10 Surprising Foods with More Sugar Than a Glazed Donut
You may have heard not to eat bananas because they can contain as much or more sugar than a donut. Sure, that may be true, but they also contain soluble fiber to help your body digest sugar more slowly and boost your gut health, and potassium to help keep your blood pressure in check and your heart healthy. Not to mention, the sugar in bananas is natural and the sugar in donuts is added sugar. Donuts don't have many nutrients, but they taste really dang good.
We discovered 10 surprising foods that had even more sugar than a glazed donut from Dunkin'—which has 12 grams—that are often considered healthy (or at least not as sugary as a donut). Find out which foods that are likely sitting in your fridge or pantry are actually loaded with added sugar, below:
While dairy products naturally contain lactose, a form of sugar only found in milk, there's not enough to justify the sugar content of many of the flavored yogurts out on the market. Whether you're a Greek yogurt eater or prefer a non-dairy option, many flavored yogurts contain more sugar than a donut.
This soy milk-based strawberry yogurt contains a whopping 22 grams, while flavored Greek yogurts can have over 10 grams of added sugar.
Choose plain yogurt and sweeten it with fruit or add a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup for just around 4 grams of sugar.
Granola is one of those foods that has a hardcore "health halo," likely because it is made with oats and often nuts, seeds and dried fruit. All good things—until all the sweeteners start rolling in.
From high fructose corn syrup to plain old table sugar, there is plenty of the sweet stuff hiding in popular granola brands that tout their fiber, protein or vitamin content and fail to mention they have more sugar than a baked good. This low-fat granola from Sunbelt Bakery has 17 grams in a ½ cup serving. Many "low-fat" products are high in sugar or salt to compensate for the palatability of fat. While some of that sugar comes from raisins in the cereal, sugar is the third ingredient, which means a lot of it is added.
Check labels if you're shopping for granola, or switch to oatmeal and give it crunch with nuts and natural sweetness with fruit. Also, you can always make your own at home.
Gatorade and the like may be a great way for a professional athlete or marathon runner needing to replenish their electrolytes and fuel up on carbs in a hurry, but maybe not so great for after a short exercise session or as an after-school drink for kids. A 20-ounce bottle of standard Gatorade contains 34 grams of sugar (that's about 14 grams per 8-ounce serving).
If you're opting for the muffin at the coffee shop because you think it sounds healthier than a donut, just get the donut. Muffins can be a sneaky sugar bomb—even the bran ones. A medium-sized bran muffin has some fiber, iron and protein, but it also has 19 grams of sugar. To control the sugar amounts, your best bet is to make your own healthier muffins at home.
It might be shocking, but some barbecue sauces can contain as much sugar as a donut in a mere two tablespoons. Some brands and varieties have more than 10 grams of added sugar. Considering we usually use BBQ sauce on savory items, it's a little shocking to find out it can be this sweet.
When you're shopping for barbecue sauce, compare labels and look for varieties with less sugar. For a lower-sugar burger topping try avocado, mayo or mustard. Chicken marinade? Try a dry rub, pesto or vinaigrette.
Smoothies and Smoothie Bowls
Popping in the nearest smoothie shop may seem like a great healthy choice when you're on the road or don't have time to sit down for a meal. Sure, there are some wonderful options out there, but many drinks are packed with sugar. And it's not just from the fruit.
For example, the Acai Primo bowl from Jamba Juice contains 65 grams of sugar, not counting the toppings, and a small-size Strawberry Wild smoothie almost 50 grams of sugar. If you do order a smoothie there, ask for it unsweetened, or build your acai bowl at home.
While protein bars aren't the ideal post-workout meal, life happens, and they can be a great source of nutrients while keeping you full until you can sit down for some whole foods. However, some of them might as well be candy bars with slightly more nutritional value. For example, a Chocolate Chip Clif Bar has 17 grams of sugar—equivalent to almost two Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (or about 2 donuts).
Barbecue sauce isn't the only sneaky sugar food to watch out for at your family cookout—just a ½ cup of coleslaw can have 14 grams of sugar. All the sugar comes from the dressing, so if you make it yourself, you can add just a touch of sweetness to balance out your slaw. Our Creamy Coleslaw has just 4 grams of sugar.
Flavored Milk and Milk Alternatives
Chocolate milk is often touted as a great recovery drink after a workout, as it has a nice balance of protein and carbs, but you're better off making it yourself than buying it premade. A cup of chocolate milk has around 25 grams of sugar (about 13 grams are added sugar)—and the non-dairy ones are almost as high. A soy-based chocolate milk has 18 grams, but all of them come from added sugar, as soy doesn't possess naturally occurring sugars.
Lattes & Other Flavored Coffee Beverages
Your coffee order can go from zero to 60 (grams of sugar) really quickly at your favorite shop if you're not careful. While most of us know the White Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks is extremely sugary—there are 64 grams of sugar in a Grande—some of the lesser-sounding ones can still be pretty high in sugar. Ordering a Grande Cafe Mocha with 2% milk and whipped cream tacks on 35 grams of sugar.
If you want something a little fancier, ask your barista to cut down on pumps (the amount of flavored syrup they're adding) which can drastically reduce the amount of added sugar.