Foods That Sneak Sugar Into Your Weight-Loss Meal Plan

by Menaka Warrier

Can cutting out sugar help you lose weight? Well, we answered that question in a post previously, the gist of which is that sugar isn’t pure evil, but it can slow weight loss down to a sluggish crawl.

“It's in EVERYTHING,” says Amanda Santucci, a holistic nutritionist from Boston. “Sugar is the number one thing people have the most difficulty understanding because it is hidden in nearly everything they eat. It’s just under the guise of different terms.”

Sugar, simply put, is a soluble carb that brings with it an addictive burst of flavor that will leave you craving for more. Rebecca Lewis, a registered dietician from says, “According to the latest dietary recommendations of 2015, Americans are advised to limit added sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories (that's 12tsp for a 2000-calorie diet vs 22tsp of sugar, which they are currently consuming on average). There’s approximately 4g sugar in 1tsp.”

Common Everyday Contributors Of Added Sugar

  • Sugar-Free Foods: Victoria Brodsky, head of nutrition for SugarChecked, says that sugar-free foods lure us with the prospect of eating sweets and maintaining that waistline, but over-indulging in them can be counterproductive. Such products use artificial sweeteners which reduce insulin sensitivity, and cause carb cravings. Their unnatural makeup of delivering sugar without the calories promotes metabolic dysfunction which causes you to store fat and leads to an increase in appetite. Brodsky adds, “Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin have also been shown to increase the risk for some cancers.”
  • Low-Fat Foods: Beware of foods pretending to help you lose weight. Brodsky says, “Foods advertised as low-fat, typically in the garb of desserts, crackers and cookies, or dairy products, tend to contain excess processed sugar or additives to replace the fat content.” ‘Low-fat’ products thus, aren’t really low fat at all. But they don’t mention it in their labels as ‘sugar’. “Look out for ingredients like dextrose, malt syrup, HFCS or high-fructose corn syrup, which are all keywords for added sugar.
  • Canned Soup: Canned soup seems like a fairly harmless option for days you’re too lazy to stir up a meal. But, don’t be fooled. “We all know that canned soups are loaded with sodium. Unsurprisingly, they often have added sugars to contribute to the flavor, and for preservation purposes,” says registered nutritionist and dietitian, Jennifer Glockner.
  • Bread: Glockner says that bread contains sugar “to feed the yeast, tenderize the bread, and create a nice brown crust.” Even wheat bread, that’s usually considered healthy and is a go-to for weight watchers, may contain sugars in the form of honey.
  • Natural Foods: So far, we have spoken of processed foods that sneak sugar into their ‘supposedly’ healthy versions. But, there are some natural foods you should be wary of, too. Almond milk, yogurt, carrot sticks, lychees, figs, mangoes, cherries, grapes, corn, dried fruits are just a few examples.

Now, if we’re being realistic then let’s accept that you will resort to these sugar-laden foods even when you’re watching your weight because… convenience! But, just knowing that these everyday foods have a high sugar content can help you be more mindful and watch your intake, particularly when you’re trying to lose weight and are already conscious of your dietary habits. Knowledge is power; and well, now you know.

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