The more we learn about how a diet high in sugar impacts our overall health, the more experts seem to encourage us to cut back—way back. Here are 5 common places where hidden sugars may be tagging along:
- Breakfast on the go: Sweetened cereals and pre-packaged breakfast foods such as muffins, granola bars, breakfast cookies and even flavored oatmeal can pack some pretty high sugar amounts. It may take a few more minutes to make, but that protein and veggie omelet is a healthier option in the long run.
- Coffee break: Early commute? Afternoon pick-me-up? Most of us think nothing of ordering a quick caramel macchiato or a flavored latte on the go, but you may have a change of heart when you realize just one sweetened coffee drink can pack up to 50 grams of sugar (yup, that’s about 12 teaspoons).
- Your post-workout routine: You’re not doing your body any favors by chugging that sugary sports drink (we’re talking up to 10 teaspoons) or gobbling a sugar-loaded protein bar post workout. Stick with water instead, and look for protein bars and even shake mixes with no added sugars.
- The salad bar: Salad is good for you, right? Sure, until you drench in it dressing (which can add up to 2 teaspoons of sugar) or top it with croutons and dried cranberries or other dried fruits, which are a big source of hidden sugar. Your best bet is to stick with plenty of fresh greens, raw veggies, healthy fats and protein. Instead of bottled dressing, try olive oil and vinegar.
- Spaghetti night: That starchy white pasta is just the tip of the iceberg. Many jar sauces pack up to 5 teaspoons of sugar per serving! Opt for bean-based pastas instead that are lower in carbohydrates, or use spaghetti squash; its string-like consistency makes it a great pasta substitute. And instead of jar sauce, try pairing it with plain crushed tomatoes, olive oil and garlic.