5 unexpected sources of sugar in your daily diet

Most nutritionists and health coaches will attest to the fact that the only resolution anyone needs to make this year, is to reduce sugar. They’ll cite all of the research and list all the many benefits of going easy on the sweet stuff. Sugar can mess with the hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, hamper your metabolism and increase insulin levels and fat storage. Plus, sugar is addictive because it causes dopamine to be released in the reward centre of the brain, making you want a hit every time you hit a slump. 

You probably know the usual suspects with high sugar content, the ones to have in absolute moderation—ice creams, cupcakes, cookies and other sweet treats. But if you’re eating foods out of a packet, tube or box (even if they’re savoury!), they might have hidden sugar sources you probably didn’t know about. We asked the pros for the things you should look out for. 

1) Cereals

Neha Ranglani, integrative nutritionist and health coach, says that while cereals are very convenient, they may not be the best pick for breakfast. “Today, there are so many varieties of cereals available in the market, with different flavours and fortifications, claiming to be healthier and tastier. But we often overlook that one of the most prominent ingredients of these cereals is sugar,” she says. She warns that breakfast cereals are processed foods with refined sugar, corn syrup, honey, barley syrup and molasses. “That’s what gives them the crunch, texture and the addictive properties which leaves us craving for it everyday,” she adds. She suggests starting the day with oats or muesli instead. 

2) Protein or energy bars

Protein and energy bars are considered as “healthy” snacks, but this label is often undeserved. Although these snack bars can be dense in the protein, vitamins and/or minerals, they can also be packed with enriched white flour, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, and other sweeteners, which negate their benefits,” says dietician Nmami Aggarwal. It is best to read the label carefully, and if there are any sugar-like ingredients high up on the list, leave it on the shelf. 

3) Sauces and condiments

You might be adding sauces and salad dressings to all your meals, but they might not be the healthiest pick. “Have you ever wondered how your favourite sauces and dips stay fresh for so long?,” asks Ranglani. “Besides the preservatives, a chief ingredient that makes them shelf-stable, and imparts taste, thickness and bulkiness is sugar. Refined sugar, molasses, corn syrup, glucose syrup are some commonly used ingredients,” she says. She suggests whipping up home-made sauces, dips and dressings so you can control the amount of sugar you’re adding in. 

4) Flavoured yoghurt 

Flavoured yoghurts are painted as a healthy breakfast or quick snack, but they’re actually chock-full of sugar. “The quantity of the fruit or fruit extracts is small, but most of the flavour comes from the sugar,” says Agarwal. 

5) Juices

Ranglani says that packaged juices that claim that have no added sugar might not contain refined sugar, but they might still have honey, corn syrup, maple syrup and agave, which can majorly spike blood sugar without having the fibre content to balance it out. 

The article was first published in Vogue


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

    View all posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *