These 6 sugar traps are lurking in the supermarket
You want to eat less sugar, but you don’t know exactly which foods it is hiding in?
We uncover 6 sugar traps.
A to renounce of sugar costs not only overcome and a lot of willpower but also detective instinct. Because it is clear that chocolate and gummy bears are sweet sugar bombs. But there is a much greater danger lurking in the supermarket: hidden sugar in supposedly healthy – often hearty – foods. We’ll tell you how to recognize sugar traps and which ingredients in the ingredients list should make you wonder.
Plus: The smartest alternatives for sugar-free shopping.
Here are our 6 sugar traps
#1 – Hidden sugar in ready-made salad dressing
Salad dressings from the bottle are a real classic among the sugar traps in the supermarket. Because most dressing variants are full of unnecessary added sugar – despite healthy-sounding names like “yogurt dressing” or “herb dressing.” Per serving 30 milliliters (corresponds to 2 tablespoons), there are 1 to 2 sugar cubes – depending on the type and manufacturer.
Take a look at the back of your favorite dressing: Well, are there sugar, glucose-fructose syrup & Co. high up in the list of ingredients? A light dressing isn’t much better either: here, only the fat content was reduced, but the sugar content was often increased to compensate for any loss of taste.
Similar to the small sachets with salad dressing powder to mix: In their ingredient lists, sugar or Maltodextrin (sugar mixture) often appears very high and is, therefore, a central component of the dressing.
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Our tip: Make your dressing yourself, like this delicious yogurt dressing: For 2 servings, simply mix 100 grams of natural yogurt with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of oil, and ½ teaspoon of mustard.
Then squeeze a small clove of garlic and add, season with salt and pepper, a pimp with herbs of your choice (frozen or fresh).
#2 – Coleslaw is a sugar trap.
Coleslaw tastes good on its own and as a side dish for grilling or pulled pork. But be careful, sugar is also hidden here: after the main ingredient, white cabbage, which is at the top of the list of ingredients, sugar usually follows directly after water.
Because sugar is used in the food industry as a flavor carrier and binds water, it improves shelf life, as in the case of ready-made salad. In the end, there are around 10 grams of sugar in 100 grams of coleslaw, depending on the manufacturer.
Many coleslaw recipes contain sugar to soften the added vinegar and round off the salad’s taste. But if you make coleslaw yourself, you alone can decide how much sugar ends up in the product, and not just any food manufacturer.
#3 – Fruit yogurt is high in sugar.
While natural yogurt is a top food for women athletes, fruit yogurt is a real flop: Depending on the manufacturer and type, it contains around 12 to 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams. This corresponds to about 4 to 5 pieces of sugar. Thickeners, flavors, and colors are also often included.
The same applies to fruit quark or fruit buttermilk – just take a look at the ingredients list.
The addition “fruit” sounds healthy, but for a manufacturer to be able to call his yogurt “fruit yogurt,” the fruit content has to be a mere 6 percent. This corresponds to 9 grams of fruit per 150-gram cup, roughly the weight of a small cherry without a stone or ½ mini strawberry.
Worse still: the so-called “yogurt with fruit preparation.” The fruit content here only has to be 3.5 percent. The solution: Buy natural yogurt with no added sugar and chop fresh fruit yourself, done!
Do you always eat light fruit yogurt with 0.1 percent fat? Just because the percentage of fat is lower does not mean that it contains less sugar or fewer calories.
Always take a look at the nutritional table: The sugar content here is usually just as high (if not higher!) Then yogurt with 1.8 or 3.5 percent fat in the milk.
#4 – Even pickles are not sugar-free.
Sugar is traditionally used in the production of pickled cucumbers. Therefore, it is not really surprising that the pickles in the jar from the supermarket also contain a certain amount of sugar – around 5 to 7 grams per 100 grams of drained weight. Good to know.
However, as is well known, the industry does not always stick to traditions. So it happens that in addition to sugar, glucose-fructose syrup can be found in supermarket cucumbers (also from well-known manufacturers).
This corn syrup (also HFCS = high fructose corn syrup) can be produced remarkably cheaply and is “hidden” in all kinds of foods, especially in the USA. Critics warn that the syrup’s generous use as a sweetener can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and other metabolic diseases.
Our tip: It’s best to use pickled cucumbers. They are usually entirely sugar-free.
#5 – Pay attention to the amount of fruit in ready-made smoothies.
Smoothies – with a lot of fruit and few vegetables – also have a fructose problem. They usually do not contain HFCS (see pickled cucumbers), but they contain a lot of fructose because of the massive amounts of fruit.
The problem: unlike glucose, fructose is metabolized independently of insulin, which means that the brain does not receive a saturation signal. However, if you eat fruit straight, you have a much more significant satiety effect than if you drink it since the pureed fruit virtually simply “slips through.”
You can also absorb a massive amount of fructose in a short time with a smoothie. This, in turn, puts a strain on the gastrointestinal tract because too much fructose leads to abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Around 80 grams of fructose per day is easy to manage for the intestines. A 250-milliliter smoothie alone often contains up to 50 grams of sugar.
By the way, fruit juices are not a better choice either. Here are 14 healthy foods that accelerate your weight loss.
Be more restrained when it comes to ready-made smoothies from the supermarket shelf. Fresh fruit is the better choice here. Exceptions are ok; after all, these things are damn practical. But it’s best to mix your own smoothie – all you need is a sound stand mixer.
So you can determine how much and what type of fruit it contains. Green smoothies with a high proportion of vegetables, like this one, are ideal.
#6 – Sugar is also hidden in canned soups.
Canned soups are practical and quick to prepare. Unfortunately, they are also the perfect hiding place for added sugar because sugar’s taste cannot be identified as a “sweet” addition.
Unfortunately, sugar is often found in the list of ingredients, especially in supposedly healthy vegetable soups, such as tomato or pumpkin soup.
Why? To round off the taste or to improve the texture. But of course, some manufacturers set a good example and completely do without sugar, sugar substitutes, etc.
So-called “cup soups” are even worse than canned soups: For example, in a tomato-cream soup from a significant manufacturer, sugar is directly in third place (after vegetables and potato starch) in the list of ingredients. And as if that weren’t enough, glucose syrup follows now in the sixth position, i.e., in principle sugar, just under one of its many aliases.
Better to make it yourself: Soups are super easy to prepare, and you can cook them well in advance.
Hidden sugar: you need to know these terms
The fact that sugar in a product cannot always be seen at first glance at the ingredients’ list. Because sugar can hide behind many other terms that do not have “sugar” in their name.
Avoid these ingredients if you want to eat a low-sugar diet:
- Fructose-glucose syrup
- Fructose syrup
- Glucose syrup
- Corn syrup
- Caramel syrup
- Maltose or malt extract/barley malt extract
- Maltodextrin, dextrin, or wheat dextrin
In the supermarket, there are unfortunately a lot of products in which hidden sugar lurks.
If you need some inspirational ideas for your table, I would recommend you to try those endless recipes. 😉
The good thing: Most of the time, one look at the ingredients list is enough to reveal them. It’s best to buy fresh and unprocessed food as possible. Because the higher the degree of processing, the more likely you will fall into the sugar trap.