So-called healthy foods that contain hidden sugars you should be aware of

Did you know a lot of the so-called healthy foods and drinks you buy are not so healthy at all. In this post I’ll be sharing some presumably healthy foods that contain hidden sugars that you are probably blissfully unaware of. When we start following a healthier lifestyle, we choose all sorts of low fat foods, granola bars, and smoothies, however, some of them can do more harm than good. That is why it is essential to choose carefully and read food labels when you’re doing food shopping and make informed choices that can be beneficial and not the other way around.

Some of these foods are loaded with sugar which is quite alarming since they’re supposed to be healthy foods that are good for you. Take a granola bar for instance. Some contain in excess of 26g/100g sugar whereas Canderel’s granola bar only contains 1g/100g sugar. Here are some common foods that are guilty as charged when it comes to hidden sugars.



Foods that contain hidden sugars

  • Cereal bars.
  • Low fat yogurt.
  • Breakfast bars.
  • Baked beans.
  • Instant oats.
  • Breakfast cereal.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Sauces, marinades, condiments (including tomato sauce), ready-made pasta sauces, and salad dressings.
  • Protein bars.

Beverages that contain hidden sugars

  • Instant cappuccino pouches.
  • Iced tea.
  • Bottled smoothies.
  • Drinking yogurts.
  • Flavored sparkling water.
  • Tonic water.
  • Sports drinks.
  • Fruit juice.

Children’s foods that contain hidden sugars

  • Breakfast biscuits.
  • Fruit juice.
  • Dried fruits, particularly those that are sugar coated.
  • Sweetened yogurt.
  • Organic, gluten free, all natural products (check the labels before buying them).
  • Malt-based drinks.
  • Breakfast cereals (look for varieties that have 5g/100g sugar).

Don’t believe everything you read

The packaging on food or drink containers can often be misleading. Remember, the manufacturers need to sell the product. Instead read through the ingredients list on the container prior to buying it. The ingredients must be listed according to weight and usually when sugar appears on the top, you know the product is loaded with sugar. Keep in mind that sugar can also be listed as maltodextrin, cane sugar, maltose, dextrose, honey, glucose, high fructose syrup, corn syrup, and sucrose. For a product to have a low sugar content it must contain either 5g/100g of sugar or 2.5g/100ml.

Why is sugar so bad for us?

Sugar has become synonymous with unhealthy eating and for good reason. The real problem lies in added sugar because there’s no need to add extra sugar to your eating plan at all. The less sugar intake in your diet, the healthier it is for you. However, most of us take in more than our daily quota. Men are supposed to have nine teaspoons of sugar a day while women only six, according to the recommendations of the  American Heart Association. Based on the South African department of health’s suggested calorie intake, women has a 202 calorie daily limit and men 250. Diabetics or individuals at higher risk must have half this amount.

There are brands that are healthier

There are brands that go the extra mile as far as health is concerned. Canderel, for instance, is an excellent example with their broad range of granola, sweeteners, and chocolates that contain less sugar and are a good fit for people who are looking after their health.


I hope you have found this article helpful. I know I was surprised to learn about some of the foods that contain hidden sugars. For instance, low fat yogurt might not contain a lot of fat but it contains more sugar to enhance the taste. And that is what you should be wary of. Good luck with your healthy eating and beware of those sugar-laden foods.


4 thoughts on “So-called healthy foods that contain hidden sugars you should be aware of

  1. Thank you for this post, my sugar intake is something I really need to look at! I have 2 teaspoons of sugar in my coffee and I have a few cups a day. Then of course there are all the hidden sugars that you mention on top of that. I get my daily sugar intake from my coffee alone!

    1. You’re welcome Lynne. I was shocked to learn about some of the foods or drinks, in particular, yogurt. I honestly didn’t think that there could be too much sugar in yogurt. Probably, why kids love it so much. 🙂 I think you are ok, since your daily sugar intake is primarily the sugar in your coffee. I don’t drink a lot of sugar in my coffee because I don’t like it too sweet. I LOVE coffee though and also enjoy a few cups a day. But I have to add one teaspoon of sugar. My mom in law gave me some xylitol the other day. When I’m at home I use that in my coffee or at work I use brown sugar which has a lower sugar content than white sugar. Thanks for reading my post.

  2. Its really shocking to find out how much sugar they ‘hide’ in these foods that are supposedly meant to be good for us. I know take away foods such as hamburgers and pizzas are also packed full of unnecessary sugars. I was wondering if perhaps you could tell me the difference between fats and sugars? And which are ‘good fats’ and which are ‘bad fats’ for your body?

    1. Hey Anthea,
      Thanks for the idea for a future post. I will definitely write an article because I am curious about it myself and I’m sure many other parents would like to know as well. It’s frightening how much hidden sugars are in things like yogurt. Who knew? And so called “low fat” products are the worst because they are packed with sugar to enhance the flavor.

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