The Mother of Adventure

Sugar-free Day #4: Surprising culprits to watch for

on January 25, 2013
Many popular BBQ sauces contain a high amount of sugar.

Many popular BBQ sauces contain a high amount of sugar.

Yesterday’s dried cranberry debacle got me thinking about how there are so many surprising sources of sugar in our food.

When I think of cutting back on my daily sugar intake, the obvious sweet-laden foods come to mind first – cookies, cakes, donuts, ice cream and candy, to name a few. Then, of course, there are the sugary drinks – soft drinks, sports drinks, coffee or tea with added sugar, and even fruit juices.

But my generous sprinkling of dried cranberries – in my otherwise healthy breakfast bowl – reminded me that there are a host of other seemingly ‘innocent’ foods to be aware of when looking to reduce your daily sugar intake.

So today, I decided to do a little bit of digging. Below is my own (almost certainly incomplete) list of food and beverage culprits that pack a surprisingly sugary punch:

  • Tomato-based pasta sauce: Sugar is often added to tomato-based sauces to offset the acidity of the tomatoes and add flavour. One of my faves – President’s Choice Sweet Basil – contains 7 grams of sugar in just half a cup of sauce. Double that (yours truly will surely go back for a second helping) and you’re suddenly up to 14 grams of added sugar – or 3.5 teaspoons. Keep in mind that is already over half of the recommended daily sugar intake for a woman.
  • Tomato soup: The Campbell’s tomato soup in my cupboard has 13 grams of sugar in just 125 mL – which is less than half a can! That works out to be 3.25 teaspoons of sugar; so it’s pretty much on par with the pasta sauce.
  • Ketchup: The President’s Choice ‘Blue Menu’ ketchup in our fridge has a whopping 5 grams of sugar in just one tablespoon – the equivalent of 1.25 teaspoons of sugar!
  • Barbeque sauce: It’s not exactly barbeque season in Ottawa right now, so I didn’t have any bottles in my fridge. Instead, I did some online research – as I know that BBQ sauce is one of the culprits to look out for in terms of high sugar content. I randomly pulled a brand from memory – Bull’s-Eye – and found a really useful site called NutritionRank. It was pretty stunning to learn that ‘Bull’s-Eye Original BBQ Sauce’ contains 12 grams of sugar in what is classified as a ‘serving’ – 36 grams! So clearly sugar makes up over 30 per cent of this particular sauce.
  • Yogurt & yogurt drinks: Our kids are a bit fickle when it comes to snacks, but from time to time we buy Danino’s drinkable yogurt in an effort to boost their calcium levels. It turns out a mini bottle (93 mL) contains a disappointing 11 grams of sugar (2.75 teaspoons). The miniature Danino yogurts fared a bit better – with 5 grams (1.25 teaspoons) of sugar to each 50-gram mini yogurt tub.
While yogurt has the reputation of being a healthy food choice, you have to be careful of the sugar content.

While yogurt has the reputation of being a healthy food choice, you have to be careful of the sugar content.

According to NutritionRank, Dannon All Natural Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt contains a staggering 33 grams of sugar in a 227-gram serving. That’s 8.25 grams of sugar – more than a woman is supposed to consume in a day, and close to the daily recommendation for a man!

With so much added sugar, it seems ironic that ‘all natural’ is part of the product name.


2 responses to “Sugar-free Day #4: Surprising culprits to watch for

  1. Heather says:

    It’s amazing, isn’t it, how sugar is hidden in everything? I used to love drinking juice – but have really tried to cut back. Here, we make, what we have termed “special juice.” Crack open a can of club soda and pour over ice, until your glass is a bit more than 3/4 full. Top with a smallish amount of natural juice – for a splash of flavor. It is extremely refreshing, and is a wonderful, healthy alternative to pop!

    • Nice!! That’s a great alternative to pop, though I understand you have to be careful of the sodium levels in club soda (some higher than others). Pop is definitely one of the worst sugar offenders out there.

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