9 Foods with a Surprisingly High Sugar Content

March 30, 2019
Peanut butter and tomato sauce, for example, have a very high sugar content, so you should avoid consuming them in excess.

Sometimes, appearances fool you. Did you know that there are many foods that have more sugar than you probably imagine? Even though many people think that they’re healthy, the truth is that these 9 foods have an unexpectedly high sugar content!

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In proper amounts, the sweet substance of sugar is indispensable in your body. However, it’s not wise or even necessary to eat a lot of it.

According to the World Health Organization, sugar should represent 5% of your total caloric intake.

Ideally, you should eat the equivalent of six to nine teaspoons per day. However, the reality is that in one day, you might eat a whole week’s worth.

Eating sugar in excess can have consequences further down the line. First of all, eating foods with high sugar content increases your demand for micro-nutrients. If you don’t consume enough of them, you have a greater risk of suffering from a lack of B complex vitamins like B1, B2, and B5.

In addition, that goes without saying that the risk of developing cavities in your teeth also increases. This happens even if you brush your teeth the recommended amount of times.

The key is to exercise and know the nutrition facts of the foods you eat.

Since there are so many foods with unexpectedly high sugar content, it’s important to be informed. Below is a list of foods most people assume are harmless, but actually have really high sugar content.

9 Foods with a Surprisingly High Sugar Content

1. Corn tortillas

Perhaps you’ve bought them as a snack between meals. You may have thought that they’re not food with a lot of calories. However, be careful. They have a high sugar content!

Two rice tortillas and two tablespoons of yogurt BOTH contain 10.2 grams of sugar. This is the same as two and a half sugar cubes! Thus, the best alternative is to choose sugar-free tortillas.

2. Brown sugar: very high sugar content

This is another one of the large myths: many people believe that brown sugar is a healthy option. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

Both brown and white sugars are the same. The only difference is a layer of cane molasses that gives the brown variety more flavor.

Additionally, 4 brown sugar cubes contain 98% sugar. In other words, they’re exactly the same. If you’re looking for a healthier substitute, it’s better to use stevia.

3. Almond milk

Almond milk contains a lot of sugar including lactose protein nuts high sugar content

Almond milk doesn’t have fewer calories than regular milk. Plus, it contains a sugar called lactose. In one cup of milk, there are about 10 grams of sugar. 

For people who are lactose intolerant, there are other options to give your body calcium.

4. Tomato sauce

While tomato sauce has fewer calories than prepackaged pasta sauce, it has a high sugar content.

A small, 16 oz. jar of this sauce has 16 grams of it! That’s equal to 4 sugar cubes.

5. Whole grain breakfast cereals

Three cereals separated by different levels high sugar content whole grain cereals

These appear to be a healthier product than conventional breakfast cereals. However, don’t let appearances fool you.

Whole grain breakfast cereals tend to have a high sugar content. Remember to read the nutrition label to make sure it’s healthy before buying it.

6. Energy bars

Not all energy bars are equal; some have a lot of protein. However, there are others that contain up to 48 grams of sugar per portion. Overall, it’s best to avoid energy bars.

7. Crackers

They’re salty, but did you know that they also contain large amounts of sugar?

If you eat just 16 crackers in a week, your body will get more than 4 grams of sugar. It’s not as much as other foods, but it is a surprising source.

Be careful with this kind of snack.

8. Nuts actually have a very high sugar content!

Nuts are very healthy. However, you need to eat them in moderation. This isn’t just because they’re high in calories. In fact, they have large amounts of sugar, even though it doesn’t seem like it.

If you eat 20 grams of nuts per day, you’re eating almost 12 grams of the stuff.

9. Peanut butter

Peanuts and peanut butter may contain a lot more sugar than you think solid peanut butter and whole peanuts

Do you like peanut butter? Well, it’s OK to eat it. However, it should be in moderation. Keep in mind that only four tablespoons contain 7 grams of sugar.

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  • Lustig, R. H., Schmidt, L. A., & Brindis, C. D. (2012). Public health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature482(7383), 27.
  • Powell, L. M., Szczypka, G., Chaloupka, F. J., & Braunschweig, C. L. (2007). Nutritional content of television food advertisements seen by children and adolescents in the United States. Pediatrics120(3), 576-583.