We all know that sugar needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. It might be one of the most moreish things on the menu, but as hundreds of fun-hating scientists have been all too happy to point out, it isn’t always as sweet as it seems. Eating to much can cause health complications like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, if you aren’t careful.
With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to recognise where harmful sugars may be hiding. For some foods, it’s easy to recognise where there might be hidden danger. For others, it’s far less straightforward. Here are the seven most unexpectedly sugary foods on earth.
1. Low-Fat Yoghurt
You’d be forgiven for thinking that “Low-Fat” is just another way of saying “super healthy”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In order to replace the flavour that is removed with the fat, most low-fat yoghurt producers inject their product with high quantities of excess sugar, sometimes making up as much as 20% of the total ingredients.
Ketchup, barbecue and sweet chilli sauces might be a great way to round off a meal, but there’s a more sinister side to tasting delicious. The majority of major condiment manufacturers include massive amounts of sugar in their ingredients lists, with ketchup often containing as much as 22g per 100g.
3. Fruit Juice
You won’t get very far if you refuse to eat fruit. That being said, there’s a wrong way and a right way to go about getting your five a day. Fruit juice, contrary to what the label might suggest, is often way worse for you than simply eating an apple or an orange, as it can take many more fruits to produce the requisite amount of juice than you would normally consume in a sitting. This means that an already sugary product is concentrated, making it easily to inadvertently consume a lot of sugar very quickly.
4. Canned Sauces
When you’re in a rush and you want something simple to cook, it can be tempting to turn to prepared pasta sauces and soups. This is a mistake if you want to watch your sugar intake. Not only do many such sauces contain naturally sugary tomatoes, but many companies add their own sugar to enhance flavour. If you want to know exactly what’s in your dinner, you’re better off making it from scratch.
5. Sports Drinks
Since they’re always advertised by super fit and sexy people, it’s easy to think that sports drinks are a healthy choice. Unfortunately, they are also explicitly designed to supply sugars that can be quickly converted into energy - all well and good if you’re running a marathon, not ideal if you’re sitting on the sofa.
Even though they’ve been the cornerstone of almost every childhood, cereal bowls are not all they’re cracked up to be. Whether you’re a fan of nostalgic Lucky Charms, or think you’re being virtuous by choosing granola, the chances are that you are accidentally injecting yourself with a sizable dose of sugar every morning. Added as a flavour enhancer and a preservative, you’ll struggle to find a cereal that isn’t sugar rich.
Learning that all your favourite foods are going to put you in a sugary grave is enough to make anyone want a drink. Alas, even the pub isn’t safe. Since all alcohol is made by the fermentation of natural sugars, it therefore follows that every alcoholic drinks is an innocent-looking sugar bomb. Beers, ciders, wine and mixers are all high on the list of sugary offenders.
If you’re looking to cut down on your sugar intake, it’s relatively easy to avoid the usual suspects. Everyone knows that soft drinks, sweets and the like are all best left alone. It’s much harder to accept that some of the foods we eat every day can be just as bad.