Sneaky Sugars: 5 "healthy" foods to look out for

Approximately 80% of our food supply has some form of hidden or added sugar! With that statistic, it’s no surprise that even healthy foods (or what we think of as healthy foods) have hidden sugars.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons for women and men, respectively, a day. The average adult is having 3 to 4 times more sugar on a daily basis! 

The World Health Association takes it a step further and recommends that no more than 5% of your calorie intake should be from added sugars. Therefore, a person consuming 1500 calories a day would be entitled to 4.7 teaspoons or sugar packets of added sugars per day whereas a person with a 2400 calorie diet could consume about 7.5 teaspoons of added sugars per day. Regardless, our intake is definitely more than the recommendations. 

Keep your eyes open for the following “healthy” foods:

1. Whole grain cereals or granolas. If you are not careful, ¾ cup can be up to 16 grams of sugar (about 4 teaspoons).

  • BN Tip: Don’t choose cereals that are described as crunchy, crispy or with clusters. I prefer muesli over granola, since it’s not coated with sugar. Try Bushwick Nutrition’s version of a healthy granola

2. Flavored yogurt. Yogurt naturally has sugar called lactose, but it’s the added sugars that come with the “fruit” or “vanilla” yogurts that are the killer.

  • BN Tip: Check the ingredient list for added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup. Even children’s yogurts like GoGurt have up to 3 different types of added sugars! Choose Greek yogurt since it has double the amount of protein and add whole fruit yourself.

3. Tomato sauce. In order to counter act the acidity of the tomato products, tomato sauce has become one of the condiments with the highest amount of sugar. One tablespoon has about 1 teaspoon of sugar.

  • BN Tip: Read the ingredients, monitor your portions, or even better, make your own

4. Peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter). Brands are still adding sugar and/or oil to make the nut butters smoother, but definitely not healthier.

  • BN Tip: Peanut butter should only have peanut and salt. Keep it simple. 

5. Breads. You’ll be surprised to know that even “whole wheat or high fiber” breads have added sugars, usually in the top five ingredients. A slice has around 1 teaspoon of sugar. Sugars are added to increase shelf life.

  • BN Tip: Check labels before buying, purchase local or consider baking your own. 

Start breaking the sugar habit. Stop eating “healthy foods” that have way too much hidden sugars.

Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN. Originally posted on NYHRC Social Media. 

Edited by Debi Zvi, RD, CDN