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10 “Healthy” Foods That Are Actually Just Loaded With Sugar!

Sugar is toxic. Plain and simple. It wreaks havoc on our bodies. Makes us age faster than we should. Destroys our skin. Makes it easy to carry a spare tire around our bellies and taxes our organs.

And, it is very addicting.

Many people have tried to simply stop eating sugar – and have failed. That’s because the food industry wants to keep us hooked on their products and have added it to practically everything! This leaves us on a sugar cravings roller-coaster and we don’t know how to put on the brakes. But there is a way, and I want to help you (more on that below…).

Sugar is the most prevalent food additive – it’s found in about 80% of food at the grocery store! Insane, right? The industry adds sugar to their foods because they know it’s addicting and it’s a cheap and easy way for them to hook us on their products. And are we ever!

A 2007 study found sugar more addictive than cocaine… No wonder the food industry loves to add sugar to everything.

It’s so bad that experts say the average American eats 3 pounds of sugar every week!

Study after study after study is coming out that shows how toxic sugar is to the body and how it leads to a myriad of diseases – heart disease, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and more. It has become clearer than ever that sugar is an enemy that prevents us from achieving optimal health and the fit bodies we want.

There is definitely a problem here, and the food industry is just perpetuating the problem. To give you some examples of what I’m talking about –

Here are 10 foods that many people think are healthy – but are actually loaded with sugar!

SugarPost

1. Protein Bars 

SUGAR CLIF BUILDERS PROTEIN

This is seen as a health supplement or meal replacement, but many protein bars are sweetened with refined sugar or artificial sweeteners (which are just as bad). Several of the main ingredients in Clif Builder’s Protein Peanut Butter Bar are different types of refined sugar – beet juice concentrate, brown rice syrup, and dried cane syrup, and you’ll be eating 5 teaspoons in just one bar (as much as in two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups). 

GUILTY: Clif Builder’s Protein Peanut Butter Bar (22 grams), Odwalla Protein Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bar (14 grams), ThinkThin Protein Nut Bar (8 grams), ThinkThin Chocolate Almond Brownie Protein & Fiber Bar (5 grams), Luna Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar (13 grams), Kind Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Protein Bar (9 grams), NuGo Organic Double Dark Chocolate Protein Bars (15 grams), ThinkThin Protein Bites (7 grams). 

2. Salad Dressings

SUGAR BRIANNA'S VINAIGRETTE

The first ingredient in Brianna’s Homestyle Blush Wine Vinaigrette is refined sugar and it contains over 3 teaspoons of sugar in just 2 tablespoons. Although there’s a picture of a strawberry on the label there isn’t one ounce of fruit in this dressing. Can you imagine sprinkling 3 teaspoons of white sugar on your healthy green salad before eating it? Yuck! Many other brands are sweetened with added sugar, corn syrup (Hidden Valley), and high fructose corn syrup (Ken’s). 

GUILTY: Hidden Valley Fat-Free Ranch (3 grams), Brianna’s Home Style Blush Wine Vinaigrette (14 grams), Kraft Lite Catalina Dressing (8 grams), Ken’s Lite Honey Mustard (8 grams).

3. Oatmeal

SUGAR REAL MEDLEY'S OATMEAL

This should be a health food, but these flavored oatmeals are loaded with sugar. The amount of sugar in Quaker Real Medleys Apple Walnut Oatmeal exceeds what most experts say anyone should be eating in an entire day – and this is just breakfast!

GUILTY: Nature Valley Protein Mixed Berry Oatmeal (18 grams), Quaker Real Medleys Apple Walnut Oatmeal (22 grams), Quaker Apples & Cinnamon (12 grams). 

4. Crackers

Wheat thins

This isn’t even a sweet snack, but some crackers have sugar added to them as well. One serving of these Wheat Thins contains a teaspoon of sugar – which may not seem like much – but how many of us really eat just one serving?

