‘Healthy’ Sources of Added Sugar

‘Healthy’ Sources of Added Sugar
‘Healthy’ Sources of Added Sugar

We already know that foods such as cakes, lollies, chocolate, biscuits and soft drinks are high in added sugar, and are considered our ‘sometimes’ foods. But did you know there is added sugar lurking in many food products that seem healthy choices? These foods can displace the nutritional quality of your diet, and for those who have had a bypass, also up your chances of dumping syndrome.

We already know that foods such as cakes, lollies, chocolate, biscuits and soft drinks are high in added sugar, and are considered our ‘sometimes’ foods. But did you know there is added sugar lurking in many food products that seem healthy choices? These foods can displace the nutritional quality of your diet, and for those who have had a bypass, also up your chances of dumping syndrome.

So how do we recognize this added sugar and which foods is it typically in? Read on to find out more!

Natural vs. Added Sugar
The ‘sugar’ label on food packaging is the amount of natural and added sugar combined in the food. Unfortunately this means there is no clear way of knowing how much is natural, such as lactose and fructose, and how much is added during food manufacturing. The best thing to do is look for sugar in the ingredients list. The higher up the list you see ‘sugar’ listed, the more added sugar the product contains.

It is important to note however that there are many alternative names for sugar to also keep a look out for. Some of the main ones are listed below.

  • Sucrose
  • Raw sugar
  • Glucose
  • Rice malt syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Cane sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Malt extract

The Worst Culprits
So which foods are the most surprising when it comes to hidden sugar content? Have a look at out list below, plus some healthier alternatives to those foods.

Fruit and Nut Muesli Bar = 2 teaspoons of sugar
Alternative: 30g serving of unsalted nuts (approx. 10 nuts)

Wheat flake cereal with dried fruit 1 cup = 2 teaspoon of sugar
Alternatives: Porridge made with rolled oats, Weetbix, hard-boiled eggs.

¼ cup dried apricots = 5 teaspoons of sugar
Alternatives: fresh fruit, nuts

½ cup tinned pears in syrup = 5 teaspoons of sugar
Alternatives: Fresh fruit, frozen fruit defrosted, tinned fruit drained and rinsed.

Reduced fat yoghurt 150g tub = 5 teaspoons of sugar

Alternatives: Read below for our guideline on sugar and use this when buying yoghurts.

Flavoured/Vitamin Water = 6 teaspoons of sugar
Alternatives: plain water, mineral water, water with a squeeze of lemon or lime, diet cordial

1 cup tinned tomato soup = 3 teaspoons sugar
Alternatives: Homemade soups made in bulk and frozen

500g jar of tomato pasta sauce = 7 teaspoons of sugar
Alternatives: fresh tomatoes or passata

Shocking isn’t it! The main take-home message of this blog is read the label of all food products you buy. It is the only way to be sure, as marketing can be misleading. Look for products with <10g/100g of sugar, or as close as possible.

  • Australian Medical Association
  • Royal Australian College of Surgeons
  • University of Oxford
  • Alpha Omega Alpha