredient lists and look for one where sugar isn’t listed in the top two ingredients.



Toaster tarts and instant flavored oatmeal may seem like healthy grab-and-go options, but each serving offers up 2 to 5 teaspoons of added sugar. Your mornings deserve better! Choose one of these quick breakfasts instead.



Protein Bars
They’re advertised as must-haves for exercise enthusiasts but the truth is, protein bars can undo all those calories burned by piling on 4 to 7 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Look for bars sweetened with fruit purees and avoid ones that are dipped or drenched in chocolate and other sweet coatings.



Low-Fat Yogurts
There are a lot of different yogurts out there, but on average, an 8-ounce portion of fruit-flavored yogurt packs in 7 teaspoons of sugar. Plain yogurt with fresh fruit (and maybe a light drizzle of honey) is the way to go.


Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (4)

  1. [...] Insta-Breakfasts Toaster tarts and instant flavored oatmeal may seem like healthy grab-and-go options, but each serving offers up …read more [...]

  2. Carina says:

    Although everybody needs glucose for energy, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing just like everything else. I love sugar myself and since I am a big tea drinker I love my tea sweet, especially my chamomile tea. As a person who decided to start a healthier lifestyle I cut out of my diet any added sugar. Sugar is called so many different things, glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, syrup, etc. Everybody needs to read the labels whenever they buy something frozen or processed. For example a lot of yogurts, especially the ones meant for children, are loaded with sugar. The best option to bypass this problem is to buy a plain yogurt, read the ingredient list to make sure there is no additives or any added sugar and then sweeten it yourself. You can add nuts, granola or even honey with is definitely much healthier than any white processed sugar. Also everything that has corn syrup is dangerous. If a person the five fruits and veggies a day rule and drinks milk for breakfast they are already getting quite a lot of sugar. Carbohydrates are also sugar, therefore beware of sugar in hidden places.

  3. [...] only in sweet foods like soda, cakes and ice cream. Researchers cautioned that savory foods like salad dressing also contain added [...]

  4. Guest says:

    The author has not done due diligence or is horribly misinformed. I am diabetic and have to know sugar as well as carbohydrate counts for foods, requiring less than 20 carbs per meal each day. It takes a simple reading of labels to note sugar/fructose/glucose as an ingredient and your clue is the carbohydrate count, with it broken down into fibers and sugars just below that. .

    Low fat salad dressings (just like low fat yogurt in the example) have far more sugar than regular salad dressing. Oil, balsamic and herb salad dressings are also low in sugar-oil and strawberry balsamic has sugar added.

    Protein bars have far less sugar than meal replacement bars, granola bars, etc.

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