There are certain foods that we all know are loaded with added sugars – ice cream, lollies, baked sweet treats and soft drinks. We’re often conscious of the amount of sugar we’re taking in when we eat these things, even managing our portions by selecting smaller desserts when we can. But the truth is that sugar is hiding everywhere - from yoghurts to pasta sauces, even salads and trail mixes!
In fact, there has been research conducted in supermarkets to show that the majority of food items found in a grocery store contain added sugars (over 80% of foods in some American supermarkets, and we're pretty sure when we looked at the list that it's the same in Aus!).
Sugar is lurking everywhere and not just in the obvious places like ice cream and cookies. Here is an inside scoop on some popular ‘healthy’ foods that are actually loaded with sugar and additives:
1. Flavoured and non-fat yoghurts
In general, yoghurts are quite healthy as they contain lots of beneficial probiotics and protein. However, the fruit flavoured and non-fat yoghurts are often laden with added sugars – just take a look at the nutrition panel next time you are at the grocery store. One serving of fruit yoghurt can even contain more sugar than a shortbread cookie. If you like fruit yoghurts, try unsweetened Greek yoghurt instead and mix in your own chopped up fruits. It's not the fruit that is the issue, it's the sweeteners or concentration that is.
2. Pasta marinara sauces
Most mainstream manufacturers add sugar to spaghetti sauces to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Of course it does depend on the brand, but it is quite hard these days to find a tomato-based pasta sauce that is free of added sugars. The best option is to just make your own using fresh red-ripe tomatoes… or even use canned chopped tomato but add fresh herbs, olive oil, and some sauteed garlic, chopped celery, onion and grated carrot to create a delicious sauce that will be even tastier than the store bought sauces! (Chef tip, saute the onion first, let them caramelise but not burn, add the garlic at the end, burnt garlic is very bitter, stir in the carrots and let the sauce simmer for a long time, add extra olive oil at the end... and simmer away on a low heat. Stir your herbs in mid way so they don't become bitter and maintain their flavour kick.)
Try sifting through the various granola options at your local supermarket and you will see how little options there are that are free of added sugars. Many varieties contain sugar in the form of brown or white sugar, or corn syrup or glucose syrup, while others are coated in "chocolate" or "yoghurt". If you’re looking for a healthier breakfast cereal option, why not try our breakfast packs? We make our own cereal blend from scratch, using premium ingredients (and no added refined sugars in sight!). We keep our dried fruit content low, occasionally we might add xylitol, honey or maple syrup, but it's rare and it's minimal. Check out our breakfast packs here. Breakfast is one of the most important nourishing opportunities of the day. Make it count.
4. Peanut butter
Yes, peanut butter can be healthy in small amounts and when it’s just peanuts (peanuts that have literally been blended into a smooth and creamy peanut butter). Many peanut butters available in the shops have added sugar, salt and oil to create a ‘better’ and creamier taste. Fortunately, there are healthier options available and they are not too hard to find – look for peanut butter that is 100% peanuts (that is, peanuts are the only listed ingredient). Better still go for a nut blend (one of our favourites is almond, cashew and flaxseed).
5. Breads (even gluten free breads)
A lot of breads are actually sweetened with refined white sugar or corn syrup, even the whole wheat and gluten free varieties. It’s also good to remember that just because a bread is organic, it doesn’t mean that it’s sugar free, and just because it is gluten free, doesn't make it healthy. Make sure to check your bread labels and look out for sugar as a main ingredient.
We make our meals from scratch and we use ingredients as naturally as we can so that we can maximise the taste without compromising the health. Many manufacturers rely on a formula of salt:sugar:fat to create a taste that keeps you eating and eating. Great for your tongue, terrible for the rest of you. Our meals are designed to achieve: sensory specific satiety and satiety. That means, they are designed so that you are nourished, you enjoy it, but it is complex and natural enough that it doesn't trick your tastebuds into overeating.
Save your sugar eating for your treats, it has no real place in your meals.
You can trust us with your meals, we've got you, healthy foods that really are healthy (and they taste great... without needing to add sugar, or heaps of other additives for that matter).