GUILTY: Wheat Thins Sweet & Spicy Chipotle (5 grams), Club Multi-Grain Crackers (2 grams in only 4 crackers), Ritz Bits Cheese (4 grams), Keebler Club Cheddar Sandwich Crackers (6 grams).

5. Frozen Diet Meals

SUGAR HEALTHY CHOICE SESAME CHICKEN

This is a major reason why these low-calorie, low-fat, processed meals don’t help most people lose weight. The amount of sugar and artificial additives used to make these things taste good is just astronomical!

GUILTY: Lean Cuisine Pomegranate Chicken (13 grams), Healthy Choice Sesame Chicken (23 grams), Lean Cuisine Marketplace Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry (13 grams), Weight Watchers Smart Ones Spaghetti with Meat (7 grams).

6. Marinara Sauces

SUGAR BERTOLLI MARINARA

It’s nearly impossible to find a good marinara sauce without refined sugar added to it.

GUILTY: Bertolli Marinara (13 grams), Newman’s Own Marinara (7 grams), Classico Traditional (9 grams), Prego Meat (10 grams), Ragu Traditional (8 grams).

7. Soups and Broths

SUGAR CAMPBELL'S SOUP

I love to make homemade soups and I’d never even consider adding sugar to mine, but many of the canned and boxed soups on the shelves are sweetened with sugar. What’s even more crazy is I recently found that several organic chicken broths also contain added sugar, so watch out for that if you are using these to make soup at home! 

GUILTY: Campbell’s Homestyle Tomato Soup (16 grams), Progresso Reduced Sodium Creamy Tomato With Basil (14 grams), Stagg Vegetable Garden Four-Bean Chili (9 grams), 365 Organic Chicken Broth, Pacific Organic Chicken Broth (1 gram per cup), Swanson Organic Chicken Broth (1 gram per cup). 

8. Breads (Including Gluten-Free)

WHEAT BREAD SUGAR

Some people avoid wheat and grains because of the affect they can have on blood sugar levels and contain gluten, but it’s important to note that most breads are also sweetened with refined white sugar or corn syrup. Sugar is one of the first 3 ingredients in Orowheat/Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Bread, ringing in at almost a teaspoon per slice. Especially watch out for sugar in gluten-free breads, as almost all of them have it as a main ingredient! 

GUILTY: Udi’s Gluten-Free Whole Grain (3 grams in 2 slices), Rudi’s Gluten-Free (4 grams in 2 slices), Thomas Whole Wheat Bagels (7 grams), King’s Hawaiian Honey Wheat Roll (6 grams in one LITTLE roll), Franz Kaiser Buns (6 grams), Franz Nine Grain Bread (8 grams in 2 slices) Orowheat/Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Bread (6 grams in 2 slices).

9. Yogurts

SUGAR NOOSA YOGURT

I was floored to see 31 grams of sugar in this one serving of Noosa yogurt. It’s more of a dessert than anything else.

GUILTY: Yoplait Whips Key Lime Pie (21 grams), Chobani Greek Raspberry (16 grams), Tart Cherry Noosa (31 grams)

10. Nut Butters 

NUTELLA SUGAR

While most of us know that Nutella isn’t healthy, a lot of people are buying this and other nut butters without realizing how much sugar is really in them. Just 2 tablespoons of Nutella contain over 5 teaspoons of sugar, and many plain almond, cashew, and peanut butters contains almost a teaspoon of added sugar per serving. 

GUILTY: MaraNatha Regular Almond Butter (3 grams), Jif Peanut Butter (3 grams), Barney Butter Almond Butter (3 grams).

Discussing the reality of all of this hidden sugar with my team left a lasting impact on me.

I spent the past few months monitoring how much sugar I was actually eating and I honestly couldn’t believe it and it freaked me out considering how carefully I choose my foods.

I knew that this was something I needed to turn my focus on, especially since so many of you have been struggling with sugar right along with me! I put the wheels in motion and began working on an innovative program to help us deal with all of this sugar in our lives, and it’s finally ready! 

