Sugar In Food – A Surprising Amount In Everything!

sugar in drinks

Almost everything has some form of sugar and we as a society seem to never get enough, but are there some consumable items that might shock you to be worse than others?

First off, let’s bring to light what sugar can do to your body. This sweet substance can bring on a slew of health problems, a few of which are major issues common among those who like to overindulge. The big two would be diabetes and obesity. In truth sugar can definitely make things seem to taste drastically better but there is a toll for it in the long term.

Obesity is rapidly becoming more common among the populace. From a young age children are exposed to sugar as this holy treat full of goodness. I’m sure most people at the time were thinking, “I wish I could eat [insert disgustingly high sugar content item here] for the rest of my life!”. You used to get extremely excited whenever your parents or someone asked if you want a treat or to go down to the store because you know you’re about to leap onto a cloud full of angelic awesomeness. Then you grow a bit older and maybe you started getting a bad case of acne. From there it can just snowball into a mound of unwanted effects or conditions. Everyone is different but no one is invincible to the effects of sugar.

The problem is that instead of treating sugar like, well a “treat”; We instead ingest it all day everyday like it’s common place and normal to do so. Dr. Robert Lustig, author of the book Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar claims that 75% – 80% of all obesity stems from insulin which is created from sugar intake. In a previous blog post on Why You Shouldn’t Neglect H2O I wrote about how a consistent diet of soft drinks is absolutely awful for you. Your body can handle some sugar spurts but when it is routinely consumed that’s a completely different story.

sugar in food

20 Common Foods With High Sugar Levels

Now some of these are surprising and some are not. Something to keep in mind is that even when you think you are eating something “healthy” it very well might be packed with extra sugar. It’s smart to check the nutrition facts or even the ingredients on the back of the packaging yourself. You might be surprised to see some things like dried fruits and sugar listed as the first ingredient instead of fruit!

  1. Sugar/Sweeteners (Stop or loosen up on adding this to everything!)
  2. Soft drinks
  3. Dried fruit (look for unsweetened instead)
  4. Flavoured yogurt
  5. Cereal
  6. Flavoured Oatmeal
  7. Spaghetti
  8. Fruit juice
  9. Sweetened Iced Tea
  10. Sports Drinks
  11. Salad Dressing
  12. Ketchup (along with many other sauces)
  13. Low Fat/Fat Free Sweets
  14. Energy Bars
  15. Granola
  16. Fruit Smoothies
  17. Frozen TV Dinners
  18. Canned Baked Beans
  19. Jam/Jelly/Spreads
  20. Apple Sauce

Sugar Is a Drug

Drugs alter your mind, are addictive and usually toxic. So is sugar! Imagine if a food company laced your meals with morphine so that you’d buy more? The public would go nuts. So they use sugar to get people hooked.

Most of the items commonly consumed that are clearly treats also don’t offer any nutritional value. This is a massive concern especially when it comes to kids. The worst thing you can do is have your kids hooked early. It’s extremely easy to eat sugary foods and gain weight but it’s quite the opposite trying to lose the sugar and weight.

Sugar

13 Side Effects Of Sugar Intake

  1. Obesity
  2. Diabetes
  3. Heart failure/disease
  4. Cancer
  5. High blood pressure
  6. Restrain the immune system
  7. Poor memory
  8. Acne
  9. Tooth decay
  10. Learning disorders
  11. Depression
  12. Headaches and migraines
  13. Yeast infection

So What You’re Saying Is?

Reduce, limit or avoid as much sugar as possible. A lot of foods even thought to be healthy already have sugars. Fruits in particular are a huge source of sugar. Teach the world that sugar is a treat and not an everyday pleasure. Check out the nutrition facts and ingredients on the back of consumables to make sure sugar isn’t the first and highest rated item. Oh and do yourself a favour and replace most your beverage choices with water!

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Comments

  1. I gave up sugar a couple years ago. I went through all the symptoms of withdrawl, but after a few months I kicked it, lost 25 pounds and feel better now than I felt in my 20’s. Good job putting the word out there.

  2. Recently read a detailed article on sugar in Nat Geo magazine. In our hurry to consume, and make it easy to do so, we perhaps overlook many things.

  3. Very interesting article. Sugar is such a scary substance if you look at what it can do to you. Just going doen the list of health problems that can occur sends chills down my spine. Food should simply not do that. I read that sugar can be as addictive as drugs like cocaine. That really says it all. It’s highly dangerous if you cannot control your sugar intake.

