Sugar is everywhere. Any many places that you would never dream to look. It's in our coffee, our cereals, our snacks, and even our condiments. While a small amount of sugar is not harmful, too much sugar can lead to serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
So what can you do? For one, read more labels. Don't ever assume something doesn't have added sugar just because it isn't sweet.
With that in mind, we compiled the following list.
So, if you're actively looking for ways to reduce your sugar intake, here are some hidden pitfalls to steer clear of.
Ketchup and Condiments
You might be surprised to learn that ketchup and other condiments are a hidden source of sugar in our diets. While a tablespoon of ketchup may not seem like much, it can add up quickly if you're using it on everything from burgers to chicken fingers. And those sugar calories can really add up, especially if you're trying to lose weight or watch your sugar intake.
One tablespoon of ketchup contains 4 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon. And most people use way more than 1 tablespoon when they're eating ketchup.
One way to remove the sugar from your ketchup and condiments is to make your own. This might seem like a lot of work, but it's actually quite simple. All you need for homemade ketchup is a can of tomato paste, water, vinegar, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Simply mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and voila! You have your own homemade ketchup that is completely sugar-free.
If making your own ketchup is not for you, there are plenty of store-bought brands that are either sugar-free or have very little sugar.
You might love some chocolate, but were you aware of the absolutely massive amount of sugar it contains? Milk chocolate contains as much as 30% of its calories coming from sugar, while in dark chocolate, this number is more in the vicinity of 12%.
Plus, there is very little added sugar in dark chocolate as it is, so the sugar content is coming from the milk and other ingredients used to make milk chocolate.
What can you do about this? Well, for one, you could consider switching to dark chocolate, as it contains much less sugar than milk chocolate. Or, if you're looking for a sweet treat that is low in sugar, you could try sugar-free chocolate altogether.
Alternatively, opt against chocolate completely, but good luck beating that sweet tooth when a real craving hits.
Breakfast cereal is one of the biggest lies sold to the public. It has been marketed as a "healthy" food for years when in reality it is just glorified with sugar. In fact, some cereals have more sugar than a candy bar!
And the weird part is that it doesn't even have to taste sweet to alert you to its sugar content. Sugar is hiding in "healthy" cereals like bran flakes and granola too.
The first step to removing sugar from your breakfast cereal is to check the nutrition label. You might be surprised at how much sugar is actually in your favorite cereal. Once you know how much sugar is in a serving, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to continue eating it.
Many people ditch cereal after feeling dissatisfied, and in turn, switch to real food with high nutritional value.
Have you ever wondered why eating fruit tastes nowhere close to the sweetness of that fruit in juice form? You can thank sugar for that.
Commercial fruit juice is loaded with processed sugar, even the "natural" or "100% fruit" varieties. And while fruit does contain some natural sugar, it also has fiber which helps to offset the effects of that sugar.
When you remove the fiber from the fruit by juicing it, you're left with a sugary drink that does nothing but spikes your blood sugar.
If you're looking to consume less sugar, it's best to stick with whole fruits and avoid processed fruit juice entirely.
Are you of the opinion that you need your energy drink fix to get through the day? Well so do many people. However, energy drinks aren't good for you in the least.
That's because a primary constituent of them is sugar. In fact, a typical 16-ounce energy drink can contain as much as 32 grams of sugar. That's the equivalent of 8 teaspoons!
This sugar will give you a false sense of energy that will quickly crash and leave you feeling worse than before and burnt out.
If you're looking for a more sustainable source of energy, it's best to ditch the energy drinks and instead focus on getting adequate sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly.
A sustained-release energy booster like our Dawn To Dusk capsules provides superior energy for up to 12 hours, without the sugar, and without the nasty crash.
Stop Buying Treats
When was the last time you bought a delicious treat for yourself because of a job well done? Or to celebrate a special occasion? Or just because you were feeling a little down in the dumps?
If you're like most people, the answer is probably "too often." But if you're trying to reduce your sugar intake, buying sugary treats is only going to make it harder for you.
Instead of heading to the store every time you want a sugar fix, try making your own treats at home. There are plenty of recipes for delicious desserts that don't use any sugar whatsoever.
Just don't purchase them from the inception. It will be much easier to resist the temptation if you don't have them in your house, to begin with.
Bread is a staple breakfast food in many American households. After all, it's affordable, readily available, and can make a variety of quick sandwiches.
But it is good for you? Not exactly. Especially if we're talking about wheaten white whole grain varieties.
