You rarely feed your family sweets and sugary desserts, and your children prefer to drink water or a can of soda. If this sounds like you, you’re probably feeling pretty good about your family’s sugar consumption levels. But what about the amounts of sugar hidden behind “healthy” labeling?
Learn how to spot the drinks, sauces, and snacks that are secretly packed with as much sugar as a candy bar and what you can do to find healthier alternatives with fewer grams of sugar to keep your family cavity-free.
You May Be Feeding Your Family Sugar Without Realizing It
Your family’s daily diet may not be packed with snack cakes and cans of soda, but that doesn’t mean sugar is absent in your children’s diet. In fact, they’re likely eating sugar throughout the day without even realizing it. Sugar is added to foods that aren’t even thought of as sweet, like bread, condiments, and sauces.
The American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than six tablespoons of added sugar per day. A high-sugar diet boosts your odds of tooth decay, heart disease, and diabetes, not to mention the increased risk of obesity. The risk of developing tooth decay through hidden sugars is even higher for children with braces, so be sure to be mindful of what your child eats throughout their orthodontic treatment plan.
Healthy Foods With Added Sugars
The best way to be aware of your family’s sugar intake is to read food labels. Ingredients are listed in order of how much exists in the product, so if sugar is near the top, that’s a red flag that your healthy after-school snack probably isn’t as healthy as you thought.
The top “healthy” foods with hidden sugars are:
Thanks to the straining process, Greek yogurts can be lower in sugar, but that’s not always the case. Some yogurts contain a ridiculous amount of added sugars – many even have upwards of 17 grams of sugar, pushing it into the dessert category.
Some of the more popular brands of cereals pack as much as 20 grams of sugar in a measly three-quarter cup serving. The sugar content can vary widely between brands, so always check the labels before buying.
A small container of applesauce might have as much as 22 grams of sugar to sweeten it up, making it a wrong choice for your little ones who tend to love these little sugar cups as a snack.
Even though they’re made with fruit, smoothies can also contain fruit juices or flavored syrups.
One package of these sweet snacks can have 25 grams of sugar or more, making them closer to candy than a piece of fruit.
Sure, these ready-to-go packets are convenient, but one serving of flavored oats may have four tablespoons of sugar, which is way more than you’d probably add on your own. Buy unsweetened varieties and add in your sweeteners, such as honey or fruit.
Most granola is considered a “healthy” snack, but so many are made with added sugars that they’re basically dessert.
Often referred to as nature’s candy, but closer to the real candy than you might think. These chewy, sticky treats also have a way of getting stuck in your teeth, making them wreak havoc on your smile too.
Sure, these are a great way to get your children to consume their daily dose of nutrients in a tasty way, but that’s because they’re full of sugar to make them sweet and tasty.
Some bottled dressings start at 20 grams of sugar for a 1-ounce serving. Skip the pre-mixed varieties and make your dressings with olive oil, vinegar, and herbs.
Read your labels and check to see if your protein powder is so delicious because it’s been pumped with a lot of added sugar.
Often more of a candy bar in disguise, many protein bars, and meal replacement bars are full of added sugars and sweeteners.
Sugar Intake and Dental Health
Everyone knows overeating sugar can lead to overall health struggles, such as weight gain and other health risks. But your sugar intake can have an immediate impact on dental health too. Eating a healthy diet with minimal sugar intake and proper oral hygiene is best to strengthen the teeth. You and your loved ones have the best shot at excellent overall health by adding regular dental visits to the mix.
To learn more about hidden sugars and how they can impact your family’s oral and overall health, discuss your concerns with Thomas Orthodontics at your child’s next checkup.