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The Truth about Hidden Sugars: A Risk for Health

Course Number: 558

Surprisingly Sweet

It is no surprise that chocolate, fizzy drinks, and baked goods have added sugars. But many consumers are fooled by “healthy” sounding foods that contain added sugars to enhance flavor. Below are a list of common culprits.

  • Granola cereal and bars: these may look healthy and make for a quick breakfast option in the morning, but many are processed and can contain as much sugar as a chocolate bar.7 You’re better off mixing walnuts, almonds, or seeds with some dried fruit for a quick and healthy breakfast option.

  • Salad dressing: most people enjoy a salad for the “crunch” and to fulfill their daily vegetable requirement. But dressing like French, Thousand Island, and even oil-based dressing, claiming to be “low-fat,” can contain 9-10 grams of sugar in two-tablespoons.6


    The best option is to make your own dressing using olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon or fresh herbs like garlic, chives or cilantro.

  • Flavored yogurt: all yogurts contain some sugar in the form of lactose, but many flavored yogurts contain added sugars, often as high fructose corn syrup. The best option is to purchase plain Greek style yogurt and add a sprinkle of cinnamon or fresh berries.

  • Frozen vegetables and meals: pre-packaged convenient foods can contain a surprising amount of both sugar and sodium, especially when sauce is included. Many have as much as 30-40 grams per serving of added sugars.6 Read labels carefully and choose sauce-free options when available.

  • Condiments: adding sauces like barbecue, ketchup, mayonnaise, and Sriracha can account for 80% of the calories and 12 grams of sugar, not to mention the amount of sodium in these sweet and savory condiments. Better alternatives include hummus, mustard, and hot sauce.