Sneaky, sneaky sugar. It is everywhere, even in foods that we think are healthy! While consuming sugary foods every once in awhile is fine for the average person, for someone who constantly craves sugar, these 10 foods could be the culprits fueling addiction. While not all of these foods have added sugar, they get transformed into sugar in your bloodstream and are digested very quickly. So, if you’ve been trying to avoid sugar to heal your cravings, you may have overlooked these sneaky little devils!
1. Fruit Juice
When the juice from fruit is removed from the fibers and inner workings, all you are left with is pure sugar with few nutrients to back it up. This makes fruit juice very high in naturally occurring sugars that go straight into your bloodstream.
2. Whole Wheat and Gluten Free Bread
White, whole wheat and gluten free breads all contain the same thing—highly processed, refined flour. This ultra-refined flour allows your body to digest it as a sugar, and much more quickly than a sprouted grain/less refined bread.
3. Organic Foods (especially packaged products)
I see this mentality all the time: “It’s organic so it must be good for me!” NOPE! An organic brownie is no better for you than a regular brownie. And keep an eye out for sugars in prepackaged organic foods. Again, just because it is organic doesn’t mean it doesn’t have added sugars.
4) Store bought Smoothies and Vegetable Juices
A drink that has vegetables and fruit in it doesn’t guarantee that it’s healthy. Many pre-bottled juices and smoothies have added fruit juice (see No. 1) and a larger proportion of fruit than vegetables. Examining the ratio is extremely important when selecting vegetable juice; be sure that there is at least a 3:1 ratio of vegetables to fruit in any pre-bottled juice. Overall, with both juices and smoothies, be sure to watch out for sugar content. Your best bet? Make them at home.
Yogurt is a great source of healthy probiotics, but the majority of brands have tons of added sugar. Instead of the flavored varieties, buy plain yogurt (Greek or grass-fed cow products are best) and add your own drizzle of raw, organic honey and/or fruit for sweetness.
6. Dried Fruit
These little tidbits are packed with sugar. Dried fruit has the water removed, which concentrates the sugars. Half a cup of fresh cranberries contains 2g of sugar; 1/2 cup of dried cranberries contains a whopping 37g, or 9 teaspoons, of sugar. And who eats just one or two dried apricots? We eat a handful, equating to five or six pieces of fruit.
7. Alternative Milks (non-dairy)
While milks like almond, soy and cashew are becoming more and more popular, and do offer a lot of great health benefits, the standard forms of these products do have added sugar. Look for “unsweetened” and you will be all set.
8. Granola/Energy/Protein Bars
Ninety percent of these products are basically the same as eating a candy bar (and in some cases, a Snickers may even be better for you.) They taste delicious because of all the added sugar. Read the labels people…and if you are looking for a snack or boost of energy, go for a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit instead.
9. Nut Butters
Check the ingredients on your favorite nut butters—yes, even the natural/organic kind that you have to stir. Many have added sugar. Be sure there is only one ingredient—the nut. And, when in doubt (and to save yourself money) make your own.
10. Protein Powder
Many protein powders are delicious because they have added sugars. Always go for brands that don’t include the excess sugars so you don’t sabotage your protein game.
Getting your brain off of sugar is no piece of cake. Going cold turkey and avoiding these 10 foods is usually the best way to approach a sugar addition. Also, start adding LOTS of whole fruits, beans, sprouted grains, brown rice and TONS of vegetables into your diet, and you will notice your cravings start to subside. I guarantee if you do your due diligence, you will be able to walk past those Oreos one day like they don’t even matter.
Kati Kenfield received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She also completed the Core Curriculum for Life Coaching from the Coaches Training Institute in San Francisco and is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. A Colorado native with a Bachelor’s in Communication from Colorado State University, Kati resides in Denver with her husband and two dogs. She specializes in helping individuals find a way of incorporating both exercise and healthy eating into their lifestyles in a way that is fun, enjoyable and results driven. Kati has lived an active lifestyle since her early years (including running, mountain biking, yoga, hiking, dancing, skiing, boxing, horseback riding and walking), and she believes there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to living a healthier, happier life. Visit Health Coach Connect online at healthcoachconnect.com