The Food Babe 7-Day Sugar Detox Program – Watch the video here!

Sugar Detox Food Pics

Give up sugar, feel great and start to take control of those cravings once and for all.

You will receive detailed online guides and videos to walk you through the 7-Day Sugar Detox, along with all the personal support you need. You’ll know exactly what to eat, what not to eat and what to do after the detox is over.

I invite you to join us here now. Let’s detox from sugar together.

As soon as you join, you’ll be welcomed into our Sugar Detox Forum with open arms, where we will answer questions and share our success stories. When you surround yourself with people who share the same goals and help to keep you accountable, you will be successful.

We are going to do this together, it’s going to be so fun and I am positive it can change your life forever! 

Xo, 

Vani

 

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56 responses to “10 “Healthy” Foods That Are Actually Just Loaded With Sugar!

      1. Great info!
        We have removed sugar from our house more than a year ago. Honey is the only sweetner we use. It is used sparingly as well.
        Sugar is poison and removing it from our diets has been wonderful

  1. By healthy, do you mean ‘good for your body’ or ’causes you to lose weight’ because I think you’re really confused

    1. Okumura – Nope, these aren’t actually healthy – I put quotations around the word because most of this food is loaded with unnecessary sugar which in my opinion makes it unhealthy!

  2. Insane! Started watching this closely a few months ago…crazy how easily food manufacturers sneak sugar into EVERYTHING! Grrrrr….

    1. I am very careful as a older guy what I put into my body. Americans are sick people. Thank goodness for FoodBabe.com.

  3. Is any amount of sugar, bad sugar? how much is a safe sugar? how much sugar is in one banana?

    1. sugar from fruit is very different from processed sugar that is added to foods. don’t stop eating fruit.

    2. On the documentary called Fed Up they said 9.5 grams PER DAY of added sugars. This doesn’t include naturally occuring sugars such as in a piece of fruit.

  4. I think if you just do not eat processed food of any kind, you will do yourself a big favor. A long time ago I called Quaker Oats and complained because their cold cereal tasted too sweet. They said most people like it like that and they sent me a coupon to buy something else. Bought plain oatmeal, not sure if theirs has sugar in it, at least it did not taste overly sweet. I try to buy organic oatmeal now. Even order my bread from New Berlin Bread because what is in grocery store smells terrible to me. Enjoy cooking, so that helps me to eat well. My grown son likes the Cliff bars, hate to have to tell him about how much sugar they have as he eats them as a quick breakfast. Your information is always appreciated even so.

  5. Oh, sugar. The amount of sugar that’s in prepared, pre-made or processed food is absolutely nuts. I love the salad dressing example you chose– it has sugar listed as the first ingredient. Ha! That means there’s more sugar in that product than any other ingredient.

    And, one tiny comment on the yogurt. Milk has naturally occurring sugar (about 10 grams per 8 oz), so the Noosa probably has a little less added sugar depending on the container size in the pic. But– in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t matter because even considering the naturally occurring sugar there is a ton of added sugar in this yogurt! And, unfortunately, food labels don’t yet distinguish between the naturally occurring sugars and the added ones.

    Keep on shining a light on these important topics!!

  6. Hi Food Babe. My name is Amy and I am a stay at home mom of 4. My kids are 12,
    8 1/2, 7 and 2. As you can imagine my days are very busy- long and often stressful. I try be very aware of what my kids eat. I shop at Whole Foods. I mostly buy all organic (especially the kids snacks), I cook all of our dinners at night and I do not (when I can control it) allow my kids to have any food with dyes or high fructose. I feel like I am doing pretty good with all of that but the sugar has me freaked out! As a super busy mom I just don’t know what to do or who to believe or what products I can trust. I always felt like by shopping at Whole Foods I was avoiding all the bad stuff- but I now know I am not avoiding all the sugar! I myself am eating WAY too much sugar and need some help with that. Of course I put myself last so I don’t take the extra time to eat as well as I feed my kids. Is the 7 day sugar detox hard? I feel like I have all the signs and to fix it- just not sure how to start or how time consuming it is? We just started to watch Fed Up as a family but need to finish it. I also follow the 100 days of real food and I have her cookbook- unfortunately, I know I am not doing enough with the sugar- we are addicted! : ( I keep thinking I need a cleanse but not sure which ones to trust. What do you recommend? If I sign up and pay for your 7 day detox will it have easy to follow meals and instruction? I am also wondering if you have ever heard of Isagenix? I would love to hear back from you. Thank you for your time and thank you for all you do!!! Go Food Babe! Sincerely, Amy Sperling

