Think just because you’re buying “health food” that you’re not eating too much sugar? Sadly, even products that look good for you are often crammed with cane juice, agave nectar or other fancy versions of plain, old sugar. (Did you know that agave nectar has more fructose than high-fructose corn syrup?) Even foods made from fruit, like juice and raisins, have high sugar concentrations — so unprocessed fruit is better.
No matter what you call it, sugar is addictive and adds empty calories to your day because it doesn’t have any of the nutrients your body needs, but can still make you fat. It also spikes your blood sugar, leading to an inevitable crash that leaves you tired, irritable and hungry…for more sugar.
Every one of these supposed health foods has more sugar than a glazed donut from Dunkin Donuts, which packs in 12 grams of the sweet-yet-evil stuff. You’d just never know it by the marketing.
- Whole Foods Vanilla Granola – 18 grams of sugar in just half a cup. Many, many cereals that seem healthy are real sugar bombs, so read those labels!
- Trader Joe’s Organic Cinnamon-Spice Oatmeal – 13 grams of sugar per serving. Just get plain oatmeal and add your own fruit and cinnamon. It tastes better, anyway.
- Odwalla Superfood Juice – 34 grams of sugar per 11-ounce container. Most juices are very sugary, unfortunately, and they don’t have the fiber of whole fruits.
- Vanilla-Honey Greek Yogurt from Greek Gods – 32 grams of sugar per cup. As with oatmeal, buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit.
- Lipton All-Natural Iced Green Tea with Passionfruit Mango – 13 grams of sugar per cup. Stick with home-brewed tea, which has no sugar but more healthy catechins. Make a big batch, and stick it in the fridge for when you’re thirsty.
- Dried Fruit Mix from Deerfield Farms – 21 grams of sugar per third of a cup. Dried fruit is still OK to eat, but have just a little bit.
- Raisins, any brand – 25 grams of sugar per 1.5 ounces. Again, have some raisins but be smart about it.
- Dole Fruit Bowls – 18 grams of sugar per individually packaged cup. Whole fruit is better! (Excess plastic alert here, too.)
- Power Bar, peanut butter flavor – 21 grams of sugar per bar. Most energy bars are just glorified candy.
- Nature Valley Chewy Granola Bar, vanilla yogurt flavor – 13 grams of sugar per bar. Their crunchy bars are better, but most granola bars have tons of sugar.
- Campbell’s Soup on the Go, Classic Tomato – 17 grams of sugar per serving. Probably not a shocker – natural soup brands are much better for you. (Another disposable-plastic alert here, too.)
- Fiber One Apple Cinnamon Premium Muffin Mix – 14 grams of sugar per serving, unprepared. Sorry — muffins are sugary, even when they have fiber.
- Nesquick Strawberry Low Fat Milk – 30 grams of sugar per cup (ouch!!). This one’s particularly bad because it targets kids. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk is a much better choice to satisfy the sweet, creamy beverage urge.
And now for one almost-made-it: pasta sauce. I love Newman’s Own, but their Tomato & Basil Spaghetti Sauce has 12 grams of sugar per half-cup, same as the donut. Versions from other big names like Prego and Bertolli have about that much sugar, too. I get it — tomato sauce can taste bitter. But plenty of us love the bolder, unsweetened taste of pasta sauce that hasn’t been smothered in sugar. Food makers, take note.