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Hidden Sugars in Healthy Foods

Hidden sugar in healthy foods

Do you have sugar overload? We have written many articles about sugar and the recommended amounts of sugar to consume. As a quick reminder, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the World Health Organization recommend that less than 10 percent of calories come from added sugars. For a 2,000 calorie diet, that is about 12 teaspoons (48 grams) of sugar. Although many people now know to limit added sugars, a problem remains: sugar is lurking in so many foods, even those we think are healthy.

Take granola, for example. A leading brand of granola has 12 grams of sugar in one-half cup serving. That’s one quarter of the amount of sugar recommended for the entire day. The grams of sugar creep up if you consume more than one serving. Yogurt is another food that we generally think of as being healthy, however, a leading brand of yogurt contains 21 grams of sugar in one container. Some of that comes from the sugar naturally present in milk (lactose), but most of it is added sugar. Even salad dressings and whole wheat bread often contain added sugar. These foods are usually only one part of an entire meal. If any other meal component contains sugars, the sugar content increases quickly, turning a “healthy” meal into a sugar-heavy one.

We rounded up some examples of healthy snacks. You can enjoy these without worrying about added sugars. - RXBARs (sweetened with dates) - Larabar (sweetened with dates) - Brami snacks - The Good Bean (sea salt and cracked pepper flavors) - Enlightened Roasted Broad Bean Chips (garlic and onion and sea salt flavors) - Fruit (apples, oranges, bananas, peaches and nectarines)

Bottom Line: Look at all of your food labels, even those you think are “healthy.” If the amount of sugar is high, look for lower sugar alternatives.

Written by: Abby Cannon, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern


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