Sneaky Sources of Sugar

Sneaky Sources of Sugar

Naturally occurring sugars and added sugars, while both sugar, can affect your blood sugar levels and health differently. Naturally occurring sources of sugar, like those found in starchy vegetables and fruits, are often accompanied by fiber. This combination of fiber and sugar slows digestion, reducing the impact of the sugar on your blood sugar levels. This gives your body a chance to stabilize your metabolism over a period of time. And, even better, starchy veggies and fruits like sweet potato and banana are also a vital source of nutrients, supplying your body with key vitamins and minerals.

Added sugar such as cane sugar, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and the list goes on, are often lacking any nutritional value and can immediately spike your blood sugar levels. You can learn more about the importance of supporting healthy blood sugar levels here!

While nutrition is not one-size-fits-all, eating less added sugar is important for everyone to support our immune system health, a healthy weight, dental health, and more! By adding more nutritionally valuable sources of sugar, like those starchy veggies and fruits, we can feel better about where our energy comes from.

If you’re wondering, why should I limit my sugar intake? Read this post, Benefits of a Sugar Conscious Diet!

While some sources of sugar may seem obvious - such as cookies, cakes, and desserts, there are a number of “healthy” foods that can be quite high in added sugar! 

Check out these 15 examples of foods that often contain added sugar & the sugar breakdown of how much is inside:

  1. Salad Dressing - Depending on the brand and type, salad dressing may have anywhere from 3-5 grams of sugar per 1 tablespoon of dressing
  2. Ketchup - One tablespoon of ketchup contains almost 4 grams of sugar!
  3. Pasta Sauce - Some pasta sauces have 6-11 grams of added sugar per half-cup. 
  4. Yogurt - Fruit flavored yogurts may seem like a healthy treat however some yogurts contain a whopping 16-28 grams of sugar per serving! 
  5. Instant Oatmeal - One package of flavored oatmeal can contain up to 12 grams of added sugar. 
  6. Dry Cereal - This is another category that ranges in the amount of added sugar, but it can be as high as 13 grams per serving!
  7. Dried Fruit - Some brands add sugar to dried fruit, even up to 21 grams per serving, to make dried fruit even sweeter.
  8. Granola Bars - Granola and protein bars range in added sugar anywhere from 8-26 grams per bar!
  9. Barbeque Sauce - Some barbeque sauces have 6 grams of sugar per 1 tablespoon of sauce.
  10. Bread - One slice of bread can average around 2 grams of sugar
  11. Fruit Cups - Some brands will add simple syrup into fruit cups giving them an extra 10 grams of added sugar!
  12. Fruit Juice - The added sugar in fruit juice ranges from 15-20 grams per serving
  13. Flavored Coffee - A medium-sized frappe can contain up to 55 grams of sugar! 
  14. Canned Soup - Some pre-made soups can have 2-5 grams of added sugar per serving
  15. Tea - Bottled tea can have around 20 grams of added sugar per 8-oz serving. Look for unsweet options!

The key takeaway is to look for unsweetened versions of these foods and always read ingredient lists. There are often options with lower levels of added sugar, so comparing products, for example comparing pasta sauces, can help reduce added sugar in your diet. 

5 Ways To Consume Less Added Sugar & Eat Healthier Overall! 

  1. Look For Added Sugar On The Nutrition Facts Label: New food label guidelines require that the amount of “added sugar” be listed underneath sugar on a nutrition facts label. Make sure to look at this part of the label to opt for no added sugar options.

  2. Fruit Is Already Sweet Enough! Look for dried fruit without added sugar and naturally sweet dried fruits like dates and prunes - Fruits like dates and prunes commonly do not have added sugar and are perfectly and naturally sweet all on their own! These fruits are also a great way to naturally sweeten recipes such as smoothies, desserts, baked goods, and homemade jams! Whole fruits are also a nutritious and delicious option packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals!

  3. Snack-Time With Less Sugar: Try Making A Homemade Version! - Making your own granola bars or protein bites is an easy way to keep the ingredients minimal and avoid or limit added sugar. When you have the time to make your own snack bars, make a double or triple batch and freeze some for when you’re ready to enjoy! 

  4. A Better Sugar Swap! Life is full of moments to celebrate such as birthdays, holidays, and even just celebrating little but wins in our everyday life! A great way to enjoy a sweet treat without consuming loads of added sugar is to find natural sugar alternatives. Purecane is the perfect natural sugar swap because it’s made from sugar-cane yet is calorie-free, non-GMO, and diabetes-friendly! Especially for those who need to monitor their blood sugar and sugar intake levels, Purecane is a great pantry staple anytime a recipe calls for sweetness!

  5. Meal Prep To Eat Healthier All Week - Life is busy and grabbing quick pre-made lunches or dinners can be a lifesaver. However, many takeout food options from pizza to burgers contain added sugar in their crusts, sauces, buns, and more! One way to avoid added sugar in meals is to prep over the weekend. Meal prep can be as simple or involved as you have time! Personally, I love to prepare one big batch of homemade soup to enjoy as lunch all week long. We also batch cook ingredients that make mealtime faster during the week such as cooking multiple servings of brown rice at once. 

Have a happy and healthy day!

You can stay connected with Megan Roosevelt, RDN on Instagram at @HealthyGroceryGirl, watch recipe videos at or visit her recipe and wellness blog at

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