Are Your Healthy Food Choices “Sugar Bombs” in Disguise

How much sugar is in your morning cereal? How about in the yogurt you’re eating? If you’re not sure, you’re not alone. I was surprised when I took a closer look at the sugar content in foods I considered healthy.

I began looking at the sugar content in my food after watching an informative documentary called Sugar Coated. Sugar is big business and it seems our foods are being sweetened more than ever before.

“Of all the packaged foods in the grocery store 74% of them are spiked with added sugar.”

According to this Huffington Post article, sugar has more negative effects on us than we’re led to believe. Heart damage, excess belly fat, liver damage and mood swings to name a few.

How much sugar are we consuming? The recommended amount of sugar per day is 6 to 12 teaspoons according to the World Health Organization. In Europe the average person consumes 17 teaspoons per day. In America it’s 19.5 teaspoons per day. For teenagers, 30 to 40 teaspoons per day.

How much sugar is in your morning cereal?

In the documentary they mention how cereal companies have funded university departments that have put a positive spin on sugar. Made me wonder how much sugar is in my morning cereal.

How much sugar is in your morning cereal? I thought I knew and found my assumptions were wrong.

Before I checked the nutrition facts on the three boxes of cereal in my cupboard, I thought I knew which one would have the most sugar. I was totally wrong.

Don't let the front and back of cereal boxes distract you from the true facts on the side.

I was surprised to find my “Good, Good Whole Wheat Shreddies” had the MOST sugar. They’re supposed to be good for us, right? The song says so, dammit! In defense of my beloved Shreddies, it has the most fibre compared to Life Cereal and Corn Bran Squares – but not much more.

My takeaway: ignore the packaging claims on the front and back of cereal boxes and look at the nutrition facts for the true story.

Yogurt is supposed to be healthy

Not long ago I read a magazine article about being careful when choosing yogurt. It said:

“Many yogurts are sugar bombs in disguise”.

Many yogurts are

The person who wrote that article wasn’t kidding. I shared this photo on Instagram highlighting how the plain 1% yogurt in my fridge contains 4 grams of sugar (all natural) per half cup and the strawberry yogurt contains 21 grams of sugar per half cup. That’s MORE sugar than you’ll find in a can of coke which contains 13 grams of sugar per half cup!

The second ingredient listed on the strawberry yogurt is “fruit blend”. That sounds healthy, right? At least until you read what it’s made of – (sugar, water, strawberries, modified corn starch PLUS a bunch of non-fruit ingredients).

Yes, the fruit blend’s first ingredient is sugar, not fruit. To top it off the third ingredient listed after “fruit blend” is sugar, just in case there wasn’t enough already. And don’t be fooled by Greek Yogurt. There’s sugar bombing happening there as well.

To reduce the amount of added sugar in stirred fruit yogurt, mix it with plain yogurt.

I don’t enjoy eating plain yogurt without sweetening it so I’ve been mixing 2 parts low-fat plain yogurt with 1 part of my sugar-laden fruit yogurt. So instead of 21 grams of sugar in my half cup of fruit yogurt there are only 8 grams (about 2 teaspoons). It’s a start.

My takeaway: take a closer look at the amount of sugar contained in the foods I’m told are “healthy”. I’ll keep you posted on what I find both here on the blog and in my weekly updates.

I’ve already started measuring how much sugar I add to my morning coffee and oatmeal. It’s amazing how little is needed to make it sweet!

Thanks for stopping in at the cafe. Cheers!

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