Thursday, February 14, 2013

Top 10 Sources Of Hidden Sugar In The American Diet

In my opinion, sugar is the most serious problem with the American diet. As a nation, we consume a ton of it!  It has been shown in the research literature to increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.  What makes sugar so dangerous is its addictive quality.  The more you have, the more you want.  It is very hard to do sugar part time.  In 15 years of working with clients, I have found that the only way to deal with sugar is to avoid it 100%.  Once you are off of it for a period of 2 weeks, you honestly won’t even miss it.  But if you have it now and again, your cravings for it will be a daily battle.

Most sources of sugar are quite obvious to my clients: soda, cookies, cake, ice cream, etc.  However, there are a lot of hidden sources of sugar in the American diet.  I thought I’d use this post to list out the top 10.

10) Barbecue Sauce: Most brands have 2½ teaspoons of sugar in a 2 tablespoon serving. Many have even more than this.
9) Jelly And Jam: A 2 tablespoon serving provides a startling 6½ teaspoons of sugar.

8) Energy Bars: These are marketed as healthy, workout friendly snacks or meal replacements, but in most cases they are nutritionally equivalent to candy bars.  Most leading brands have over 6 teaspoons of sugar per bar.

7) Dried Fruit: Long considered healthy, raisins and other dried fruits are a huge source of hidden sugar in our diets.  A quarter cup serving of raisins has 7½ teaspoons of sugar.

6) Ketchup: A 2 tablespoon serving has 2 teaspoons of sugar. 

5) Low Fat Salad Dressing: When manufacturers reduce the fat in a product, they almost always add more sugar to improve the taste.  Most commercial low fat dressings pack 1½ to 2 teaspoons of sugar in a 2 tablespoon portion.  Since most people use more than this to dress their salad, the sugar can add up fast.

4) Vegetable Juice: When you separate the fiber from the sugar in a fruit or vegetable, you are left with a very high glycemic load beverage.  There are almost 2 teaspoons of sugar in an 8 oz glass of tomato-based vegetable juice.

3) Flavored Yogurts: These are perceived as a healthy choice for breakfast or for a high protein snack.  However, the typical flavored yogurt has 3¼ teaspoons of added sugars in a 6 ounce serving.

2) Balsamic Vinegar: This one is usually a shocker to my clients.  Balsamic vinegar can have a ton of sugar.  It really depends on the brand.  Check your labels.  I’ve seen balsamic vinegar that has 5 teaspoons of sugar in a 2 tablespoon serving! Make sure the one you use has a lot less.

1) Orange Juice: Long considered a healthy start to your day, orange juice is loaded with sugar.  While it is naturally occurring sugar, it is separated from the fiber in the orange, so it's impact on your blood sugar is dramatic.  You’ll find 5½ teaspoons of sugar in a typical 8 ounce glass of orange juice.