It’s no surprise that Krispy Kreme doughnuts are unhealthy. After all, they’re basically fried globs of sugar and flour. With 10 grams of sugar, that’s about 42% and 28% of the daily recommended limit for women and men respectively – at least, according to the American Heart Association.
Still, Krispy Kreme doughnuts are far from the worst sugary offenders. And many high-sugar foods definitely pass under the radar.
Case in point, you may be surprised to find that the following foods all have more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut:
- Skim milk. With 13 grams of sugar, a single cup of skim milk has as much sugar as 1.3 Krispy Kreme doughnuts. As a healthier alternative, opt for unsweetened almond milk; it has zero grams of sugar.
- Dried cranberries. Though they sound healthy, most dried cranberries are sweetened to counteract their bitterness. But with 26 grams of sugar, there’s nothing bittersweet about it! That’s more sugar than two and a half Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Eat only unsweetened dried fruit – and do so in moderation. Fresh fruit, with its water content, is always more filling.
- Cereal. If a cereal is called “Smart Start” or “Raisin Bran Crunch,” you might think that you’re purchasing a healthy, low-sugar breakfast. But with 17 and 20 grams of sugar per serving respectively, you’re at the equivalent of about two doughnuts. And that’s before the milk! Though they’re not always easy to find, look for cereals with no added sugars. Most have 7 grams of sugar or less.
- Yogurt. Yogurt is another food that sounds healthy – and sometimes it is! But yogurts with fruit at the bottom, added flavors or honey are not smart choices. Some have as many as 28 grams of sugar. Instead of eating the sugar equivalent of nearly three doughnuts, opt for plain yogurts – and check the nutrition label.
- Sports drinks. Though Gatorade is a great recovery drink for high endurance athletes, most of us drink it while sitting on the sidelines. We don’t need all those simple carbs to sustain our energy levels; the result is consuming 35 grams of sugar in a single 20-ounce bottle. That’s 14 grams of sugar per cup. Instead, stick with water. If you want some flavor, squeeze some lemon juice into it.
- Salad dressing. Crazy but true! A single serving of “Ken’s Fat-Free Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette” has 12 grams of sugar per serving. In fact, the very first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, which is really just a fancy way to say sugar. Don’t be fooled by fat-free labels. It’s not synonymous with healthy – and many fat-free foods contain extra sugar to make up for the flavor. There’s no fat in sugar… but it can definitely still make you fat!
- Fruit smoothies. Let’s be clear. Fresh fruit has a lot of sugar. An apple, for example, has 19 grams of sugar. But a fresh apple also has nearly one-fifth of your daily value of slow-digesting fiber; it helps you feel full longer and prevents a spike in blood sugar levels. Juices remove all that great fiber – and you’re just left with the sugar. Many of the packaged smoothie drinks in grocery stores are perfect examples of this process. A single 12-ounce Odwalla Superfood Smoothie has 37 grams of sugar and very little fiber. It’s the equivalent of almost four doughnuts. Instead of buying a smoothie, make one. And use whole fruits rather than fruit juices. Use a base of almond milk and ice to cut down on sugar and calories.
Were you surprised by the amount of sugar in any of these foods? Let me know in the comments below!