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Six Food Products You’d Be Surprised Contain Added Sugar

Six Food Products You’d Be Surprised Contain Added Sugar

You may be craving a grilled chicken sandwich so you find the leanest chicken and the freshest vegetables on the healthiest bun there is in the grocery store. So far, a healthy meal. But you decide, “What’s a grilled chicken sandwich without a little sauce? So, you give your bottle of BBQ sauce a couple of squeezes and eat your completed masterpiece. But while you’ve done as good of a job as you can to make that sandwich healthy, you forgot one thing: that BBQ  sauce contains added sugar. So much for a healthy meal. 

While it may not be surprising to you that so many of your favorite products in the grocery store aren’t as healthy as whole foods, you might not think that they’re the source of serious portions of added sugar to your daily intake. If you need to be careful of the amount of sugar you are consuming for health reasons, you should take a careful look at the nutrition facts on some of your favorite products. Luckily for you, UPGRAID has put together a list of six of the most common products in your pantry that contain added sugar.

Natural vs. Added Sugar: What’s the Difference 

To put it simply, added sugar is any sugar that was added to the food at some point, while naturally occurring sugar is just inherently already in the food. Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). Added sugars include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as putting sugar in your coffee or adding sugar to your cereal).

Six Food Products That May Surprise You 

Which common foods in your pantry contain added sugars? Here’s a list of six of these food products that may surprise you….

  1. Ketchup

How much added sugar does 1 tablespoon of Ketchup contain?

There are 4 grams of added sugar in 1 tablespoon of Ketchup.

What’s going on here?

Unfortunately for one of the most popular condiments, ketchup is one of the biggest culprits among condiments that are high in sugar. While tomatoes are at the center of this condiment, what you’re tasting is tomato concentrate from red tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, various spices, onion powder, and “natural” flavoring. Studies have shown that high fructose corn syrup increases the blood sugar levels and has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, immune system.
  1. Salsa

How much added sugar does 1 cup of salsa contain?

There are 4 grams of added sugar in 1 cup of salsa.

What’s going on here?

Whether you’re using salsa on a taco or chips, a jar of salsa may be delicious, but don’t let the spiciness fool you: there’s a lot of sugar in there, too. Sugar is often put into salsa to cut the acidity and add a slightly sweet flavor (it also helps to preserve the salsa, as well) so that it can stay on the store shelf far longer than the homemade stuff.
  1. White Bread

How much added sugar is in one slice of white bread?

There are 2 grams of added sugar in one slice of white bread.

What’s going on here?

The first question most people have about white bread isn’t likely, “I wonder how much added sugar is in this?” Refined starches found in white bread act a lot like sugar once the body starts to digest them. Just like sugar, refined starches interfere with glucose control and should be avoided by those with diabetes. White bread companies typically add sugar to their products during manufacturing. In one major brand, for example, sugar is the third ingredient behind flour and water.
  1. Fat-Free Ranch Salad Dressing

How much added sugar is in one tablespoon of salad dressing?

There are 4 grams of added sugar in one tablespoon of fat-free ranch salad dressing. 

What’s going on here? 

While nearly all store-bought salad dressings contain added sugar, we decided to focus on the ranch variety due to its popularity and the fact it is one of the few dressings that is used not just in vegetable salads, but with other snacks, as well (such as dips for wings and chips, for example). We also chose to focus on “fat-free” because labels are deceiving. The reality is that more often than not, “fat-free” dressings have significantly more added sugar than the full-fat variety.

While the average serving of fat-free ranch contains 4 grams of sugar, some popular salad dressings that aren’t of the ranch variety have up to 10 grams of sugar per serving. TEN! Flooding your body with sugar can spike your blood sugar, make you hungrier later, and add inches to your waistline. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men. 

The reason for so much sugar in some salad dressings is quite simple: it tastes good. Plus, it helps to cut the vinegary/acidic taste that many dressings have and may otherwise be overwhelming for the majority of people’s palates. 
  1. Canned Tomato Soup

How much added sugar is in one can of tomato soup?

There are 20 grams of added sugar in one can of tomato soup.

What’s going on here?

Yes, you read that right. There are 20g of sugar in a can of tomato soup. That’s the equivalent of two glazed donuts. One of the primary ingredients in this soup is high fructose corn syrup (see Ketchup section). There’s no particular reason why so much sugar is found in this soup, but simply because it tastes good and keeps consumers coming back for more. The inexpensiveness of these soups (often around $1) makes them especially enticing for cost-conscious consumers looking for an easy-to-make meal. 
To check for added and artificial sugars in your soup, look at the ingredient list for names such as:
    • Sucrose
    • Barley malt
    • Dextrose
    • Maltose

The higher up on the list an ingredient is, the higher its content in the product. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that when manufacturers list small amounts of different sugars, as that’s another sign the product could be high in total sugar. 

  1. Low-Fat Yogurt

How much added sugar is in one cup of low-fat yogurt? 

There are 20 grams of added sugar in one cup of low-fat yogurt.

What’s going on here? 

Ah, a common, yet unfortunate mistake for calorie conscious individuals is believing that “low-fat” means it’s healthier for you than the full-fat option. The reality is that low- fat yogurts have sugar added to them to enhance flavor. The alternative here would be unsweetened, organic Greek yogurt OR an unsweetened plant-based yogurt. These alternatives are typically “full fat” but with no added sugars. 

The Importance of Family History 

Because of family history, you may be advised to watch your added sugar intake or simply, you may be trying to lose weight since added sugar turns into fat. Products with added sugars are foods that are processed, which means that there’s a decent chance other important nutrients could have been stripped out in the process of making the food sweeter and more desirable for consumers.

Not All Gloom and Doom

Although this may bum you out, don’t fret because there are ways to still enjoy these products or one’s like them while still enjoying a meal.  

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are other ways to enjoy these products or ones similar to them via healthy alternatives. When it comes to ketchup and salad dressing, look for sugar-free options. The healthiest salsa and tomato soup is always the homemade version made from fresh tomatoes and any other vegetables (or fruit) you’d like to use to zest it up. Next time you crave bread, try seven grain or whole wheat and if you’re a yogurt fan, give sugar-free yogurts like the Greek version a try.

Healthier options are always available so research the next time you’re looking to curb the added sugar intake with some of your favorite foods!

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