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Surprising Foods with Added Sugar

By Sara Butler

There are some foods you can look at and know they’re going to be sugar-laden nutrition bombs. But there are some foods you are likely to look at as healthy that actually have quite a lot of hidden sugar in them. Sugar takes many forms, and here are a few food items you may want to watch the sugar content of just to be sure you’re not getting more than you think.

Balsamic Vinegar

Salad dressings often contain a lot of added sugar, so if you reach for a vinegar-based dressing you may think you’re choosing a better option – not so fast. Some balsamic vinegar can have just as much sugar as the creamy dressings. The reason is that real balsamic vinegar gets its color and thickness from the aging process. If it’s authentic then it will have been aged in a barrel for 12 to 25 years. Quite often people buy the version of balsamic that is basically made of cornstarch and caramel color with a white wine vinegar base. So, the next time you’re choosing which dressing to top your salad, you should go for olive oil and red wine vinegar instead.


If you’re starting off your morning with flavored oatmeal from a pouch, then you’re doing yourself a serious disservice. That pre-made flavored oatmeal has a ton of sugar and can kick your blood sugar up quick only to bring it crashing down mid-morning. Steel-cut, unflavored oatmeal is good for you and contains fiber to keep you feeling full and control your blood sugar. So, if you like to start your morning off with oatmeal, skip the packets and go for the real stuff.

Gluten-Free Food

Just because a food claims to be gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s good for you, or that it doesn’t contain as much sugar as its gluten-laden counterpart. Sugar doesn’t have gluten in it, so to make up for the gluten that’s missing from the recipe more gum and sugar are often added to give it a better texture or flavor. If you’re trying to be conscious of your gluten intake, go for things that are naturally gluten-free but have less sugar such as fruit.

Sugar is hiding in almost every food you can buy that comes in a package. That’s why it pays to learn how to read the nutrition label on the food you buy and to avoid items with excess sugar. That way you can really know how much sugar you’re eating a day and avoid the things that aren’t good for you.

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