  4. I agree that many foods are high in sugar and we don’t even realise. However, fruit is a great source of nutrients and should be enjoyed everyday. Sticking to the recommended 2 serves per day will ensure you don’t go over your sugar budget! Think smart about sugar consumption and don’t simply have a black and white approach.

  5. Excellent post and I’m genuinely shocked that Vitamin Water has more sugar in it than Red Bull! Just goes to show how important it is to read labels and stay informed about what we’re consuming…

  6. Good job of reporting. AJM

  7. An informative,yet disturbing post. A tough addiction to conquer as it is everywhere…..

  8. Great post. I am always telling my patients that eliminating sugar will make a profound difference to their life.

  9. I always tell my fiance late at night “babe i need something sweet” the sugar addiction is real but poorly regulated

  10. Dave-awesome article. Good stuff everyone needs to know before its too late. :-)

  11. Great article. I’m guilty of consuming much more than I should. Thanks for the info!

  12. Sugar is really bad and the list of what I am potentially putting in my body scares me a lot. There must be other options. I wonder how much damage salt is also doing, and how much of it is in our foods, even when we cannot taste it? Great post!

  13. Outstanding article, Dave!!!!!!!!!!!!! The photo of the drinks with the sugar measured and marked, makes an enormous impact. Well done, sir. Sincerely, Tom

  14. I am learning about this as we speak. I am doing a detox and I am 7 days in. I have completely eliminated sugar from my diet. Even though I was moody and out of sorts, I lost 8 pounds. Its crazy how dependent I was on sugar.

  15. Dave, good article but don’t forget that sugar in fruits is naturally occurring and does not count towards daily limits. The fiber in the fruits help slow down the absorption of the sugar. This is why it is better to eat an orange rather than drink orange juice, but orange juice still does not contain added sugar. And eating sugar is still better for your body than eating any artificial sweeteners or ‘natural’ sweeteners that your body does not recognize!

  16. I agree with you most definitely, but also with some of the comments above mine.
    Moderation is key, especially when it comes to sweet things such as sugar.
    What type of sugar is equally important.
    I always say that if your craving something sweet- go for the fruit. It’s sweet and sugary, but it’s the natural sugars so it’s far better than a candy bar or ice cream, which only leaves you craving more and never really satisfies the craving.

    I would like to know your opinion on artificial sweeteners though. In moderation do you believe these are okay to consume? I’ve read some articles on too much- leads to weight gain because our bodies doesn’t recognize it as sugar and therefore digests it differently…Diet Coke was the main example.
    But these sweeteners are super attractive to those trying to eat on a strict calorie diet, myself included, but do the calories in raw sugar have health benefits worth the calories?

    Thanks. Great read.

    • Great articles.. thanks for posting. I spent three and a half months living in the United States and I found it difficult to find bread that did not taste like cake. I stuck mostly to sourdough and European style breads but a lot of the food tasted so artificial and sweet. It is not surprising our populations in Western countries are becoming more and more obese and unhealthy. Thanks for spreading the awareness.

  17. Thank you for this informative article!

  18. Wow – those pictures really hit home! I mean I live a very healthy life, but is good to be reminded of all those hidden evils….

  19. Now this is highly recommended post for me. I will surely email this to my friend, Regards

  20. What a fantastic and informative post! The list you gave is wonderful some things were on there that I wasn’t aware that they contained sugar. :)

  21. Scary! A major health issue.

  22. Honey is awesome for you though, so I try and substitute it as much as possible.

  23. From a former Health teacher, A+. :) Thanks for dropping by and following, “Honey.”

  24. Isn’t sugar added, in some form, to table salt, too?

  25. What?? Sugar is BAD for you?!?! Who knew! Just kidding. Very interesting post. :) I guess that Vitamin Water I used to love drinking isn’t so good for me. Thanks :(

  26. Very true, but sometimes simple carbohydrates are a good thing..

    For instance when you have a particularly heavy workout at the gym and your arms are shaking, you need some glucose in you ASAP, sports drinks facilitate that.

  27. Truth b told im already sick wit sugar i comsume alot of sugar daily, from y schooling days i used to eat atleast 5 lolly pops daily

  28. Thank you, Dave, I don’t see sugar as being intrinsically bad, but to limit intake and to be aware of adverse effects is very wise. A very thorough and well presented piece.

