Not every “healthy” food deserves a halo. As it turns out, there are a number of seemingly “good for you” choices that just plain aren’t. Here are five foods I’ve found that are surprisingly high in sugar.
Traditional oatmeal is a healthier alternative to sugary cereals, but be careful when choosing which type of oatmeal you’re eating. Flavored instant oats can be packed with sugar, while plain oatmeal usually has none. If you opt for oatmeal, try adding berries, cinnamon, or nuts for flavoring instead for a more nutritious and delicious breakfast.
2. Protein bars
Protein bars can seem like a quick and easy option when you’re low on fuel, but some contain as much sugar as a candy bar! Some brands are worse than others though, so when buying a bar make sure you’re choosing one with less than 10 grams of sugar, and ideally more than 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving. Even better, go for a nut bar, which is much closer to real food than a processed bar.
Yogurt has grown in popularity as a health food, but most of the options you’ll find in the refrigerator section are high in sugar. Opt for plain, low-fat Greek yogurt jazzed up with fresh berries, nut butters, or seeds. And if you must grab something pre-flavored, try Elli’s Quark or, my personal favorite, Siggi’s Skyr.
4. Salad dressing
When you’re eating a salad, it’s hard to consider that it may not be so healthy. But dressing can be full of extra calories—and added sugar. Read the labels before making your choice the next time you’re at the grocery store. Or consider making your own dressing with extra-virgin olive oil, herbs, and citrus juice or vinegar.
5. Dried fruit
Fruit can be difficult to keep fresh, so it’s tempting to keep dried fruit at home instead. It’s the same thing, right? Actually, if you’re eating dried fruit you’re probably consuming a lot more sugar—and missing out on the filling water content you’d get from fresh. For example, a 1/4-cup serving of dried cranberries can have as much as 29 grams of sugar! Next time you need a fruit fix, grab something fresh or try freeze-dried berries instead.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.