During the past week, the Huffington Post claimed sugar is bad for your mental health, Harvard Health said it’s bad for your heart and the Sun hypothesised that it’s bad for your waistline.
Suffice to say, sugar is the new public enemy number one.
Now, we don’t want to go full-on Scare Mode and claim that any and all sugar consumption is going to cause your teeth to fall out, your belly to balloon and your mood to turn into a rollercoaster.
A little bit of sugar in your diet is okay.
The odd chocolate bar here and piece of toffee there isn’t going to cause any long-term health issues.
Consistently consuming too many sugary snacks, however, will turn your pearly whites to mush and cause a whole host of other health problems.
The message from us healthcare professionals is always the same: Reduce the amount of sugar you consume.
Well, that’s a lot easier to say than do.
Our lives are packed with sugary temptations. Supermarkets are full of high-sugar foods, restaurants always have tempting desserts and vending machines are stocked almost exclusively with teeth-rotting snacks.
It’s not just the obviously high-sugar stuff, either!
There’s loads of foods out there that are secretly super high in sugar, sneakily adding loads of sugar to your diet when you think you’re being healthy.
In this blog post , I’m going to highlight six of the worst offenders to help you identify (and maybe reduce) how much sugar you’re consuming.
Low-fat meals are sold as a healthy alternative to regular foods. Since it’s low-fat it must be good for you, right?
When you reduce the fat in a food, the taste tends to suffer. To make the low-fat version taste better, manufacturers tend to add more sugar.
Just look at the nutritional info we took from a well-known yoghurt brand.
Natural Yoghurt (150g)
Low-Fat Natural Yoghurt (150g)
That’s 30 percent more sugar in a yogurt that’s marketed as a healthy alternative!
It’s the same across most low-fat yogurts, low-fat ready meals, low-fat spreads and so on.
The best advice I can give is to ignore the branding and read the nutritional label. Unlike food marketing, the nutritional label won’t bend the truth!
I know, saying sodas are high in sugar is just like saying water is wet. It’s obvious and everyone knows it.
Well, even though we all know it, we still keep drinking soda by the gallon!
It’s easy to talk about how many tablespoons of sugar are in each can of soda but it’s always just going to sound like just another number.
What might change your mind is seeing how much sugar is in each can.
Check out this amazing video from Home Science where they boil off the water from a can of soda to show how much sugar is mixed in.
Whole pieces of fruit are packed with loads of good stuff like vitamins, minerals and fibre. Unfortunately, all that good stuff usually comes with a big dose of sugar, too!
When you extract the juice from fruit, you basically pull out all the nutrients and concentrate it down. That includes the sugar.
Since it takes a lot of fruit to actually make juice, it’s super easy to consume a lot of sugar without thinking about it.
Many brands of orange juice, for example, have almost as much sugar as sodas!
Coffee is naturally bitter so a lot of coffee shops will add in gallons of milk and heaps of sugar to balance it out.
Flavoured coffee, in particular, is usually extremely high in sugar.
Take the infamous Unicorn Frappuccino Blended Crème from Starbucks. This (16 fl oz) drink contains a whopping 59g of sugar, which is almost two cans of soda!
Just like fruit juice, it’s super easy to think that sports drinks are good for you. That’s what the marketing tells you, after all.
However, sports drinks are specifically designed to be consumed by people who are exercising and burning through their energy supplies.
If you aren’t exercising, there’s no real reason for you to be drinking something with so much sugar.
Soup? Full of sugar? Really? Well, not hearty homemade soup. That type of soup is probably super low sugar and really good for you.
What I’m talking about is canned soup, which tend to have loads of sugar tossed in to improve the flavour.
An average can of tomato soup will have anywhere from 10 to 15g of sugar in it, which is a lot more than I’d expect.
Angela Rowlands // Co-founder at Buttercup 7 Day Dental
Angela grew up in Glasgow and was a distinguished student at Glasgow University, graduating with honours in 2004 with the William Hunter Medal in Prosthodontics, the James Rankin Brownlie prize for Dental Surgery and the Lord Provost’s prize. Angela founded Buttercup in 2011 with Gerwyn Rowlands.