Are you looking to cut back on the amount of added sugars you’re eating? EatingWell’s nutrition editor, Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., shows you some simple ways you can avoid hidden sugars in the foods you eat.
"Americans eat over three times as much sugar as they should," explains Brierley. "If you're trying to cut back on your added sugars, there some obvious places to start, like soda, cookies and candy. But sugar also lurks in places you might not think to look." Here is one common trap: a delicious smoothie. Smoothies are a great way to add fruit and dairy to your diet, but most smoothies we buy contain a lot of sugars. One fast-food smoothie may have as much as 32 cubes of sugar. Granted, some of those are naturally occurring sugars, but because nutrition labels don't distinguish between natural and added sugars, you're probably better off making your own. Our EatingWell smoothie recipes are a great place to start. This Banana-Berry Smoothie has 0 grams of added sugars.
Get the recipe: Banana-Berry Smoothie
Another place you might not think to look for sugar is in your spaghetti sauce. But some store-bought tomato sauces have up to 15 grams of sugar per half-cup serving. Look for a sauce where sugar either isn't listed or is somewhere near the bottom of the ingredient list. You can also make your own at home.
Try our Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe.
Salad dressings are a common hidden-sugar culprit as well. Fat in fat-free salad dressings is often replaced with sugar and salt. Some salad dressings have as much as 9 grams of sugar per serving. Look for a salad dressing where olive or canola oil appears as the first ingredient in the list and there's either no sugar or sugar appears somewhere towards the bottom of the list. Or, again, make your own!
Get the recipe: Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Barbecue sauce is a condiment that we associate with savory foods like meats, but it's actually quite sweet. Some brands contain as much as 12 grams of sugar per small 2-tablespoon serving. Compare brands to find one with the least amount of sugar or try making your own so you can control how much sugar is added.
Cereal, especially whole grain varieties, may seem like a great way to start your day. But some boast as much sugar as an ice cream sandwich. Choose a plain version with no added sugar and then add fruit for sweetness.
For all of these items and others, look at the ingredient list and choose a product where sugar appears at or near the bottom. For more healthy eating tips, come to eatingwell.com.
Looking for more strategies and recipes for avoiding added sugars? Check out these great recipes and tips:
7 Delicious Desserts, No Sugar Added
Low-Added-Sugars Dessert Recipes
6 Surprising Sources of Sugar
22 Healthy Smoothie Recipes
Taste-Test-Winning Healthy BBQ Sauces
9 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals
Healthier Homemade Salad Dressings
Mouthwatering Barbecue Sauces, Marinades & Rubs
A Glossary Of Natural Sugars & Added Sugars
How to Find Added Sugars on a Food Label
Download a FREE Healthy Smoothie Cookbook