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10 Unlikely Foods with High Levels of Sugar

Update Date: Sep 15, 2014 04:35 PM EDT

Health experts and nutritionists have linked high levels of sugar to adverse health effects. Not only does too much sugar expand the waistline, it can also put you at risk of developing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Cutting or reducing your amount of sugar intake could help prevent the development of these conditions. However, in order to properly cut out sugar, people have to be aware of what kinds of foods tend to have high levels of sugar.

Here are 10 unlikely items that contain sugar:

1. Balsamic Vinaigrette

When you make your own balsamic vinaigrette, you can control the amount of sugar that goes into it. However, when you buy commercial bottles, you risk consuming more sugar than you might expect. Balsamic vinaigrette is often made with caramel coloring, which adds sugar and color to the product. Other common ingredients that increase sugar content are cornstarch and gum.

2. Dried Fruit

Dried fruits, particularly raisins, dates and dried cranberries, can be popular toppings. However, these products also have a lot of sugar. For example, the Ocean Spray brand of Craisins packs roughly six teaspoons of sugar per quarter cup of Craisins. Candied fruit products are also made with a lot of sugar.

3. Smoothies

Smoothies might be a convenient, on-the-go breakfast option. However, smoothies made from popular chain stores, such as Starbucks and Jamba Juice, can contain a lot of sugar. Even if the sugar comes from the fruit, drinking that much sugar at once could be detrimental to your health.

4. Meat Sauces

Sauces that go on top of meats and poultry, whether they are prepackaged or made from a restaurant, tend to contain a large amount of sugar. Keep in mind that even though you might be eating a lean protein, if it is topped with some kind of glaze, you are most likely consuming a lot more sugar than you think.

5. Protein Bars

Protein bars are often advertised as healthy snacks that can satisfy cravings without the extra calories. However, a lot of protein bars are made with added sugar. Some of the sugar levels in these options can be comparable to the levels found in chocolate bars.

6. Almond Butter

Almond butter has gotten a lot more attention as a healthy alternative to peanut butter. When picking what kind of almond butter to get, make sure you look at the ingredients. Some manufacturers will add sugar to the almond butter whereas others will not.

7. Yogurt

Over the past few years, the number of yogurt flavors available at the market has increased significantly. Even though these yogurt options are often fruit-flavored, it does not mean that they are healthy. Instead, many of the options are made with sugar.

8. Bottled teas

Tea is an extremely healthy beverage. However, when you purchase bottled teas from the store, you risk drinking a lot of sugar. Bottled teas are often sweetened with sugar or honey, which are not healthy in excess.

9. Wheat Bread

Wheat bread has been repeatedly praised for being the healthier alternative to white bread. However, even though wheat bread contains better ingredients, it can increase people's blood sugar levels. In order to avoid this, particularly for people with diabetes, look for gluten-free rice wraps or coconut wraps.

10. Green Juices

Bottled green juices that are supposed to be packed with healthy ingredients tend to also be high in sugar. What people often forget is that one bottle is typically equivalent to more than one serving. Therefore, when people drink an entire bottle in one sitting, they end up consuming a lot of sugar.

If you want to be more health conscious, remember to always look at the ingredients. In addition, making your own meals, snacks and beverages give you the power to add your own desired amount of sugar.

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