    1. Amy – We have spent a great deal of time organizing the program, so it’s easy to follow and laid out in a way that makes the steps easy! I even created videos to walk you through the steps. I hope you join us, I think it will be great to have you on board. Also there is a private forum to get all your questions answered and meet other Moms like you facing the same struggles… the support will help hold you accountable! 🙂

  7. You used the word “myriad” incorrectly. It’s used like the word “more.” The sentence should read, “It leads to myriad diseases…” Not “a myriad.”

    1. Seriously? The word myriad can be used as a noun or an adjective so both are correct. Before you take the time to correct food babe, you need to get your facts straight.

      1. The word myriad never takes a preposition (such as of) after it, never. It technically should not take an article (such as a) before it with a general exception for the definite article the. A person has myriad choices, not a myriad of choices. The Food Babe should get a proofreader.

  8. Until food labels start to differentiate between ADDED sugar and naturally occurring sugar (for example sugars (fructose) from fruit) it is hard for one to go off of the “nutrition facts” part of the label. If you don’t see any added sugar/sweetener in the ingredients (and remember it has many sneaky names!) then the naturally occurring sugars are not really something to be feared.

    1. Amen! Those numbers are very misleading. I’m not arguing that these products don’t contain added sugars, but that they aren’t listed separately from naturally occurring sugars on any of these labels. This article sensationalizes the idea of sugar in food and is perpetuating a half truth.

  9. I’m glad you’re pointing out sugar!! I try to avoid sugar at all times. My issue is I don’t know how much sugar is in wine. I cut out wine at dinner this January and had sugar cravings at night which I never have! I realized I might be addicted to sugar in wine!! When will alcohol be labeled?!

    1. Wine is full of sugar. Alcohol is sugar. If you quit drinking wine, you will find that you sleep better and youre going to lose weight too.

      1. If you understood how wine is made, you’d know that there is very little if any, sugar in wine (other than sweet desert wines).

    1. Actually, there are 4.2 gms of sugar in a teaspoon. Much closer to 4 than 5 as you’ve stated. Facts are facts.

  10. Several years ago I started a weight loss diet that had you counting grams of sugar. I was shocked at how much sugar is in just regular food! Start reading labels on everything! And just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it isn’t loaded with sugar! You will find brands that are OK, or make your own. Last night my grand daughter wanted to make muffins. I automatically cut the amount of sugar by half. I usually add a teas of vanilla (some brands have sugar!) and a little cinnamon to enhance the “sweet” taste. We never miss that extra cup of sugar. I have to have a little sugar in my morning coffee but I gradually cut the amount from 2 teas to 1. That’s only 4 grams and I feel that I can afford it. I only take in 15 grams of sugar/day, my Hg A1C has dropped to safe levels and I just don’t miss all that sugar!

  11. I would not consider any of these prepackaged foods “healthy.” You highlighted foods such as flavored oatmeal, marinara sauce, crackers, and Nutella. If you consider these foods “healthy” than you need to consider doing more research. Of course crackers and Nutella are not healthy, and especially a frozen pre-packaged dinner. This should be known as common sense and if a consumer considers these products “healthy,” then that is just plain negligence on their part.

