5 Foods With Hidden Sugar!

First things first! Let me clarify, the “bad sugar” that I am talking about is “processed sugar” or sugar artificially added to food! The white sugar that you commonly get at the super market falls in this category. Most of the store bought brands of maple syrup, simple syrup, honey and agave nectar are also forms of processed sugar, unless you get your hands on raw unprocessed honey or agave nectar.

Why is sugar so bad for you?

1. Sugar in itself contains no essential nutrients! Though it is naturally present in many foods, by itself, it contains:
No protein
No healthy fats
No enzymes
No vitamins

Hence, it is classified as a food with “empty calories”. There is absolutely no physiological reason our body needs refined or processed sugar. The natural sugar present in fruits and vegetables digests slower in the body due to the fiber, vitamins and enzymes in these foods and basically helps the body deal with that sugar better.

2. Eating processed sugar as a part of your daily meals can lead to “insulin resistance” which can contribute to many diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

3. Sugar is bad for your teeth as it provides the bad bacteria in your mouth easy access to energy!

4. Processed sugars have an addictive effect on your body and instead of filling you up, you crave for more. All that excess sugar gets converted to fat!

All this is less significant, if you are an athlete and live a very active lifestyle or eat very small quantities of sugar per day, but it is impossible to completely avoid sugar in today’s world as it is present is most of the processed foods including bread, pre-made sauces, dressings, tomato ketchup and most of the other commonly bought items at the grocery store. If you just open your fridge and check the labels of 5 random items, chances are that they will have a few grams of sugar in them!

All the processed food that you put in your body through out the day adds up to way too much sugar!

So how much sugar is too much?
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:
Men: 37.5 grams
Women: 25 grams

Now this includes sugar in all your foods through out the day! Just to put this information into perspective, 1 medium (Grande) cup of Café Mocha at Starbucks contains 35 grams of sugar! That is already way more than a woman’s daily limit. So if you are eating other processed foods like bread, ketchup, pre-made pasta sauce etc. you are basically setting up your metabolism to fail over time.

Now lets talk about some foods that you might think are healthy but are actually loaded with hidden sugar:

1. Fruit Juices: When you make juice out of fruits, you are basically removing its vital nutrients and fiber and keeping all the sugar. Having fruit juice is like having a glass of flavored sugary water. Stick to whole fruit instead!

2. Protein Bars: There are so many brands of protein bars out there and people often think that anything with 20+ grams of protein is healthy. Some of these bars have so much sugar that it outweighs the benefits of the protein in them. Make sure you read the labels of your protein bars before deciding they are your favorite.

3. Coffee Drinks: Most coffee drinks at coffee chains are loaded with sugar. The best thing you can do is ask how much sugar your drink contains before ordering it. You might not believe it, but some of the Frappuccino’s, Lattes and Mochas have up to 40 grams of sugar per drink! If you have to have Starbucks, have a regular coffee!

4. Flavored Non-Fat Yogurt: Most of the “non-fat” flavored yogurts are packed with sugar. It is much better to have plain yogurt instead. Add some real fruit on it if you like.

5. Cereal: Most kids and many adults have cereal as their first meal.  Unfortunately most of these brands have way too much sugar. Make sure you check the labels of your cereal. It is a much better idea to make yourself a wholesome omelet with vegetables instead.

Hidden Sugar

Check the labels of foods you eat, ask if you are unsure! Eliminate processed sugar from your day-to-day meals. Have natural sugar present in whole fruits, vegetables or raw honey instead. Watch the portion sizes of how much sugar you are eating everyday and add regular exercise to your lifestyle. This will be a huge game changer in the way you look and feel!