Hidden sugars

Supriya Lal

2020 Oct 01

3 min read

Maintaining your eating habits to be healthy and balanced is very important. That includes keeping track of your consumption of vitamins, carbs, proteins and… sugar. No matter how hard you try to avoid it  – it’s everywhere! And for diabetes patients it’s an additional headache: you have to put some extra work to investigate what you eat, because even bread, veggies and potatoes have sugar in them these days! 

So, we did an investigation for you and here’s a list of foods that usually contain hidden sugars.

Sauces, salad dressings & other condiments

The sad truth is, most of your favorite condiments, (such as BBQ sauce, pesto, ketchup, soy sauce or chili) contain a concentrated amount of sugar. It works well mixed with acid and salt, which evokes all sorts of taste palettes in sauces. Sugar will find its way by having pseudo-names such as corn-syrup, fructose and etc. It might contain 10-12 grams of sugar in 2tbsp!

What to do?

There are a few options. You can reduce the amount of gravies you pour on your dish OR you can try home-made sauces. That way you will be able to cut sugar from the recipe and put quantities of ingredients according to your taste.

Granola bars & dried fruits

If you fancy protein or granola bars and think that it’s a healthy and crunchy snack… Well, hate to break it to you, but they also contain sugar. Whole-grain, nuts and dried fruits are O.K. but sometimes honey, yogurt glaze or chocolate chips can fool you. Even raisins or other dried berries have some corn-syrup in them. Adding to that, we suggest avoiding canned fruits also. The amount of glucose in that fruit-soaking liquid is insane.

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What to do? 

Thoroughly read the labels on the packages. Try eating organic bars made from clean ingredients. You will feel full, energized and less overpowered with sugar supplements.

Yoghurt, cereal & oatmeals

For most people cereal, yogurt or instant oatmeals are the main part of breakfast. However, little do we know that these morning starters and energy boosters contain sugar – sometimes more than we could imagine. Flavoured yoghurts, sweetened cereals and oatmeals have corn-syrup, agave syrup and other sneaky sugary ingredients that are difficult to track or inspect.

What to do?

Use non-flavoured yoghurt or greek yoghurt and put some fresh fruit in it. With cereals and oatmeals try searching for whole-grain, natural and, also, non-flavoured ones. You can garnish it by your own choice – with bananas, berries or nuts.

Bottom line

Nobody said that staying healthy will be easy! However, as long as you learn and start to track your consumption of sugar (by reading labels, swapping ingredients or cutting the portion sizes – sauces, dippings, syrups, etc.).

[1] American Diabetes Association. Understanding Food Labels.
[2] Fuhrman J. The Hidden Dangers of Fast and Processed Food.

Written by

Supriya Lal

Supriya Lal is a Registered Dietitian based in New York City. She completed her training at Duke University Hospital System and has specific interests in personalised nutrition therapy, nutritional counseling, and sustainability related to food and nutrition. She is currently completing her Master's in Public Health at New York University.

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