High Sugar Foods From The Supermarket That’ll Shock You
With an obesity epidemic swamping most western countries studies have found almost all high sugar foods adults eat are processed foods. It is well known that processed foods are higher in added sugars and are often a source of empty calories, lacking in essential vitamins, minerals & dietary fibre, leading to an overfed and undernourished population.
A lot of the sugar we consume today comes from both foods & beverages, generally coming from sources we don’t necessarily expect, such as ‘savoury’ ready meals & ‘healthy’ fruit juices. Cutting back on these sorts of high sugar foods & beverages could be an effective way of curbing excessive intake of sugar and improving the nutritional quality of your diet and shredding some unwanted weight.
High sugar food consumption is a large cause of the problem for the obesity epidemic in most western countries. There is more and more evidence that shows it’s also linked with high blood pressure, blood lipids and type 2 diabetes, also contributing to unwanted weight gain.
The World Health Organisation has recommended people cut sugar consumption back to less than 10% of our daily caloric intake, which for adults amounts to only 55g per day. Shockingly, most processed ready-made meals and snacks on our supermarket shelves can contain your daily recommendations in one serve- even those that are marketed as ‘healthy choices’ and ‘low in fat’. Here are some of the worst offenders:
1. Nestle Sustagen – Powdered Sports Supplement.
Sustagen seems to be marketed to a variety of people, from children though to athletes. Its marketed as a healthy way to get healthy vitamins and minerals in with an added boost of protein. You’ll find the sugar content ranging anywhere from 2 teaspoons up to a staggering 8 1/2 teaspoons per serve, that’s nearly as much sugar as a 375ml can of coke. The ‘Kids Essentials’ range with a whopping 3 teaspoons per serve- remember, children are a third to half the size of adults so do not need anywhere near this much sugar in any beverage.
There are no short cuts to nutrition. If you’re after a dose of protein, minerals and vitamins look at adding in a healthy meal, not a meal-replacement shake.
.2. Uncle Tobys Quick Flavored Oats.
What better way to gain the strength and energy to carry you through a
hectic morning schedule than with a steaming bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal? It contains a variety of nutrients including protein, fibre and vitamin B1, so why add high sugar and processed flavorings to them?
Serving sizes range from 35g for the sachets and 50g for the oat cups. With most average adults consuming 2 sachets per serve, this starts your day off with a staggering 6 teaspoons of sugar. Switch to the plain traditional or quick oats, add some blueberries to get a boost of natural sweetness together with antioxidants and vitamin C.
3. Ready Made Frozen Meals
Like most, we live a very busy lifestyle with many heading to the ready made frozen meals section at your local supermarket for a take-away alternative. Big brands like McCain and Lean Cuisine market their products as healthy choice, low-fat, whole-grain or no added flavors or preservatives but fail to mention the high amount of added sugar. Some of the worst offenders were the McCain Healthy Choice’s Wholegrains Moroccan Lamb Tagine, Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli & Whole Grains Japanese Teriyaki Chicken, ranging from 3-5 teaspoons of sugar. We also found Lean Cuisine’s Vegetable Cannelloni & Rich Beef Lasagne with 3-4 teaspoons of sugar per meal.
4. Low-fat Flavored Yoghurt
It’s tasty and comes with heaps of health benefits right? In many popular brands including Yoplait, Gippsland,
Chobani, Activia and Vaalia you’ll find the sugar content ranging from 2 teaspoons up to 6.5 teaspoons per 170g in their ‘low-fat’ range. Surely the packaging looks the goods, the nice array of blended pulped fruit screams healthy! But the huge amounts of added sugar, sweeteners and preservatives should be enough to put you off.
Since the 1980’s there has been a boom in low-fat products as the message got out that to improve our health, especially heart health, low-fat was the solution. This lead to manufacturers removing fat but adding sugar to compensate for the lost flavour.
If having a nice yoghurt is something you want for a light snack, rest assured there are healthy alternatives. One example is Tamar Vally Dairy; they have a vast range of plain or flavored yoghurts without high sugar content. Or you could ditch that low-fat flavoured yoghurt for full-fat natural yoghurt instead, with fresh fruit or nuts for flavour.
5. Yoghurt-Covered Fruit Pieces
Fruit pieces covered in wholesome yoghurt, this must be healthy, right? Wrong. With both fruit and yogurt being nutritious foods sources, it’s easy to be confused into thinking yoghurt-covered bites are healthy, but this packaged snack is anything but. The ‘yogurt’ used on the outside is far from the yogurt you purchase from the dairy aisle of your supermarket. Its consists of mostly sugar, oil and some dry milk mixed with yogurt powder and trans fats, none of which you’d ever find in real yogurt.
We looked at Go Natural’s yoghurt-covered apricots, which contain a whopping 28g of sugar per 50g serve. This is the equivalent of more than one teaspoon of sugar for every teaspoon of fruit you consume. Next time you reach for that sugar-covered yoghurt fruit snack remember that one serve will have you consuming half your daily recommended sugar intake.
6. Up & Go Liquid Breakfast
Sanitarium’s UP&GO liquid breakfast market their product as a ‘convenient choice for when you are on the go’ and ‘we’ve done the thinking for you to help get your day off to a nutritious start’ to make this product look like a good choice for skipping breakfast. Sanitarium’s range of high-sugar liquid breakfasts also promote the Up & Go range as high-fibre and high in calcium, containing protein and 10 essential vitamins and minerals. What most people fail to notice is that each 250ml serve of the Up & Go range contains almost 19g of sugar – that’s nearly 5 teaspoons per 250ml serve. The 500ml varieties contain 9.5 teaspoons of sugar; the same amount as a can of coke.
The Up & Go range even scores a 4.5 star health rating despite its high sugar rating of 7.5g/100ml. For a better alternative for a quick liquid breakfast look for a couple of fresh recipes on the internet that have all the goodness without the high sugar content or check out our top five high protein shake recipes here.
7. Salad Dressings
More and more people are switching to a healthy salad to replace those high sugar snacks or saturated fatty meals.
With all the dressing flavor options available on the market today its make it an easy choice. Getting your greens is essential for your diet and nutrition; but be aware that there are many dressings that can contain up to 2 teaspoons of sugar per serve. French dressings and oil-based, 99% fat free are usually the worst offenders. Check the ingredients for maltodextrin, dextrose, glucose or maltose all of which are just highly-processed variations of sugar.
8. Breakfast & Energy Bars
If you’re you like most people and like making a quick dash from home to the office and skip breakfast, grabbing a breakfast bar to two from the pantry for that drive to the office seems like a good option right? With many bars marketed as super food bars, gourmet protein bars you’ll feel like that skipped breakfast isn’t such a bad idea. Most popular bars range from 25-40g but contain up to 10g of sugar. With such small serving sizes it’s easy to consume at least two on that short trip to work, leaving you consuming up to 20g of sugar. Although some of these bars provide you with some fibre, protein and fats, the high sugar crash will only leave you feeling flat and fatigued within a few hours.
If you’re tight on time in the morning, try making your own breakfast and energy bars in advance. You’ll know they contain all real ingredients, freshly made and taste great. Check out our high protein bar recipe collection here.