Sugar is enduring a brutal smear campaign these days. With good reason. It’s condemned as the cause to everything from diabetes to cancer. It’s so pervasive in the American diet — to the tune of 90 pounds of sugar per year per person — that everyone should be reading ingredient lists and weeping. Or getting saddlebags, saggy butt or belly. Or all of the above.
Due in part to the silly low fat craze of the past 20 years, sugar became the substitute to make processed “food” low fat, since sugar only turns to fat in the body once it’s not burned off as energy. Think of sugar as a fuel that must be used immediately or it will end up somewhere. Like getting settled into your fat cells. However, not all sugar is bad. It occurs naturally in fruit, called fructose, but eating too much fruit could still pack on the pounds if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. Same goes for the naturally occurring sugars in milk, called lactose.
You might think you’re eating super healthy and limiting sugar intake. But it all adds up everyday. Here are five healthy foods with hidden sugar, covering up their sins. Keep them in check.
- Mango, one whole = 30 grams. This is all natural fructose but it still counts.
- Low fat 1% milk, one cup = 12 grams. All natural lactose.
- Baked medium sweet potato = 10 grams. All natural fructose.
- Raisins, 1/4 cup = 29 grams. All natural fructose.
- Vanilla almond milk sweetened, 1 cup = 16 grams. All added sugar.
Want to monitor your sugar intake? Here are some hidden sugar terms to look for on a label: fructose, lactose, maltose, dextrose, cane crystals, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maple syrup and molasses. Coming very soon, the FDA will start mandating labels to carry sugar information on them, much like fats today. It will get easier then.