    1. Food Babe- Thank you!!! Dan- she put them in quotes as “healthy” to signify that most mainstream consumers think that they are “healthy”….! Eg to point out the larger lack of awareness of health (see her response to a comment the same as yours above). Yes, its negligence on the consumers part too!!! Heres the thing- the mainstream is ASLEEP about nutrition, period. Is there personal responsibility ? sure. But we also live a culture/society where food is political, and actually tied into money, government, and an attempt to keep people as “sheeple”….so its a bigger issue than consumer negligence. !

  12. I’m so confused. The LARABAR Cherry Pie contains only Dates, Almonds and Unsweetened Cherries – no added sugar. However on the label it says – Sugars: 23g – is this bad even though it’s all natural with no added sugar???

    1. Fruit Sugar can still spike blood sugar and contribute to digestive distress, candida, etc. So its not that fruit is bad, but there is still a thing about moderation. Tons of fruit could- in the wrong belly- create gas, digestive distress, and an overgrowth of yeast (bad bacteria). A lot safe to focus on VEGGIES a ton and moderate the fruit. Learned this the hard way 10 years ago when i was fighting off an infection and the only way to cure it without drugs was to go sugar free- including FRUIT sugar free- for a few months.

  13. I don’t agree with your first 3 sentences: “Sugar is toxic. Plain and simple. It wreaks havoc on our bodies.”

    Of course, a diet high in sugar (even natural sugar) isn’t healthy. But even a carrot contains some sugar, as does an apple. I think eating 1-2 servings of fresh fruit per day is healthy as the body can use this glucose for homeostasis.

    Perhaps your first paragraph is speaking of refined sugar only.

  14. Does your program come in hard copy? I don’t have service at home so I have to squeeze in some time at work. Thanks.

  15. I find your articles very helpful..but sometimes overwhelming to a person converting from eating average to trying to eat healthy. I love seeing what NOT to eat…but it leaves me kind of hanging…I could use a few suggestions on alternatives in these articles. I understand I can do my own homework, but when you are a newbie like me..after reading the articles it can be so overwhelming that you just “close the book” and walk away! Alternatives might help people like me who are in the beginning stages of transitioning their food consumption to “read on” and not walk away.

    Just some food for thought;-)

    1. Hey Jen! I’m positive Vani has some great ideas, but I wanted to respond because I don’t want you to give up.

      I totally feel you on feeling oberwhelmed! If this list is overwhelming, maybe just choose one or two of these items. Choose the ones that you eat frequently. And just for those couple items, find better options by reading labels or searching for some easy recipes online (like for the salad dressing for example).

      Something else to try is just buying the plain version of the food. Like the oatmeal, for example. Buy plain rolled oats and add chopped apple or bananas and walnuts.

      It’s all about the small changes!

  16. Thankfully, I began the Phase 1 diet from Know The Cause with Doug Kaufmann – April 2014. I’ve been using the Phase 2 for a year but most of the time try to stick with the Phase 1. And sometimes I cheat but…. I am human.

    As for my breakfast today. – Steel-cut oatmeal with 5 drops of liquid Stevia Vanilla Cream, + pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, & walnuts. Drank water.
    Often drink lemon, ACV w/mother, cayenne, turmeric, Great Lakes calcium + hot water. Other times I drink hot green tea or other hot tea.

    Main meals almost always include Quinoa which I’ve fallen in love with because there are so many ways to use it & tastes so much better than rice which has carbs which turn into sugar….

    I’m definitely not perfect in my eating – but I do try.

  17. I would like to try the 7 day sugar detox but I live in Australia. If I was to join up, would I be able to get the ingredients in your recipes here in Australia?

  18. I want to thank you, Vani, for all of your hard work–even though you have made a trip to the grocery store twice as long for me! I read all labels thoroughly and it takes forever to compare brands. So called health food stores are really appalling. I am irritated that there is still xanthum gum in just about everything and a lot of expensive snake oil to beware of. I can only find konjac powder sourced from China, and so many products there are still full of sugar, salt and chemicals. Well, we just have to keep trying and learning. At least that’s good for our brain function….

