Sugar seems to be everywhere, and most of us are consuming a lot more than we really should be. Why? Because they’re hidden in foods that most people wouldn’t expect. It’s not just desserts and sodas that we have to worry about. Some of these are even found in Paleo-friendly foods!
The current dietary guidelines suggest women limit daily sugar intake to 25 grams of sugar (6 tsp) and 36 grams for men (9 tsp). One large apple alone has 23 grams of sugar, so we really can’t afford all these “hidden” sugars.
Some obvious places that we’ll find sugars include cereal, we usually skip it when we’re eating Paleo, granola bars same story. Protein bars almost always have added sugar and a whole slew of other bad ingredients.
But the 5 we’re going to talk about today can be a little trickier. Foods that you may not even think to look at the sugar content in. The last one on this list is actually embarrassing, it slipped right past me…
5 Foods With Hidden Sugars
1. Salad Dressing
Even the ones we might consider to be healthier choices, like Italian dressing and balsamic dressing, can contain added sugar. You might avoid the ranch and blue cheese dressing, but at the end of the day, it’s best to make your own. When dining out ask for a side of balsamic dressing and side of olive oil, or olive oil and lemon wedges and dress your own salad!
2. Pasta Sauce
Even in brands you might think are healthy can have added sugar. Again, making your own is the best idea or at least read the label completely.
Now, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but the next 3 might really shock you… These are things generally thought of as healthy, things that are included as a part of most Paleo diets. Sometimes we’ll even trade out certain “regular” items for one of these, but at the end of the day, the “healthier” version can contain added sugars too.
Such a Paleo sweetheart, but even bacon labeled “natural” can have added sugar. Actually, 9 times out of 10 bacon will have added sugar. Even when you go to the meat counter and buy bacon that’s thick cut, not in a package. So, Make sure to ask your butcher if the bacon has added sugar. And when buying packaged bacon read the labels and look for labels that say no added sugar.
4. Almond Butter
What the heck?! There’s no need to add sugar to almond butter, almonds are delicious and sweet as they are! But you’ll still have to read the label (same for peanut butter and any other nut/seed butters), especially when you buy something that says ‘no stir’ on the label. ‘No stir’ is typically a sign that not only does it have added sugar, but it has added processed oils that keep the almond butter from separating. You can learn to make your own quick and easy homemade nut butter here.
This is the one that really got me. I had friends coming over one evening and didn’t have any ripe avocados to mash up, so I grabbed a container of the good green stuff from the store. I didn’t think twice about it—after all, how hard is it to make guacamole? Apparently, some people think it’s really hard to make without sugar! Even when you grab a container of guacamole from the health food store, you’ve gotta watch out!
This just goes to show that any time you buy anything prepackaged you need to keep a close eye on the label, even on the foods we consider to be healthy. It doesn’t matter if you’re not diabetic or hypoglycemic, you should still be watching your sugar intake. Sugar creates inflammation, and inflammation is related to, like, every disease out there. So it’s very important for all of us!