When you pick up a box of doughnuts or cookies, you’re typically not surprised to see that the offering contains loads of sugar. However, there are also foods that aren’t typically thought of as overly sweet that actually pack a shocking sugar punch. A few things to always keep in mind: Be wary of a product that’s labeled as nutritious, and don’t assume a food is low in sugar just because its brand sounds healthy. Here are seven surprising foods to watch out for.
1. Canned or packaged fruit
Make sure you don’t assume that everything labeled as fruit is healthy. Web MD writes that packaged or canned fruit is packed with sugar, even those items with labels that say “in light syrup” or “made with real fruit.” This includes products like apple sauce, fruit chillers, and canned fruit.
Specifically, Web MD suggests keeping an eye out for DelMonte Fruit Chillers Frozen Fruit Sorbet, which contains 26 grams of sugar in one individual cup; Motts Apple Sauce, which contains 22 to 23 grams; Dole diced peaches in light syrup, which contain 18 grams of sugar; and DelMonte diced pears or mandarin oranges in light syrup, which have 17 grams of sugar.
These packaged fruits are in the same ballpark as a standard-size chocolate candy bar, which contains 27 grams of sugar, according to Women’s Health.
2. Flavored yogurt
Not all yogurt is equal when it comes to nutrition. Take Greek yogurt, for example. It’s filled with protein and calcium, creating a delicious food that can be eaten as a snack or used as an ingredient in a meal. But when you opt for a flavored yogurt, Cosmopolitan reports that it can contain up to 20 grams of sugar. An unflavored yogurt contains about a third of the sugar that flavored yogurts have.
Similarly, in a typical 6-ounce container of fruit-flavored yogurt, there are 26 grams, more than half of which is added sugar, according to Business Insider. Two fruit-flavored yogurts are the equivalent to two chocolate glazed donuts.
3. Protein bars
If you rely on protein bars for the occasional meal or snack, it may be time to re-evaluate. Men’s Fitness writes that there are 20 grams of sugar in a Clif Builder’s Protein Bar. Many protein bars are advertised to be healthy options for diet-conscious people, but they’re usually packed with unhealthy ingredients. Need more proof? According to Women’s Health, a PowerBar Performance Energy Bar in Citrus Burst contains a staggering 29 grams.
If your diet is already high in sugar, you may want to consider switching out your bars for raw almonds, peanuts, or seeds instead, according to Men’s Fitness. Also, always make sure to read labels first to ensure you aren’t buying a protein bar that’s oozing with sugar and artificial ingredients.
4. Fruit juice
Juice is usually thought of as a healthy, good-for-you option. However, its sugar content can be through the roof. Take grape juice, for example. Women’s Health writes that an 8-ounce glass of grape juice is packed with a whopping 36 grams. Additionally, a 10-ounce bottle of pure apple juice can have as many as 32 grams of sugar, according to Everyday Health.
This goes for juice that is labeled as 100% natural juice in addition to those that are labeled as only containing natural sugars. It always pays to read the label, but you should anticipate juice usually being extraordinarily high in sugar. The worst part? Juice isn’t filling, and it certainly won’t curb your hunger. Rather than reaching for juice, Everyday Health recommends choosing fresh fruit instead. Yes, it’ll have sugar, but it also has filling fiber, making it a more satisfying choice.
5. Bottled teas
Just because it has the word “tea” in its title doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Many people reach for a bottle of iced tea when they’re thirsty — after all, it’s a cool, refreshing drink that’s often deemed as a healthy food. The next time you reach for a bottle of sweet tea, though, take a moment to look at its label. You will probably have to do a double take when you see the sugar content.
Men’s Fitness writes that drinking one 20-ounce bottle of Arizona Iced Tea with Lemon contains a staggering 59 grams. If that doesn’t seem like a lot, think about it like this: You could eat two normal-size chocolate bars for 54 grams. Your best best here is to forgo the iced tea and stick to good old-fashioned water. If you need a hint of flavor, try soaking some lemon or lime slices in a pitcher of water overnight for a taste of citrus.
6. Dried fruit
Dried fruit has its advantages. It’s high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, offering plenty of overall health benefits. However, indulging in too much dried fruit can cause a sugar overload. According to Everyday Health, just five to six pitted dates can contain 32 grams of sugar.
This isn’t something you need to give up entirely. Instead, make sure you monitor how much you’re eating, and stop after a few pieces of dried fruit. Avoid dried pineapple, banana chips, cranberries, and watermelon, per FitDay.
Dried pineapple is usually coated in refined sugar, while banana chips are typically deep fried and sweetened. Cranberries usually have sweeteners added, and dried watermelon contains plenty of sugar but not very many nutrients. Instead, aim for dried apples, apricots, mangoes, cherries, figs, papayas, blueberries, and raisins, FitDay reports.
7. Frozen breakfast foods
When you think of frozen breakfast foods that include items such as sausage and cheese, you might not expect them to be high in sugar. Surprisingly, these foods are typically bursting with sugar. For example, Web MD writes that a Jimmy Dean sausage and cheese croissant breakfast entree can contain up to 21 grams per serving.
If you eat three Eggo cinnamon toast waffles, you’ll quickly consume 17 grams of sugar, and a Jimmy Dean scrambled eggs with sausage and cheese breakfast entree contains 16 grams. Furthermore, two Eggo French toast cinnamon sticks will serve you up 15 grams of sugar for breakfast, per Web MD.