10 Surprising Foods with Added Sugar

by Jennifer Boudreau on February 2, 2015

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10 surprising foods with added sugarIf there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it is that sugar is in so many unexpected foods. I’ve often found myself feeling perplexed thinking “why is sugar in this?” You see, the low fat craze of the 80’s forced food manufacturers to remove fat. When they removed the fat, they quickly realized they removed the taste. You know what they added to make the food taste better? You guessed it. Sugar.

To help you navigate the grocery store, I’ve come up with my first list of 10 surprising foods with added sugar.

Ok, here we go….

 

Applesauce:

10 surprising foods with added sugar

Yep, and many contain high fructose corn syrup. Completely unnecessary.

What to Buy Instead: Fortunately there is a better option. Simply buy unsweetened. Costco sells an organic, unsweetened applesauce. Meijer and Kroger brands have an organic, unsweetened version as well.

From Scratch Recipe:

Try this unsweetened applesauce recipe from Gluten-Free-Vegan-Girl.

 

Peanut Butter:

10 surprising foods with added sugar

JIF is a big offender here, plus they add a bunch of other silly ingredients…which is why JIF doesn’t actually taste like peanuts. There are plenty more offenders out there too.

What to Buy Instead:

We recently switched to Costco’s Kirkland organic peanut butter, which has no added sugar. If you are not picky about organic, you can buy Smucker’s Natural peanut butter which is available at most grocery stores. I will mention that peanuts do absorb large amounts of pesticides due to their porous shell, so if you or your kids eat a lot of peanut butter, try and buy organic.

From Scratch Recipe:

I’m not going to provide a from-scratch option here. I’m not big on making peanut butter from scratch due to the aflatoxin risk. Aflatoxins are known carcinogens. If you make your own peanut butter or grind your own at the store, there is a higher aflatoxin risk. Equipment MUST be thoroughly cleaned, and thoroughly cleaned frequently. I personally feel it isn’t worth the risk considering homemade and grind your own peanut butters consistently test higher for aflatoxins compared to store bought. Store bought peanut butter that you buy in a jar is tested for aflatoxin levels, which makes me feel safer. Here is an article from Fox News about aflatoxins.

 

PLAIN Cheerios:

10 surprising foods with added sugar

Who knew! They’re bland and don’t taste sweet, but the sugar is there as the third ingredient.

What to Buy Instead:

Puffed Rice or Ezekiel 4:9 brand. Both are available at most health food stores.

From Scratch Recipe:

From Fooducate (my FAVORITE food app), here is a simple grab n’ go cereal bar recipe!

 

Salsa:

10 surprising foods with added sugar

Condiments are big offenders when it comes to added sugar, and salsa is no exception.

What to Buy Instead:

Muir Glen Organic does not add sugar. If organic is not a concern, Pace brand does not add sugar either. I buy Muir Glen Organic at Kroger and Pace is available at most grocery stores.

From Scratch Recipe:

If you like mango salsa, check out my husband’s recipe here.

If you prefer a more traditional salsa, try this recipe from Modern Hippie Housewife (isn’t that a FUN name)!

Barbeque Potato Chips:

10 surprising foods with added sugar

This makes sense because barbeque has a sweet kick to it, but many don’t associate sugar with potato chips. Sugar is indeed typically part of the seasoning though, which is what makes barbeque chips SO delectable!

What to Buy Instead:

Well, I have yet to find a barbeque chip that doesn’t have added sugar, so I would suggest just sticking with the plain potato chips. When it comes to chips, we typically buy Kettle Brand; Sea Salt flavor. Nothing questionable in them and they are available at most grocery stores.

From Scratch Recipe:

Again, since barbeque sauce pretty much has to have sugar, I have yet to find a recipe that will work here. If you have one, by all means, send that recipe over!

 

Bread:

10 surprising foods with added sugar

And yes….bread is no exception to the beast of added sugar. It’s in almost all breads.

 

What to Buy Instead:

Ezekiel bread – which is usually found in the freezer section at most grocery stores. Ezekiel bread has a tougher texture, but simply pop it in the toaster and the texture is immediately more palatable. The cinnamon and raisin flavor is super delicious too!

From Scratch Recipe:

If you are craving something starchy, try my No Added Sugar Banana Muffins.

If you follow me at all, you know how much we love our pancakes in this house. This is the recipe we use. Just add some unsweetened peanut butter to them and they taste great!

 

Wheat Thins:

10 surprising foods with added sugar

THREE versions of sugar are added to a box of Wheat Thins! You’ll see them listed as sugar, malt syrup and refiners syrup. Geez. #OodlesOfSugar

What to Buy Instead:

Try Crunchmaster Multi Seed Crackers, original or roasted garlic flavor. Many of the Crunchmaster flavors have added sugar, but these versions do not. They’re gluten free too! I just bought a big box at Costco yesterday and I’ve also seen them at Meijer.

From Scratch Recipe:

From Naturally Loriel, try these Gluten Free Garlic Crispy Rice Crackers!

 

Saltines:

10 surprising foods with added sugar

Hmmmm…why? Saltines are supposed to be salty, so why add sugar?  As far as what to buy instead and for a “from scratch” recipe, see the above suggestions for Wheat Thins.

 

Breakfast Sausage:

10 surprising foods with added sugar

When you think of meat, you may not think of added sugar….but yes, it’s often there.

What to Buy Instead”

Bob Evan’s Original Pork Sausage – although I’m sure there are other brands without added sugar.

From Scratch Recipe:

Try this recipe from Primal Palate.

Ketchup:

10 surprising foods with added sugar

As I mentioned before, condiments can be big offenders. Ketchup almost always has some form of added sugar, whether it be sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Don’t be misled by the marketing labels! They may claim “no high fructose corn syrup”, but will still add sugar.

What to Buy Instead:

Westbrae Natural Vegetarian Unsweetened Ketchup. I personally buy this at our local Earthfare.

From Scratch Recipe:

Check out this recipe from Holistically Engineered.

Whew…my list is complete (for now anyway….this list is to be continued).

Is it any wonder we’re addicted to food? It’s a proven fact that sugar is addicting. If sugar is hidden in so many foods, it is absolutely no surprise we’re overeating. It’s no wonder our kids are overeating and childhood obesity is an epidemic.

If you’re browsing labels and find words ending in “ose” or “syrup”, assume it’s a version of sugar. It’s a tricky, label reading world out there!

P.S. You have to read the ingredient label. You CANNOT determine if there is added sugar by looking at the grams of sugar (although this is coming)!

Your turn to educate me; which foods were YOU surprised to find have added sugars?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Carly February 2, 2015 at 8:53 pm

Great article! Very informative!

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Jennifer Boudreau February 2, 2015 at 9:11 pm

Thank you, Carly!

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