high-sugar foods

We all know that foods like candy and cookies are loaded with sugar. That’s why these foods are often referred to as indulgent treats reserved for special occasions. The real trouble is avoiding foods with “hidden” sugar because we often don’t know just how high the sugar content of those foods are.

10 Foods That Are Loaded With “Hidden” Sugar

Here are 10 foods that you may surprised to learn are loaded with sugar:

1. BBQ Sauce

You may not think that your savory dinner of baby back ribs is a sugar bomb, but it is. In just two tablespoons of barbecue sauce, there are 13 whopping grams of sugar. Next time you’re ordering ribs, skip the barbecue sauce or order some on the side so you can add just a tiny bit to your meat.

2. Fruity Yogurt

You may think you’re being super healthy by eating yogurt, but it’s important that you choose a low-sugar brand. Many of the flavored yogurts on the market can have around 19 grams of sugar, making the yogurt taste like dessert more than a healthy snack.

3. Chinese Takeout

Chinese takeout entrées like teriyaki chicken or sweet and sour chicken may be high in sodium, something Chinese food is known for, but they’re also high in sugar. One serving of sweet and sour chicken, for example, has 19 grams of sugar.

4. Tomato Sauce

You know how tomato sauce on your pasta can taste slightly sweet? Well, that’s because it is. Most tomato sauces come in at about 12 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup serving. Pair that with the sugars found in pasta and you’re just asking for a spike in blood glucose levels.

5. Soda

While soda may not be as surprising as some of the other foods on the list, you may be shocked to know just how much sugar is in one 8 oz. can of soda — 29 grams! That’s why when nutritionists and health care professionals tell you to avoid soda, they mean serious business.

6. Agave

Agave syrup is often touted as the healthy alternative to sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), but the reality is that agave syrup contains just as much fructose as HFCS. Some argue that it can be even more damaging that cane sugar, as agave contains 85% fructose, which puts a burden on your liver (vs. cane sugar, which is made up of sucrose).

7. Dried Fruit

Your handful of dried cranberries or apricots may seem like you’re making healthy choices, but did you know that 1/3 cup of dried fruit contains 24 grams of sugar? And that’s typically not natural sugar, as many dried fruit packages list sugar as an added, main ingredient.

8. Granola Bars

Also considered a health-conscious snack, granola bars contain loads of sugar hidden between the dried oats and nuts. Many granola bars pack at least 12 grams of sugar in them, negating the idea of the granola bar being healthy. The same goes for many “healthy” breakfast cereals.

9. Energy Drinks

You may think your energy drink is simply providing you the caffeinated boost you need to get over your afternoon slump, but did you know that some energy drinks have up to 83 grams of sugar in them? This is one sugar bomb that you should avoid at all costs.

10. Ketchup

Your dip for French fries may seem innocent enough, but like barbecue sauce, ketchup is loaded with sugar. A tablespoon of ketchup contains a whopping teaspoon of sugar.


18 Foods and Drinks That Are Surprisingly High in Sugar. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/18-surprising-foods-high-in-sugar#section3
10 Hidden Sugar Bombs. (2015, May 05). Retrieved April 18, 2018, from https://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/10-hidden-sugar-bombs/slide/11
Born and raised in Southern California, Beeta has embraced a healthy lifestyle focused on farm-to-table cooking, natural products, and wellness routines. When she's not writing up recipes or discussing the latest natural living trends, Beeta enjoys spending time trying new restaurants, traveling with family and friends, and relaxing at home with her furry companion.