Sugar Shockers: Foods Surprisingly High in Sugar
WebMD takes a look at the sugar content in some popular packaged foods -- and the results may surprise you.
When you read the labels on foods in your supermarket, it's no surprise that
you find plenty of sugar in products like cake mix, ice cream, jelly, cookies,
and soda. But it can be downright shocking to see 12 grams of sugar in bottled
pasta sauce or barbecue sauce -- and even more so to find 50 grams of sugar in
a healthy-sounding bottled tea!
To help you ferret out which products are surprisingly high in sugar, I
embarked on a mission in the aisles of my local market. Over the course of
several days, with my reading glasses close at hand, I examined hundreds of
nutrition information labels to check out the sugar content in foods.
One thing’s for sure: Just because there’s a nutrition-oriented statement on
the package (like "contains whole grain," "excellent source of
calcium," "fat-free," "100% juice" or "25% less
sugar") doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain a shocking amount of sugar.
And just because the brand name or product name sounds like it’s good for
weight loss (Weight Watchers, Skinny Cow, etc.), don’t assume the food is lower
So how much exactly is a gram of sugar? One teaspoon of granulated sugar
equals 4 grams of sugar. To put it another way, 16 grams of sugar in a product
is equal to about 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar.
Keep in mind, though, that the grams of sugar listed on the nutrition
information label includes natural sugars from fruit (fructose) and milk
(lactose) as well as added sweeteners like refined sugar or high-fructose corn
syrup. That’s why the label on a carton of regular low-fat milk says there's 13
grams of sugar per cup. And that’s why the grams of sugar per serving in Raisin
Bran (or any cereal with raisins or other dried fruit) seem unexpectedly
Further, many beverages that boast of being 100% juice use juice concentrate
to achieve their sweet flavor. This is also reflected in the grams of sugar
listed on the label.
Touring the supermarket, I found sugar shockers in 14 food categories. Here
are some of the foods I found to be surprisingly high in sugar.
1. Canned or Packaged Fruit
You don’t really expect to find lots of sugar in individual packages of
fruit, even if the package says "in light syrup," like the diced
peaches or pears, or "made with real fruit" like the Fruit Chillers
DelMonte Fruit Chillers Frozen Fruit Sorbet: 1 small individual cup
= 26 grams sugar, 190 calories
Motts Apple Sauce
(cinnamon or original): 1 small serving cup
(113 g) = 22-23 grams sugar, 100 calories
Dole diced peaches in light syrup: 1 small serving cup = 18 grams
sugar, 80 calories
DelMonte diced pears or mandarin oranges in light syrup: 1 small
serving cup = 17 grams sugar, 70 calories