Step Away From The Sucrose: Foods You Didn’t Even Know Contained Sugar

April 26, 2013  |  
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When you indulge in a bag of Swedish Fish, there’s no question if you’re spiking your blood sugar. But did you know there are 56 different names for sugar? And they sneak up in almost every category of food. What you often perceive as the naturally sweet flavor of a healthy food is actually hidden sugar.

Tomato sauce

Sugar is necessary in tomato sauces to counteract the acidic nature of the fruit. Especially since most canned varieties are made with unripe tomatoes, which are even more acidic. But since tomato sauce is certainly healthier than creamy sauces, it’s worth it to take the extra time and use ripe tomatoes to make your own with simple seasoning and olive oil.

White wine

Many believe that white wine is the lighter option to red, and while that may be true, the small amount of calories you save isn’t worth the high sugar. Sugar is often added to white wine to cover up the acidic flavor of yellow and green grapes. But red grapes are usually grown in areas where they receive more sunlight, so their flavor doesn’t need to be adjusted.


Salad dressing

When it comes to dressing your salad, making your own, minimal-item dressing is always the healthier choice. Even “healthy” choices like vinaigrette are almost always infused with sugar. Fat-free dressings are the worst culprits since sugar is always added to compensate for the flavor lost from the fat.


Unless you’re eating plain yogurt, you’re probably ingesting more sugar than you want. Even the healthy brands add evaporated cane juice, which is just a fancy name for sugar.


The reason whole grain looks so healthy is the exact reason it often isn’t. Sugar is added to whole grain breads to help them brown better, and of course to make grains taste better.


Bad news French fry lovers: nearly ¼ of most ketchups are made of high fructose corn syrup. Of course Artisanal ketchup doesn’t usually contain the flavor we want because of the high acidity, so if you can, just switch to mustard.


You think you’re making a healthy choice by turning away from sugary cereals and choosing granola. But often a bowl of granola contains the same amount of sugar as a soda. Replace granola with muesli, which also contains oats and nuts but is filled with fruit instead of sugar.

Frozen fruits

You love the idea of having produce available to you any time, without having to hit the market every week. But frozen fruit is never just that. Typically, unripe fruit is frozen, and to make up for the sour taste, sugar is added. Unless there is a “no sugar added” label, you can almost guarantee there is sugar.


Peanut butter

With its healthy fats and high protein, peanut butter makes for a great snack food. But almost all leading brands add sugar, and the low-fat varieties add even more. What’s worse is even organic brands add sugar! To be safe, only buy peanut butter that has a “sugar free” or “no sugar added” label.

Vegetable juices

The reality is pure vegetable juices are not very palatable. Sugar is often added to compensate for the savory flavor. And any beverage that has the word “drink” or “cocktail” in the name has sugar added.


Dried fruit

You love it because it tastes just like candy, but it isn’t…or is it? Almost all dried fruit—including organic—has added sugar as a part of the process that gives it that long shelf life. If you love the stuff, learn to make your own. There are thousands of easy recipes online.



You know honey has sweetener in it, but you may not have known it contains more sugar than actual sugar. 1 tbsp. of honey contains more than 17 g of sugar. Meanwhile 1 tbsp. of actual granulated sugar only contains 13 g of sugar.

Prepared sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great option for those looking for healthy carbs. However, unless you baked and prepared the side dish yourself, you can almost bet any sweet potato wedges, or mashes, have tons of added sugar.

Cough syrup

We forget to consider ingredients on cough syrup, because we or are child isn’t feeling well and we just want to feel better! But the different brands out there drastically vary in sugar content. It’s worth looking into since high sugar is one of the last things you need while ill.

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