  19. I’m so glad that you are bringing this to people’s attention. My husband and I actually quit (or significantly lowered) our white sugar intake after watching a documentary in December and guess what? He went down 2 pant sizes and I lost 5 lbs! He doesn’t even work out and I had been struggling with losing some stubborn belly weight and it “melted” off, I really couldn’t believe it. I have grown more conscious about sugar, especially when making foods for my 18 month old. I never go down the center aisles of the grocery store anymore, I make all his snacks from scratch and if he or we want something sweet, we eat some berries or I’ll throw in a tsp of pure/organic maple syrup. I hope that more parents are listening and reading your message, it’s so important, especially for our younger ones. If I have a sugar craving, sometimes I will also just drink some mint tea, I think people struggle with what to do if they have a craving, but honestly, I don’t miss it. Thank you!! I will be following this journey with you.

  20. I have tried to purchase the sugar detox program without any success online. Could I please get someone to help me with the purchase? Thank you.

    1. I could not order using FireFox. I just placed a successful order through with Internet Explorer. Sorry for any inconvenience.

  21. It is a bit misleading when you say that “oatmeal” “Yogurt” and “nut butters” are bad and then show flavored and sugared versions of the foods you mention. Those foods aren’t bad, it is the processed versions that have the sugar. It is like saying apples are bad then showing a jar of preserves. Nutella doesn’t even call itself nutbutter, the label says “hazelnut spread with cocoa.”

    1. That’s natural sugar from the fruits & Vegis, which is considered the good kind of sugar. There are no added processed sugars in Suja drinks.

  22. I’ve always heard 8 grams of sugar equaled a teaspoon of sugar. Looks like that is not correct. Vani, How do you calculate it?

  23. “The Sugar Film” highlighted the presence of sugar in so-called ‘healthy’ processed foods, eg. cereals, fruit juices, yoghurts, etc which many people eat thinking they are eating better. To prove this point, a 30+ year old fit and healthy normal weight male used himself as a guinea-pig for two months eating only manufactured and promoted as ‘healthy’ foods. He specifically excluded any junk foods eg. fries, fried foods, pizza, ice cream, all soft drinks including coke, cakes, biscuits, etc anything we consider naughty or treats or junk. Note, he ate his usual daily intake of 2300 cals for an average male and maintained his exercise regime. Again, his only food intake came from processed ‘healthy’ foods. Over the course of the 2 month experiment, this man’s health deteriorated rapidly, his moods and energy levels extremely fluctuated, he broke out in pimples, his stomach grew large enough to compete evenly with his very pregnant wife, he gained a ‘lot’ of weight, including internal visceral fat that accumulates around the organs, evident by his newly developed fatty liver and other very dangerous health issues, eg. bordering on diabetes if he had continued! Luckily throughout the experiment he was closely monitored by his doctor, a nutritionist and a medical specialist/scientist who took tests along the way. Needless to say they were all anxious and worried about the alarming results and were relieved when the experiment ended and the man returned to his normal healthy lifestyle practices, ie. no sugar, fresh veges, fruits and proteins. Interesting watch. Food for thought!

  24. Is coconut sugar ok? We have already switched from white sugar to Florida Crystals (dark brown) because it is less refined.

  25. I am allergic to high fructose corn syrup, and it is really hard to make sure I don’t have a reaction. The latest culprit?
    Costco.
    They are fraudulently labeling their pumpkin pies and cakes with the words “corn sugar”. I reported my allergic reaction to their pumpkin pie to them and told them their labeling cannot say corn sugar according to the FDA. They are still doing it. I reported them to the FDA last week after I asked a manager if I was allergic to their All American Chocolate Cake. The manager read the label and tokd me I was not allergic to it and it did not contain high fructose corn syrup. It was labelled corn sugar and even their manager had no idea what that term is.

  26. Noosa has 15g of sugar per serving I am eating one right now. Strawberry Ruhbarb. Still a bit too much sugar and will probably switch to plain and add fruit.

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