In case you didn’t know — sugar is addictive, and food companies all over America are getting rich off this fact. By hiding added sugar in nearly all processed foods, including ones we usually think are healthy, they keep our taste buds happy and keep us coming back for more.
Given the incredible danger that sugar consumption places on obesity and diabetes risk, it’s important that people exhibit caution towards processed foods, even those considered “healthy.” Beware of the sneaky foods on this list that are disguised to seem more nutritious than they really are.
1. Whole Wheat Bread
Yep, we’re talking about the bread that people see in the grocery store, with words like “grain,” “whole,” and “wheat” and automatically throw in the cart. Yes, it is better than white bread, but did you know that most packaged whole wheat bread contains sugar? It is usually the third or fourth ingredient behind wheat flour, water, and yeast.
You will often see bread brands advertise “No High-Fructose Corn Syrup,” an ingredient America thinks of like the wizarding world thinks of the name “Voldemort.” This marketing scheme tricks consumers into thinking the bread must be even healthier, because it lacks “that which shall not be named.” Even though there is no corn syrup, there is still added sugar.
Sugar occurs naturally in yogurt in the form of lactose. You would think that would be enough, right? Nah. Food companies know how much we Americans like sugar, so they decided to sneak some more in there. Yogurt is one of the biggest culprits of added sugar, especially those that are fruit flavored.
3. Fat Free Salad Dressing
The following statement is something you need to understand: fat-free does not always mean healthier. Ever wonder how they make things that are fat-free still taste so dang delicious? They add sugar.
In salad dressings, you can often find it as the second or third ingredient. Don’t negate the wonderful healthiness of a salad by coating it in liquid sugar. Don’t do it. Check the ingredients of your dressing or make your own so you know exactly what is in it.
4. Protein/Granola Bars
Don’t let the healthy-looking, nature-esque packaging trick you. These types of bars are almost always hiding sugar — Clif Bars especially, pack around 20 grams of sugar, which is only five grams less than the daily recommended intake of added sugar for adult women.
And while some of the sugars in these bars may be naturally occurring, there is still a great deal of added sugar hiding under names like “organic agave” and “organic cane syrup.”
5. Whole Grain Cereals
While these are still a heck of a lot better than starting your day off with our friends Cap’n Crunch or Tony the Tiger, these cereals usually still have added sugar. To make up for the fact that the actual cereal probably tastes like a branch, companies feel the need to add that “little” something extra.
This is not to say you should never eat the foods on this list — you just need to know what’s in your food, and how to make better eating choices based on the ingredients. The New York Times says, “The average American consumes anywhere from a quarter to a half pound of sugar a day.” That’s insane, but knowing where sugar is hidden can make sure you don’t fall into this trap.