Sneaky Sources Of Sugar In Your Diet

At their most basic level, sugars are edible crystalline substances produced from sugar cane, sugar beet and other substances that are interpreted by human taste buds as “sweet”. Most often, you’ll find sugars masquerading as “fructose,” “sucrose,” and “lactose” on food packaging labels. Although sugar tastes great, consuming too much of it can lead to a number of negative health effects, including weight gain and type II diabetes.

Unfortunately, many food manufacturers sneak sugar into places you’d never expect – so you’ll need to do some detective work to find these hidden sources of sugar in your diet. The most commonly used sugar for altering the flavor, texture, preservation, and mouth-feel of beverages and food is sucrose.

The following are some of the sneakiest sources of dietary sugar that might catch your interest:

Sports drinks like Gatorade are notorious for containing excess minerals, salts and glucose. That’s why these products are often marketed towards athletes – as they can help them to replenish their energy after hard workouts. But if you’re not an athlete, you don’t need these extra compounds, so check the label for the amount of sugar in the beverage or look for low sugar varieties before you buy.

So-called “low fat foods” may contain less fat per serving, but you’ll need to check the label to make sure you’re not trading the benefits of lower fat foods for extra sugar and salt. Manufacturers often increase sugar or artificial flavorings to compensate for the loss of flavor in the food when fat is removed.

Heavily sweetened breakfast cereals are definitely sneaky sources of sugar, as many contain more than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Check the label before you dish these out to members of your family in the morning.

Energy bars that are covered in chocolate, caramel or yogurt-flavored coatings are another common source of hidden sugars. To avoid getting a sugar high from your post-workout snack, look for bars that contain less than 12-15 grams of sugar per serving.

It’s no surprise that milkshakes and other sweetened beverages like milkshakes are loaded with sugars and calories, but did you know that fancy coffee drinks are equally as guilty? Instead of ordering that grande mocha caramel frappuccino, try a non-fat latte for your morning caffeine fix.

Fruit yogurts are often loaded with added sugar to help cut the sour taste of plain yogurt.

Asian vegetable bowls and teriyaki chicken dishes may have more than 3 teaspoons of sugar a piece. Asian pad thai noodles are an even bigger offender with over 7 teaspoons of sugar.

Sugar is an important and necessary part of any human diet, which makes it a surprisingly complex subject. Sugar, by itself, isn’t the culprit, because the body needs carbohydrates like sugar for energy. However, the real danger lies in the amount of added sugar that’s creeping into our diets through supersized portions, processed foods, and the intense marketing of super-sweet foods. These sugary foods – no matter what type of sugar is used – are redefining human taste preferences. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of sneaky sugar sources so that you can regulate your intake and reduce your chance of suffering from sugar-induced diseases like obesity and diabetes.