Surprisingly sugary foods
Most of us eat too much sugar, but it's not always easy to avoid it. Here's our guide to some of the sneaky spots where sugar may be hiding.
1. Low fat yoghurts
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Watch out for the sugar content which can be surprisingly high for a product so low in fat. To cut the sugar, keep your eyes on the nutrition labelling and ingredients list as different brands will vary. Alternatively, go for plain, low-fat natural yoghurt and serve it with fresh fruit for a natural sweetness.
2. Fruit juice and fruit juice drinks
A glass of pure juice can contain as much calories (energy) as a glass of cola, so it's best to keep these as a once-a-day addition to your diet. This is naturally occurring sugar, though, and will come with additional nutrients such as vitamins - so if you are going to have a small portion of fruit juice, make sure it is pure and unsweetened, or eat the whole fruit instead. Some juice drinks, especially the tropical juices like lychee, peach or mango, will have had sugar added to them to make them even sweeter.
Read more from our dietitian about fruit juices and smoothies.
3. Sports drinks
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It’s sugar that will provide you with the energy that these drinks promise. That’s fine if you are doing an endurance event or training for longer periods. Any less than that and you will most likely be consuming more calories than you are using if you go for a sweet sports drink. Sugar-free options are available, but for most people it’s probably best to stick to water.
4. Ready meals
As with salt, when we buy foods ready-made they can come with surprisingly high levels of sugar. Cooking from scratch puts you in charge of what goes into your meals. Browse through our Heart Matters recipe finder so you can find some of the dishes you like, whether it’s something new or a healthier version of an old favourite.
5. Alcoholic drinks
It’s easy to forget the amount of calories we consume in drinks. Alcohol is high in calories itself but some drinks will also contain sugar. Also, don’t forget that mixers can also be high in sugar which will all add to the calorie count.
It might seem like such a small addition to your plate, but these condiments such as ketchup/tomato sauce, brown sauce and sweet chilli sauce, are often high in sugar. Each tablespoon (15ml) can contain around a teaspoon of sugar. Choose reduced salt and sugar versions where possible and if you are at home try making a fresh tomato salsa instead.