Spotting hidden sugars

Spoon of sugar

Managing sugar and carb consumption is an important part of living with diabetes. However, sometimes it’s not obvious how much sugar is in the food we eat. Here are some of the ways to spot "hidden" sugars.


Sugar by another name

Whether it’s used to make a food product or added to make food sweeter, sugar goes by several different names:

  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn sweetener
  • Agave nectar
  • Cane crystals
  • Molasses


Sweet surprises

A number of common foods have much more sugar than you might expect:

  • Salad dressing: Dressings can have as much as 2 to 3 grams of sugar in a single tablespoon. 
  • Pasta sauce: As savory as they usually are, pasta sauces can contain up to 24 grams of sugar in a single cup. 
  • Yogurt: Although yogurt is undeniably packed with nutrients, some servings can contain anywhere from 17 to 33 grams of sugar in an 8-ounce serving. Greek Yogurt usually has less sugar than regular, so give it a try! 
  • Granola bars: Made to give you a quick burst of energy, granola bars can use sugar to provide that boost (or some flavor) and contain up to 12 grams of sugar per 1-ounce serving. 
  • Sugar-free candy: Two pieces of some sugar-free candy may contain up to 20 grams of one of the different sugars, such as dextrose. 

Knowing how to spot them is half the battle when it comes to keeping unwanted sugars out of your diet. Arm yourself with knowledge and read your ingredient labels to ensure hidden sugars don’t derail your diabetes management.


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