“Being healthy” is a difficult term to define. It refers to a mixture of healthy foods, lots of nutrients, exercise and a whole lot more. The difficulty is that nobody responds in the same way to certain lifestyles. It’s all about what works for you (as long as you are getting the nutrients you need). One thing we do know, however, is that sugar is not good for you. Even if you feel perfectly well when you eat it, it won’t be doing any favours for your body. The worst kind of sugar? In our opinion, the kind that creeps up on you. While you think that you’re eating healthily, there are several shop-bought foods that contain refined sugar when you least expect it. Read on to find out frequent culprits and how to avoid them!
It appears to be the epitome of health – complex carbs, fruit and nuts. What more could you want for a healthy brekkie? A word of warning: lots of brands have added refined sugar. Check the ingredients for words such as “sugar”, “syrup” or “juice” because they’re bad news.
If not granola, surely porridge oats are healthy? Natural ones, yes. But flavoured porridge… probably no. How do you tell? If the flavour screams “YUM, I can’t believe that’s a breakfast product”, it’s most likely got bad sugar in it. Have a look at the back of the packet to see the sugar content. If it seems low, check the serving size – a normal portion could be 4x the amount they specify!
Another health food contender is soup. Homemade soup made of natural food can be absolutely delicious and super healthy. Unfortunately canned soup is not at the same standard. Apart from all the preservatives needed to help it stay in date, it’s usually got a fair few grams of sugar added, too. The ingredients will state “sugar”, “juice” or “syrup” if it’s not a nod towards health. The most common flavours for added sugar are tomato, minestrone and butternut squash.
Tomato sauce on wholewheat pasta – delicious AND nutritious. But shop-bought tom-sauce? Delicious, minus the nutritious part. Unless you can find a sugar free version, that is. The sauce often contains a ton of sugar. Make sure you look at the ingredients list to see if it’s actually a healthy option or not.
Peanuts are good for you and they’re super tasty, too. Peanut butter is also yummy and makes an indulgent but healthy snack. The only downside is that a lot of brands use sugar to sweeten it, despite its naturally sweet and creamy taste. These are usually brands like Sunpat or Skippy. For healthy versions, look for Whole Earth or Meridian – they’re the yummiest too!
You may know that white bread contains sugar, but you might be surprised to know that often wholegrain and brown bread contains it as well. Look for bread that doesn’t contain more than 2g of sugar per slice. It’s also a good idea to opt for seeded bread for more nutrients!
Salad is the number 1 diet meal (when it’s full of healthy food). Low in calorie… or is it? Even if you’ve filled your salad bowl with lettuce, spinach, lean meat and some other veggies, your choice of salad dressing could let you down. The usual suspects are Caesar salad and French dressing. A great option is olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Protein can really help you lose weight because it keeps you full for a long time and decreases the hunger hormone in your body. But, if your protein powder contains sugar or syrup, it’s bad news. It can prevent weight loss, increase blood sugar levels and even throw off your mood stability. Want to know our best tip on how to avoid a sugary protein powder? Use our breakfast smoothie powder – no added sugar and full of goodness to make you feel great!
Cereal and protein bars
Bars are a convenient snack, and sometimes healthy! But most of the time they’re packed with sugar. They often include sugars like golden syrup or brown sugar. Naturally sweet bars are healthy for you, but might not be helping with your fitness and body goals. The best way to ensure you’re not surprised by sugary surprises is to make your own bars. Energy balls are also a great snack idea. Our breakfast smoothie powder works wonders to make them tasty, too!
Yoghurt provides essential nutrients, such as calcium, Vitamin D, protein and probiotics. While this is fabulous for your health (and your gut!), the added sugar in flavoured yoghurt is not so beneficial. Ones to watch out for are honey or fruit flavoured yoghurts. The best kind of yoghurt to go for? Natural or greek yoghurt and add your own healthy flavouring – it will probably taste better!