Unexpected Sources of Sugar

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Sugar is confusing. Most of us know that we should be eating less of it, but it’s not always obvious where it is, and when it’s a problem. There are lots of different names for added sugars: levulose, maltose, isoglucose – which makes them tricky to spot. Some companies also rebrand sugars to make them sound healthier, using terms like “cane juice crystals” – which just means caster sugar.

Any food which contains lots of sugars – from sugar cane to a banana – that has been refined turns into a source of ‘Free Sugars’. ‘Free sugars’ is the NHS’s term for sugars that are very​ easy to consume in large quantities without feeling satiated. This includes corn syrup, caster sugar etc.

Even less common is highly refined sugars – coconut sugar, date syrup, maple syrup – are still sources of free sugars, and should only be consumed in moderation. Some sources of sugar, like dates, have loads of health benefits. Unfortunately, you still have to count them as added sugars. Especially when they are processed into a puree in bars and energy balls, eating them in large quantities will spike your blood sugar.

Top 15 Unexpected Sources of Added Sugars:

For reference – a Snickers bar has 21.6g added sugar.

Tomato-based products:

  1. ASDA Cream and Tomato Soup – 22g sugar per can
  2. Heinz Beanz in Tomato & Chilli Sauce – 25.4g sugar per can
  3. Tesco Tomato Pasta Sauce – 10g sugar per 200g

Energy and protein bars:

  • TREK Cocoa Chaos Protein Energy Bar – 24g sugar per bar
  • Nakd Blueberry Muffin Fruit & Nut Bar – 18.2g sugar per bar
  • Eat Natural 3 Fruit & Nut Bars Almond & Apricot with a Yoghurt Coating – 15.6g sugar per bar
  • Protein Flapjack Peanut & Chocolate – 10.2g sugar per bar

Sweetened yogurt:

  • Fage Total Fat Free Greek Recipe Yogurt with Honey – 30g sugar per pot
  • Longley Farm Hazelnut Yogurt – 21g sugar per pot
  • Onken Fat Free Apple & Mango Yogurt – 21g sugar per 150g
  • Oykos Strawberry Greek Style Yogurts – 15.6g sugar per pot

Condiments and Spreads:

  1. Amoy Sweet Thai Chilli Stir Fry Sauce – 20.3g sugar per half packet
  2. Hoisin sauce – 18g sugar per 2 tablespoons
  3. Heinz Salad cream – 10.2g sugar per 2 tablespoons
  4. Heinz Ketchup – 7g sugar per 2 tablespoons

Header image credit: The New York Times