As you virtuously reach for your fat free yogurt with low fat granola and trail mix while eschewing a croissant you may be sabotaging your diet. They say that hell is filled with the best of intentions. Who would have thought that a croissant would be a healthier option than low fat, high protein goodness? Welcome to the world of hidden sugars. Manufacturers are getting lazy and don’t want you to look at the labels too closely or else you will find the cause of your unexplained weight gain and slow metabolism. Sugar! Just looking at labels the first ingredient is the one that is found in the highest amounts and decreases as you go down the list.
You’ve cleaned out your cupboards and emptied the deserts from your freezer. Where are all the little hidden granules are hiding? Check out the top ten foods that pretend to be sugar free but are evil impostors.
1.) Ketchup – It is not a vegetable, fruit or anything else for that matter but a little sneaky way to add more sugar to your diet as sugar is only the second ingredient.
2.) Pasta Sauce – Sadly most of the standard pasta sauces are swimming in sugar. I remember looking on in horror as my Italian Grandmother added a mere teaspoon of sugar to a homemade pasta sauce made with real tomatoes when that tiny addition was hardly anything in comparison to the copious amounts of sugar added to pre-made pasta sauces in your local grocer. Sadly, some of the most popular labels have sugar listed as the second ingredient.
3.) Cereal – I am not talking about Cocoa Puffs or Milo Flakes. “Healthy” low fat granola can contain as much as 20 grams of sugar per serving!
4.) Your favorite trail mix could have hidden sugars. Check the ingredients. If it says sugar you know that you have been duped. Why should something with naturally sweet fruit need added sugar? Some manufacturers try to get clever by mentioning “evaporated cane juice” instead, which is just sugar.
5.) Fruit Juice – Check the labels of your favorite fruit juice to make sure you are actually getting juice and not sugar water. If the labels say 10-30% juice be prepared to be doused with a lump of sugar. Where is the juice in fruit juice?
6.) Canned Soup – Don’t be fooled by the salt. Your favorite soup could be swimming with gobs of sugar waiting to expand your waistline and give your dentist a cash advance on a new sports car! Take Campbell’s Tomato Soup, for example. Did you know the second ingredient on the label is high fructose corn syrup?
7.) Fruity Yogurt – If you think your strawberry yogurt is healthy check out the label. The chances are that it is filled with more sugar than fruit. For a healthy alternative, add crushed strawberries or frozen mixed berries to your favorite plain yogurt and mix it with a little honey. You will get the same sweetness with a healthier sugar alternative.
8.) Muesli Bars – While snack bars are delicious and can be nutritious if they have whole grains, healthy fats and fruit, some are filled with hidden sugars that are extra calories and leave you feeling less satisfied. If sugar is added, make sure it is at least the fifth ingredient or that alternative sweeteners, such as honey or agave nectar are added.
9.) Fat Free Dairy Products – What they lack in fat they compensate for with sugars and fillers. If you think you are being good to your waistline you are actually sabotaging it with extra sugar. The average low fat yogurt contains about 25 grams of sugar! That’s more sugar than a Snickers bar. You may as well have the Snickers. At least it will satisfy you.
10.) Salad Dressing – Watch out for fat free salad dressing. It may seem healthy but you may as well pour maple syrup all over your salad. Trying to cut fats? Try white balsamic vinegar on your salad and drizzle with toasted sesame seeds. If you want to be more daring try salad without the dressing
These are just some of the little hints that I share with my clients to tweak their diet even more.
Nutritiongal – AADP Certified Health Coach
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