A bit of sugar in your diet is okay. The odd chocolate bar here and soda there probably isn’t going to cause any serious health problems or make your teeth fall out overnight.
However, if you consistently eat high-sugar snacks and foods, you might experience a whole host of health issues.
Now, I totally get that it’s easier to talk about reducing your sugar intake than actually doing so.
After all, supermarkets shelves are lined with super tasty (and high sugar) foods and every vending machine is packed with similar stuff from top to bottom.
Unfortunately, it gets worse. It’s not just the obviously unhealthy stuff you need to watch out for.
There are loads of foods out there that are secretly super high in sugar. So even when you think you’re eating healthily, you might be consuming way more sugar than you think!
In this blog, I’m going to highlight five of the worst offenders to help you identify (and maybe reduce) how much sugar you’re consuming.
Low-fat foods are sold as a healthy alternative to the full-fat original. Health-conscious consumers pick them up, believing that they are making a healthy eating choice.
However, it’s not quite that simple.
When you take out all the fat in a food, the taste suffers. So, to make the low-fat versions more palatable, manufacturers often pump in extra sugar.
As research for this blog, we bought two yogurts from a well-known manufacturer.
The original variety had 6.3g of fat and 9.75g of sugar and the low-fat variety has no fat at all but a whopping 12.75g of sugar.
That’s a 30 percent increase in sugar in a food that’s supposed to be healthy!
And it’s the same story across most low-fat foods.
The best advice I can give you is to ignore the branding completely and go straight to the nutritional label. The labels won’t lie to you and will allow you to make an informed buying choice.
Yeah, I know. Saying soda is high in sugar is like saying water is wet, fire is hot and lettuce is healthy. Everyone already knows it.
Well, even though we all know soda is bad for us, we still drink gallons of it every year!
Maybe it’s because sugar is actually pretty difficult to visualise. There are ten teaspoons of sugar in this soda or 35g of sugar in that soda. It’s all just numbers.
What might get your attention, though, is seeing how much sugar goes into each can.
In this amazing video from Home Science, they boil a can of Coca-Cola on a stove to remove all the water. The amount of syrup left behind makes my stomach churn!
On its own, coffee is naturally quite bitter so most coffee drinkers will add milk, sugar or both to balance it out.
Coffee shops, on the other hand, often take this to the extreme, loading their drinks with buckets of milk, gallons of cream and heaps of sugar to turn it into something more like a milkshake than a cup of coffee.
Just look at Starbuck’s infamous limited edition coffee, the Unicorn Frappuccino Blended Crème. With 59g of sugar in every cup, it’s one mind-bogglingly sugary coffee!
Sports drinks are a funny one. Out of everything on this list, they are probably the product most explicitly marketed as being good for you.
However, they’re really only good for you if you’re engaged in an intense activity that’s burning through your energy supplies.
If you aren’t exercising, you’re just drinking something that’s packed with a huge amount of sugar.
Soup is high in sugar? Really? Well, maybe not hearty soup made with good quality ingredients. That type is almost certainly low sugar and really good for you.
What I’m talking about is canned soup, which tends to have loads of sugar added in to improve the flavour.
The average can of soup can have anywhere from 10 to 15g of sugar in it, which is way more than you’d probably expect.
Angela Rowlands // Co-founder at Buttercup 7 Day Dental
Angela grew up in Glasgow and was a distinguished student at Glasgow University, graduating with honours in 2004 with the William Hunter Medal in Prosthodontics, the James Rankin Brownlie prize for Dental Surgery and the Lord Provost’s prize. Angela founded Buttercup in 2011 with Gerwyn Rowlands.