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10 Surprising Foods that Have Sugar in Them

By Expert HERWriter
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10 Surprising Foods that Contain Sugar bit24/Fotolia

Are you ready to be shocked and appalled? Then look in your cabinets and read the food labels for sugar.

In 1822, Americans ate 45 grams of sugar during the entire year — that equates to about 11 teaspoons of sugar. In 2012 Americans consumed about 130 pounds of sugar in a year. If we do the math it equates to approximately 38 teaspoons of sugar every day. That is way too much sugar!

Forbes magazine has a great graphic to show how much sugar Americans are eating.

If you are like me, you are probably scratching your head trying to figure out how you can get that much sugar into your body in one day. I know it seems impossible — unless you have four cups of Starbucks' 13.7-ounce Bottled Dark Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino Coffee Drink, which contain about 10 teaspoons of sugar each.

Since most of you are probably not drinking that much coffee every day, then how is this sugar creeping into your diet? Here are a few places you might not expect to find sugar in your foods.

When I first started my practice I would take my patients to the grocery store and teach them how to read labels. It is a great educational tool. It was a shocking experience for many to see that the food they loved had hidden sugar.

It might be helpful for you to know that 4 grams of sugar equal about 1 teaspoon of sugar. So if you are following along with the food labels, you can calculate the amount of sugar in your foods.

Barbecue sauce

Do you love to slather barbecue sauce over meats and chicken? Two tablespoons of barbecue sauce can contain 13 grams, or 3.25 teaspoons, of sugar.

Salad dressing

Two tablespoons of a salad dressing can have 7 grams, or 1.75 teaspoons, of sugar. So when you think you are eating healthy, don’t ruin it with the wrong salad dressing.


These condiments are tricky. They have hidden sugar. Each tablespoon contains about 4 grams, or 1 teaspoon, of sugar.


Yogurt is suppose to be healthy, right? Well, if you are getting the yogurt with the fruit already blended in, then you are taking in 19 grams, or 4.75 teaspoons, of sugar per serving.

Pasta sauce

Everyone loves pasta with red sauce. This is another food we love to slather on. Every one-half cup of canned pasta sauce contains 12 grams, or 3 teaspoons, of sugar. Depending on your portion size, you might be eating two or three times that much sugar.


It probably doesn’t surprise you that this makes the list of sugar-laden food. For an 8-ounce servings, there can be 29 grams, or 7.25 teaspoons, of sugar.

Here, the issue is not just drinking the soda, but the portion size is also a concern. Often the soda bottle might have two or three servings contained in it. For example, a 20-ounce bottle of Coke has 65 grams, or 16.25 teaspoons, of sugar.

Dried Fruit

One-third cup of dried fruit can have up to 24 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of sugar per serving.

Granola bars

One bar can have 12 grams, or 3 teaspoon (or more) of sugar. So while you think you are eating a healthy snack you might not be.

Energy drinks

This truly is shocking. Some of those energy drinks contain up to 83 grams, or 20.75 teaspoons, of sugar per can.

One of the best ways to avoid hidden sugar is to eat whole foods. If you haven’t graduated to whole foods, then be sure to read labels on the packages. The labels on the package can help you to make better choices.

Live Vibrantly!

Dr. Dae

Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.com

Dr. Dae's book: Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living can be purchased @ www.healthydaes.com

Dr. Dae's Bio:

Dr. Daemon Jones is your diabetes reversal, hormones, metabolism and weight loss expert. Dr. Dae is a naturopathic doctor who treats patients all over the country using Skype and phone appointments. Visit her or schedule a free consultation at her website, www.HealthyDaes.org


10 Hidden Sugar Bombs Spot the sweet stuff in the strangest of places. Prevention.com. September 15, 2015. http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/10-hidden-sugar-bombs.

How Much Sugar Are Americans Eating? [Infographic]
Forbes Magazine. September 15.2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/08/30/how-much-sugar-are-americans-eating-infographic.

No More Hidden Sugar: FDA Proposes New Label Rule. NPR. September 15, 2015. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/07/24/425908798/no-more-hidden-sugar-fda-proposes-new-label-rule.

Not So Sweet – The Average American Consumes 150-170 Pounds of Sugar Each Year. September 15, 2015. http://bamboocorefitness.com/not-so-sweet-the-average-american-consumes-150-170-pounds-of-sugar-each-year.

Slideshow: Surprising Sources of Hidden Sugar. WebMD.com. September 15, 2015. http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/hidden-sugar-slideshow.

Sugar in Starbucks How Much Sugar is in Starbucks Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate & Other Drinks. About.com. September 15, 2015. http://coffeetea.about.com/od/Coffee-Tea-Health/a/Sugar-In-Starbucks.htm.

Reviewed September 16, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.