Too Sweet to Eat: Surprising Places Sugar Hides in Your Favorite Foods

When you’re trying to avoid sweets, you know to avoid sugar, soda, cookies, and obvious candy-looking things. But, some foods contain a shocking amount of sugar in all its many forms. Here’s how to spot it and how to avoid it.




Tomato Sauce

One of the biggest offenders is canned tomato sauce and its variants. Believe it or not, many manufacturers add sugar to plain old tomatoes, partially as a recipe for preserving the food, but also for taste.

BBQ sauce, ketchup, pasta sauce, and even regular canned tomatoes can contain added sugar, so be on the lookout and really watch the labels. The only way to avoid it for sure is to buy fresh. But, some brands offer “sugar free” or “no sugar added” options that will be lower in sugar.

Fruit Yogurt

To make yogurt taste like something other than soured milk, many manufacturers add fruit and, you guessed it, sugar. It seems like the human palette is intolerant of anything except “sweet.” But, you can dig up plain yogurt in the dairy section if you’re willing to look for it, and Best Days has some interesting diabetic recipes that can help you figure out how to spice up this health food powerhouse so that you get all of the benefits with no blood sugar spike.

Chinese Takeout

They don’t call it “sweet and sour” for nothing. Aside from MSG and sodium, Chinese takeout can often be loaded with sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. It’s used as a base in many of the menu items, and acts as a thickener. Hey, nothing adds bulk like cheap sugar. As an alternative, try choosing options that do not come with syrupy coatings. Or, try ordering fresh Chinese food with water-based or fish-stock based sauces.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit often contains added sugar. But, even when it’s “no sugar added,” the fruit itself is very sugary. A cup of raisins, for example, can contain 86 grams of sugar, and that’s unpacked fruit. If you do opt for this as a healthy snack, try to keep the portion sizes really small. The dehydration process concentrates fruit sugars. That’s why they taste so good. But, it’s also why they’re so sugary.

As an alternative, you can try going with fresh fruit. It’ll be at least as healthy and contain much less sugar per serving size, due to the water.

Granola Bars

Granola bars are filled to the brim with sugar, which is weird because these are heavily marketed as health foods. Ditch them, and either make your own or go with whole food options, like fruit.

Salad Dressing

Salad dressing is another sneaky place that manufacturers hide sugar. It adds flavor to otherwise bland dressings, and it also acts as a part of the preservative mix that goes into every commercial salad dressing.

Some dressings, however, have little or no sugar, like blue cheese dressing. So, choose these when available. Also, good old oil and vinegar will have no sugar in it, aside from trace amounts contained in the vinegar.

Robert Mason is a father of five and an avid writer. He enjoys researching and writing about health and wellness topics in order to keep his family and others healthy. You can read his informative articles on a number of websites and blog sites today.