If you’re trying to lose weight you may be keeping track of how many calories you’re consuming. Cutting back carbohydrates, particularly sugar, is one way in which many people cut calories out of their diets in an attempt to lose weight. Many people think that sugar is only found in junk food, however, this is not the case – sugar is found in many products, some of which may be surprising to you. If you’re cutting junk food out of your diet and you still can’t seem to lose weight, perhaps you should look at some sneaky places where sugar may be hiding and cut those foods out of your diet too.
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. It’s sweet and tasty and has 16 calories per teaspoon. There are two main types of sugar:
- Naturally occurring sugars found in vegetables, fruits and milk
- Added sugar which is found in a lot of junk food and processed foods
Reading nutrition labels to determine where the calories are coming from can get confusing because sugar has multiple names including: table sugar, confectioner’s sugar, powdered sugar, molasses, brown sugar, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Additionally, the chemical name for sugar is sucrose so you may see that on labels too. Sugar that is found in milk products is called lactose and sugar that is found in fruit is called fructose. When you’re looking at a nutrition label, if you see the ending “-ose”, it is likely sugar. No wonder it’s so hard to keep track of all the places where sugar may be hiding!
Sugar and Extra Calories are Hiding in Strange Places!
It’s no surprise that sugar is in junk food such as cakes, cookies, pastries, etc. but there are also a lot of places that may surprise you including:
1. Jarred Tomato Sauce – home-made tomato sauce is not only healthier, but it usually tastes better to. You can cut the amount of calories in home-made sauce by skipping the addition of sugar to the sauce
2. Fruit Juice Cocktails – these juices are packed with calories that come from sugar. Reach for a glass of water instead
3. Low Fat Salad Dressing – fat free dressing usually has added sugar to replace fatty oils. Try making your own salad dressing using extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Also, to control the calories, limit the amount of dressing you put on your salad to one tablespoon
4. Smoothies (store bought) – to decrease the calories consumed from sugar, either make your own smoothie at home using fresh fruit and plain yogurt or dairy or custom order your smoothie to decrease the juice content which is where the most of the sugar is found
5. Cereals – cereals, even the ones that are marketed as “healthy” contain large amounts of sugar to improve the flavour. Look at the nutrition labels and pick cereals that do not contain high amounts of sugar. You can always add fresh fruit or nuts to the cereal to give it more flavour
6. Flavoured Yogurt –the fruit or preserves that are added to give yogurt flavour is packed with sugar. Opt for plain yogurt and cut up fresh fruit to mix in for flavour
Most of the above-mentioned products are marketed as healthy choices. However, the manufacturers add sugar to them to make them taste better. By adding sugar the calories from unhealthy carbohydrates skyrockets. Other foods that have an abundance of sugar include: frozen dinners, canned fruits and vegetables, breads, bbq sauces, granola bars and the list goes on. Be sure to read labels carefully and try to limit sugar consumption.
When you’re trying to lose weight there are so many factors you need to look at. Cutting junk food out of your diet is an obvious way to cut calories, but you still may be struggling to lose weight. Try cutting out some of the sneaky foods mentioned about to reduce calories that are coming from sugar. You may notice that you drop excess pounds much faster by eliminating these sugary foods.