  29. When I cut out all refined sugars, white potatoes, and carbs, I not only felt much more energetic but my inflammatory markers went WAY down, lowering by far my chances for some really nasty ailments. I do get cravings for some of my favorite goodies – mostly ice cream – but we’ve found good natural substitutes for sugar (like pureed dates in baked goods) and my sweet tooth isn’t nearly as bad anymore. I’m now a label-reader and I’ll never go back to refined sugars again!

  30. It’s amazing what we can put into our body without realizing it! Thanks for the awesome post! The visuals were extremely helpful.

  31. EllesBells says:

    WOAH. 62g in that healthy pomegranet juice! wooooooooooah!

  32. Fantastic post!!!!! I just had a vitamin water today, I had no idea there was that much sugar inside a “healthy” bottle of water!!!!

  33. Fantastic post. It is amazing what sugar is in. Without knowing, who would ever think that there are high amounts of sugar in pasta? Or in salad dressing? After all, those things are supposed to be ‘healthy’, right? Thanks for helping spread the knowledge. People need to know, then be encouraged to start taking responsibility for what goes into their body by making it themselves.

    • Another important thing to note: a lot of companies will use multiple sweeteners so that sugar is not the first ingredient, even though sugar (in multiple forms) is the number one ingredient.

  34. I don’t think that it’s surprising… doesn’t everyone know about the fact that there’s also sugar in food that doesn’t taste sweet?

  35. Yes, sugar is highly addictive, it activated the dopamine pathways in the brain–in other words, eating sugar or doping the drug on the street releases the exact same feeling of high… The problem is–that few articles ever discuss–is that some addictions are permanent because the brain has built is neurons (brain cells) and the receptors for each chemical in a certain number. The neurons release the neuropeptides (hormones like dopamine) but when taken in as drug or sugar, the brain realigns the roles of those neurons to star manufacturing other stuff. Withdrawal symptoms are signs of the brain’s inability to make the stuff (craving sweets is withdrawal of sort) and this kind of craving is not permanent so sugar amazingly you can drop and the brain is going to be able to reset the transmitters but not so easily with dope in general–different chemical causes different damage to the same transmitter.

    This is one of the reasons why alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers are often just gimmicks while sometimes–in rare cases–work, depending on the substance addicted to and for how long.

    Sorry for the long message here but outside of painting and photography this is actually my field of research and specialty. :) Cheers, Angela

  36. Thank you for this post! Very informative. Celeste :)

  37. Interesting post, made me think a lot. :)

  38. I know its an real Inferno with sugar…. I am very dependent on sugar and try to constantly stop, but that’s easier said than done …. Now I have also been diagnosed with IBS and does not make things easier for when I read about it so you can basically do not eat nothing at all!
    Interestingly artkel although I may already know most of the time!

  39. Sugar is also a very effective placebo! (-;

  40. A post that hits the bullseye! I’m going to reblog this tomorrow.

  41. As substance abuse counselor for the past 25+ years, I do agree that sugar is a drug. So many of my clients stop hard drugs and develop fierce addictions to sugar and caffeine. However, I would not put sugar in the same category as morphine. Sugar, like smoking cigarettes, does most (though not all) of it’s damage over time. Morphine, heroin, and Rx pain meds that I’ve see can cause obvious (I feel like I’m going to die) withdrawal do financial and personal much damage faster than sugar does.
    When I stopped eating most sugar many years ago, my plan was to cut out “empty” calories and follow a healthy food plan. I struggled with mood changes for a couple of months in the beginning. This withdrawal was from sugar and also from using food in general for comfort. I was unaware that I was doing this until I stopped. It’s not easy to stop using sugar. Abuse of food is a complicated issue. We can’t stop eating altogether. Part of the problem of obesity (and nicotine dependence) is that people are told, “You need to stop smoking.” or “You need to go on a diet.” As it it was a simple process. People who are dependent of sugar or nicotine, need access to intensive recovery programs that provide new coping skills.
    Thanks for sharing this information. I hope to share your good points with my clients. .

  42. Sugar is addictive for sure and should be limited. However, your body needs glucose to function. So, you can’t rule out sugar completely. There is sugar from GMO crops (also known as high fructose corn syrup), refined sugar, fruit sugar, and cane sugar. Refined and GMO sugar is what you want to stay away from.

