Sugar substitutes are becoming commonplace in food products—even nondiet foods. Here’s how to spot them.
Even if you think you’re avoiding artificial sweeteners, you may be eating them. No-calorie sugar substitutes, both natural
and artificial ones, are sneaking their way into foods and beverages beyond those labeled “diet” or “lite.” Here’s a list of
10 surprising places we found them lurking.
1. Granola (monk fruit extract): Lower-sugar versions of a product may signal hidden
sweeteners, like in some granolas.
2. English muffins (sucralose): Some English muffins—even the whole-wheat ones—contain
3. High-fiber breakfast cereal (sucralose & acesulfame K): Ironically, even within the same
brand you’ll find some cereals that contain sugar substitutes like these and some that don’t.
4. Regular bottled iced tea (acesulfame K & sucralose): Yes, we’re talking nondiet iced tea
here—often the fruit-flavored ones. The actual diet versions of these teas just have more of these fake sugars. Choose the
plain, unsweetened type instead, and toss in a few slices of real fruit to punch up the flavor.
5. Nondiet ginger ale (sucralose): One brand we encountered contained both high-fructose corn
syrup and sucralose. A 12-oz. can would deliver artificial sweetener and 4½ teaspoons of actual sugar.
6. Microwave kettle corn (sucralose): It’s low-fat and contains zero sugars—but keep looking
if you want zero sucralose, too.
7. Light and fat-free Italian dressings (stevia): Here’s a case where you might want to go
full-fat. Regular dressings tend to use fewer sweeteners of any kind than light or lower-fat types.
8. Frozen honey BBQ chicken breast pieces (sucralose): The honey part sounded wholesome
enough, but read farther down the ingredients list and—hello, faux!
9. Toasted coconut almonds (rebiana): The brand we spied contained sugar, brown sugar and
stevia. We’re all for almonds, but this is sweetness overkill.
10. Fizzy vitamin drink mix packets (stevia leaf extract): Along with a boatload of vitamins,
you’re also getting this plant-based sugar substitute in many of the flavors of one popular manufacturer’s fizzy packets.
It’s just more proof that you have to read those labels—even on “good-for-you” items!