Nutrition

8 Foods You Never Knew Had Sugar in Them

Erica Sanderson Aug 15th, 2014 (updated Feb 22nd, 2016)
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Trying to cut excess sugar out of your diet? These products could be sabotaging it. Here are some surprising foods with added sugar and how you can avoid them.

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Peanut butter
Peanut butter

Non-natural peanut butters sneak in more than peanuts and salt. Sugar is listed as the second ingredient in some popular brands of peanut butter that also contain molasses (another sweetener). Two tablespoons of these products can contain 3g of sugar. Sure, it’s not a lot, but who needs sugar in peanut butter? Choose a natural peanut butter instead. They can taste just as good, if not better, without the added sugar.

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Ketchup
Ketchup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is mixed into ketchup to help disguise the taste of vinegar. For example, one fo the leading brands uses both HFCS and corn syrup for a double sugar whammy. One tablespoon can have up to 4g of sugar. Look for organic or all-natural ketchups. It is hard to find one without any sugar, but aim for a brand that does not include HFCS.

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Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce

Similar to ketchup, tomato sauce has sugar. There will always be some amount of sugar in ketchup because tomatoes are carbohydrates that break down into sugar. But look out for added sugar on the ingredients list. One sauce was found to have as much as a whopping 10g of sugar. Stick to homemade sauces so you can control the amount of sugar (if any) added. Plus, your kitchen will smell delicious.

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Yogurt
Yogurt

Sure, yogurt has probiotics and protein—but the other component you hear less about is its high sugar content. After customer complaints, one company removed high fructose corn syrup from their products. However, some products can still pack up to 26g of sugar. Choose all natural organic types and always read the nutrition label.    

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Salad dressing
Salad dressing

There’s a reason people ask for dressing on the side: It’s not all that healthy. In addition to its high-calorie, high-fat content, dressing can be surprisingly abundant in sugar. A popular honey mustard dressing was reported to include 10g of sugar per 1.5 ounce. The alternative? Make your own dressing or choose 100 percent natural brands.

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Canned vegetables
Canned vegetables

Canned vegetables are cheap, easy and long lasting. But you may be compromising nutritional value.  Sugar is added to various canned veggies, from corn to peas to green beans. Why? To increase their sweet taste. Check the labels: Some brands have sugar as the third ingredient and can contain 4g of sugar in 1/2 cup. You may instead choose to buy fresh or frozen (check the ingredients first). 

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Baked beans
Baked beans

A few well-known brands of baked beans keep their secret family recipe on lockdown. But there’s one ingredient we know: sugar. Eating 1/2 cup of one particular secret recipe may also mean eating up to 12g of sugar. But most baked beans contain brown sugar, so opt for other kinds, such as black or navy beans.

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Soup
Soup

As with vegetables, canned soups pile on the sugar for flavor. Even classics such as tomato soup can contain up to 12g of sugar in 1/2 cup. But not all canned soups are sugar culprits. Check the ingredients and nutrition facts and choose natural, organic brands.