With sugar being responsible for a variety of health issues, from obesity to diabetes, most health organisations are calling for the public to seriously curb their added sugar consumption. But avoiding labels that contain ‘sugar’ as an ingredient is only half the battle. Hidden nasties like high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners are present in most foods and are not just contained to sweet foods either. Did you know that just half a cup (one serving) of simple Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil sauce contains 12 grams of sugar?
It’s these hidden sugars that account for so much of our daily intake without even realising it. Even the most health-conscious among us can find it difficult to avoid sugar altogether and struggle to understand every form sugar can take. Labels also provide misleading information when it comes to what does and what doesn’t contain sugar.
So what are the biggest culprits when it comes to hidden sugars?
Low-fat often means high sugar. Some yoghurts contain upwards of 10 grams of sugar per cup.
Most canned soups use sugar as an added preservative to extend their shelf life. Some brands contain up to 15 grams of sugar per 1.5 cups so make sure to try before you buy.
Store bought salad dressing is one of the biggest culprits of added sugar. The best way to avoid the hidden nasties is to always make your own. A simple mixture of lemon juice, good quality olive oil and apple cider vinegar will always do the trick.
As with dressings, store-bought pasta or pizza sauces often contain hidden bursts of sugar as a way to cut out the acidity. This is especially prevalent in tomato sauces which haven’t been produced with in-season tomatoes. It goes without saying that the best sauces will always be made with love, at home.
From sultanas to craisins, dried fruit is often penned as the healthier of snack options, but what most people don’t know is that just a handful of cranberries can contain up to 29 grams of sugar. Always read the label and opt for brands who only use the whole fruit, as opposed to ones that are dried in various forms of sugar.