    You mention that sugar is one of the causes of obesity. I don’t disagree with that. However, I think the ingredient, high fructose corn syrup, deserves more credit. Sugar is not really the ingredient that we are finding in most of our food products. It is high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup does contain sugar but it’s digested and processed in our bodies differently. It turns off a protein hormone (known as leptin), which lets us our body know when we are full from eating. Being that, a lot of people caught on about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup. The Corn Refiners Association and Monsanto wanted the ingredient name changed to “corn sugar”. (Frito Lay signed on to this).

    At our office, we use stevia and xylitol if we are brewing coffee or tea. In our society, avoiding sugar is almost impossible. Alternative sweetners (i.e. stevia and xylitol), are better but they are not always readily available in grocery stores. I believe what really matters is the type of sugar and the amount of sugar that you are consuming. Organic sugar is better than conventional sugar but still should limited to small amounts.

  43. livevigorously says:

    Consistently great posts and tips, Dave!

  44. I have a 5 year old and have started to teach him about sugar when at the grocery store. It is just amazing how appealing is the advertisement of cookies, cereals, yogurts, etc. to kids. Every time we walk down the cereal corridor we get into a deep conversation about how “too much sugar” is bad to his body, because he feels drawn to pick the colorful boxes with treats in them.
    At least I know all my teachings are paying off. The other day, my son was with a friend who was sharing his candy with him. After a moment, my son said: “Thanks, I am not eating any more. That is too much sugar”
    I felt so good to hear him making that decision by himself ;)

  45. i dont like sodas and soft drinks, to me they are gross, i even hardly eat candy or ice cream, dont get me wrong, i do eat candy and ice cream, but only once in a great while , to me the only way to avoid what i call bad sugar, is to grow a garden…lol… everything in the store has bad sugar, ( candy, sodas, soft drinks, ice cream, and any imitation sugar…so i’m guess all this ).. so what do we do, can you list the healthy stuff …lol …? , great blog !

  46. Cut down on your sugar intake and you will live a healthier life. Drink more fluids as noted by the previous post.

  47. Well, I try to practice moderation. there’s much to be said about making all you can from scratch -you get to see what goes into your food, and how much of it. i might not be perfect, but I’m more informed than I once was!

  48. Great post – this is one of the reasons I cook most things from scratch, Vohn

  49. Great post! It is truly amazing how much sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup) there is in processed foods. You mentioned Dr. Lustig who is a great resource on this topic. He has an excellent video on youtube that you should definitely check out if you haven’t seen it already. He goes through the politics of sugar, the biochemistry of how it is metabolized by the liver, and how the metabolism differs between fructose and glucose. I am sure it is all in his book, I just haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

  50. Hey Dave, good post. Sugar is such a terrible thing in our diet and it should be something we completely eliminate in my opinion. I find it repulsive that the majority of our food, at least prepackaged, is riddled with sugar on top of the vast majority of it being adulterated with other harmful substances.

    It is no doubt that sugar is a drug and studies have shown it has more addiction power than cocaine! That alone should stop people from consuming it. However, the reason why people continue to eat sugar is because they like it and they refuse to look at the evidence of why it is so harmful. This persistent ignorance is why our country is so unhealthy.

    I do believe, however, if we continue to spread the true message about sugar like you and I are doing, then maybe people will wake up and stop eating it.

  51. I gave up sugar when I was 12 years old because my dad was diagnosed with diabetes. I am now on my way to 60, and the taste of sugar is disgusting to me. I don’t like chocolate, fruit juices or anything with sugar in it. I cook everything from scratch so I know what is in it, and we even make our own ice cream, bread etc. Even with all this, I still became diabetic when I reached 45. So, I dread to think what shape I would be in had I had a lifetime supply of sugar in my diet………. great post.

  52. Really interesting post. I’m afraid to say I’m guilty of using a lot of sugar as I bake a lot, but I appreciate everything you’ve written is true. It just makes sense to limit the amount we eat (if we can’t cut it out completely).

  53. Yes, Dave, sugar is a drug. Someone trying to withdraw from as much sugar as possible (it’s almost “subliminally” added) commented: “If we’d never had sugar in our world and someone suddenly brought it in, and after studying its effects, it would be declared a drug.”

    Becoming informed, thanks to people like you, I now go by the bakery departments with new eyes. I no longer drool – instead I feel my body saying, “Ouch!”

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