A much better option if you must have bread is to go for a healthier one that is made with almond flour or coconut flour. These varieties are not only lower in sugar but they're also higher in protein and fiber.
Sprouted Ezekiel bread is also a great option as it's made from whole grains that have been sprouted, making them easier to digest.
Ditch Table Sugar
If you're still using table sugar to sweeten your coffee or tea, it's time to stop. Table sugar is nothing but empty calories and offers no long-term nutritional value.
Instead, try using a natural sugar alternative like stevia or monk fruit extract. These sweeteners are derived from plants and are completely safe to consume. Plus, they're just as sweet as table sugar without all the harmful effects.
This alone can reduce your sugar intake by heaps since multiple spoons of sugar is the norm in hot beverages.
Avoid Canned Products
Canned fruits and vegetables are a convenient option when fresh produce is not available, but they can also be high in sugar. In fact, one study found that canned fruits and vegetables can contain up to four times as much sugar as their fresh counterparts.
This is because the canning process involves adding sugar to help preserve the color, flavor, and sometimes texture, of the food. While this may not be a problem for occasional consumption, eating canned fruits and vegetables on a regular basis can contribute to a high-sugar diet.
The good news is that there are ways to reduce the amount of sugar in canned foods. For example, some brands offer no-sugar-added or unsweetened varieties of their products.
Fruits are healthy, no doubt about that. But the major limitation to really getting the most out of them relates to their heavy natural sugar content.
Dried fruits are a prime example of this as they contain even more sugar than fresh fruits. A cup of raisins, for instance, has almost four times the amount of sugar as a cup of grapes. This is because sometimes juice or even sugar is added to the drying process to make them more palatable.
And while eating the occasional handful of raisins is not going to kill you, consuming them on a regular basis can contribute to weight gain and other health problems. If you must have dried fruits, go for unsweetened varieties when possible.
The number one social beverage in the world, the popularity of alcohol is just as strong as ever. But what many people don't realize is that alcoholic drinks can be loaded with sugar.
For example, a 12-ounce can of beer has about 10 grams of sugar, while a glass of wine has about four grams. And that's not even counting the sugary mixers often used in cocktails.
Even straight vodka or gin can have close to four grams of sugar per serving. If you must drink alcohol, be sure to go for the sugar-free options and avoid sugary mixers altogether.
So you prefer to get your supplements in gummy form, do you? Did you also know that those gummy bases are not naturally so tasty and sweet? Yes, as hard as it is to swallow (pun intended), you need to seriously read labels when opting for the gummy bear or other such options.
This is not to put you off supplements entirely, but more to educate you on what those supplements actually contain. If a supplement has high fructose corn syrup listed as an ingredient, be aware that this is sugar and lots of it!
If you're up to it, make your own gummies at home and add powdered supplements to those instead. This way you'll know exactly what goes into your body and how much.
Jams And Jellies
No surprise here, made from fruits, and sweetened to the max, jams, and jellies are nothing but sugar. Eating them on toast or with other foods is a surefire way to add sugar to your diet.
Even if the label says "no sugar added" or "unsweetened," this doesn't necessarily mean they're sugar-free. In fact, these products often contain alternative sweeteners which may or may not be non-nutritive.
Top that off with the natural sugar of the fruit and you've got a lot of sugar in a tiny little jar.
This one is going to hurt some people. Given, many protein powders are truly low in sugar, but there are just as many that cut corners and load up the sugar to make a palatable product.
Not so with our Radiance collagen protein. Enjoy a delicious product free of the guilt of added sugar.
Opt For Unsweetened When Possible
Many people wrongly assume that the addition of sweeteners in the form of flavors is negligible. However, the difference between sweetened and unsweetened versions of the same product is like night and day.
For example, a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar. But if you opt for the Diet Coke version, that number drops down to 0 grams (and no- we don't advocate for drinking any soda).
The same goes for other products like yogurt, oatmeal, and even peanut butter. There are unsweetened versions of all of these things readily available. And while they might not taste as good as the sweetened versions at first, your taste buds will quickly adjust.
In general, it's best to opt for unsweetened versions of foods whenever possible. This will help to drastically reduce your sugar intake without you even really noticing it.
We know how much of a challenge it can be to really be deliberate and thorough in your efforts to remove as much sugar from your diet as possible. Many pitfalls lie that you might have never expected, hence our reason for highlighting the above list.
Now go- better armed to achieve the health and physique that you strive for!