The 11 Hidden Sources of Sugar in Your Fridge You Need to Replace
You’re committed to cutting back on sugar in your life. You cleared your cabinets of cookies and cereal. You dumped your favorite soda down the kitchen sink. You’re ready to take on a low-sugar lifestyle and nothing can stand in your way.
Not so fast. Sugar is hiding in your fridge, where you’d least expect it, and even the smallest taste of something sweet can ramp up your sugar cravings. Before you embark on your journey to a low-sugar life, double-check your shelves for these hidden sources of sugar.
Nut and Soy Milks
Whether you’re looking for a dairy-free option or just like the taste, it’s important to know that not all alternative milks are created equal. The “original” version of most almond, soy, and other milks have added sweeteners, with most containing 7 grams of sugar per cup. The flavored versions are even worse, containing as much as 13 grams of sugar in a serving.
When you’re buying an alternative milk, look for the products labeled as “unsweetened,” which contain zero grams of sugar in a serving.
Most people think of yogurt as a healthy breakfast or snack, but if you look at the nutrition labels, you’re in for a surprise. While this dairy product certainly has its benefits, most flavored versions are jam-packed with sugar — up to 28 grams in a cup! Look for plain yogurt, which has no added sugar, and add berries and a little bit of honey for sweetness. If you prefer a flavored option, consider Siggi’s vanilla, which has 8 grams of sugar.
Sugar makes food taste good, so manufacturers add it to savory things where we may not expect it. Take bottled dressings, for instance. While we might expect sweeteners in honey mustard, it’s added in just about every dressing, from vinaigrettes to thousand island and ranch. Dressings like poppyseed or creamy slaw dressings are the worst offenders, with as much as 6 grams of sugar in a 2 tablespoon serving.
Of course, you don’t need to settle for just oil and vinegar. Make a homemade, sugar-free salad dressing (whisk together olive oil and lemon juice in a two-to-one ratio, then mix in a little mustard and salt). Alternatively, look for bottled dressings with real ingredients (skip ones where you don’t recognize what’s in it!) and no added sugar, like Tessemae’s Organic Lemon Garlic.
Barbecue Sauces and Marinades
Some bottled barbecue sauces are so full of sugar, it’s the first ingredient listed! Many have 10 grams of sugar in 2 tablespoons of sauce, so it’s easy to get a whole day’s worth of sugar in meal. Carolina-style sauces are more vinegary, so they tend to be lower in sugar. Look for brands with 4 grams of sugar or less per serving, like Stubb’s Original. Instead of slathering meat with sauce, serve it on the side and use it for dipping so you can control how much you’re using.
Many marinades are just salt and sugar put in liquid form, like teriyaki sauce. Look for oil and vinegar-based marinades with lots of herbs and spices, and only use as much marinade as necessary — about ½ cup for a pound of meat. Also, scrape off the marinade before grilling or cooking.
Maybe it isn’t surprising to you, but we were shocked to learn that many ketchups have a whopping 4 grams of sugar in a single tablespoon! That means a third of store-bought ketchup is straight sugar. But it doesn’t need to be that way — it takes just a few ingredients to make an easy, homemade ketchup. Or consider substituting another flavorful dipping sauce instead (like a low-sugar barbecue sauce — see above), and use it in moderation.
Real mayonnaise doesn’t include sugar, but the ones sold in the grocery store generally do. The worst offenders: mayo-like dressings such as Miracle Whip, which has high-fructose corn syrup as its third ingredient. Keep these out of your fridge!
Bacon and Breakfast Sausage
Sugar is used in the curing process for bacon, so even though there may not be a ton of sugar if you have a slice (though who stops at one slice?), you should look out for it if you’re watching your sugar intake. Breakfast sausage also often includes maple syrup, brown sugar, or another sweetener. Check your labels or, if you’re buying at the counter, ask the butcher.
While not all wines may taste sweet, they are made from grapes and they generally contain some residual sugar. White wine, on average, contains more sugar than red. According to the USDA, a five-ounce glass of red table wine has 0.9 grams of sugar, while the same size glass of Chardonnay generally has 1.4 grams of sugar. Watch out for sweeter grape varietals, like Rieslings and Muscat/Moscato, which can have 5 to 14 grams of sugar a glass. Opt for dry wines, like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio for whites and Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir for reds.
If you want to stop yourself from drinking more after a glass of wine, let a Sweet Defeat lozenge dissolve on your tongue. It will block your ability to taste sweetness for up to an hour, which will stop you from indulging in more wine than you want to!