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Hidden Sugar in your Breakfast

Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 4:45PM

Hidden Sugar in your Breakfast


Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day. It refuels your body after a night of rest, as well as sets the tone for your food choices the rest of the day. Most Americans feel like they do fairly good with their breakfast choices. We look for words like “whole grain”, “25% less sugar”, and “100% juice”. In actuality, there are many foods that we think are healthy, but are secretly filled with hidden sugar. Foods that have added sugar that makes us want more and lead us to overeat.


The American Heart Association recommends at most 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day for women (25 grams) and 9 teaspoons for men (36 grams) , but the average adult actually consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar.


Why Limit Sugar?

Sugar, fructose, is found naturally in fruit, but the term “added sugar” means additional sugar or syrup has been put into the food during the preparation or processing. This refined and processed sugar added into our foods has been linked a variety of health problems including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, dementia, and even cancer.  Sugar also is addictive and leaves you craving more. These foods give us energy, or calories, but lack the nutrients our bodies need.

 Fact: 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams



Breakfast foods with Hidden Sugar

While it is no secret that specialty coffee drinks and doughnuts are loaded with sugar, there are many seemingly “healthy” foods that have a surprising amount.

  • Granola/ protein bars- Grabbing a quick breakfast on the way out the door? Better double check the nutrition label first. In fact, some granola bars are nutritionally equivalent to a candy bar.
  • Yogurt- Many people reach for yogurt for its probiotic benefits, but are surprised by the sugar content. Flavored yogurt can have anywhere from 15 to 30 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Oatmeal- This is thought of as the one of the healthiest breakfast options, but what most do not realize is that not all oatmeal is not created equal. Steel cut or rolled oats will provide you with the heart healthy, blood sugar stabilizing benefits. Flavored instant oatmeal is processed and can contain more than 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Drive through McDonalds and you will find their oatmeal has 33 grams!
  • Cereal- You can easily get your recommended limit of sugar for the day in just one bowl of cereal. Even if you are avoiding the obvious “kid cereals”, you still have to do your research and read the nutrition labels. Unfortunately, cereal can be loaded with fiber, whole grains, and high fructose corn syrup at the same time.
  • Bread- Yes even 100% whole wheat and multigrain bread can have added sugar.
  • Granola- Granola is a health food, or is it? Granola can easily have double the sugar content of regular cereal. It is actually considered more of a treat now than a cereal, thanks to the added sweeteners.
  • Juice- Most people think of juice as a fresh, healthy way drink to start the morning. The reality is, however, some fruit juice can have just as much sugar as a can of soda. It is no secret that juice contains sugar, but how much can be startling.
  • Canned fruit- Fruit canned in syrup or light syrup is packed with sugar, even when drained. A cup can have well over 30 grams of sugar.


Caregiver Tip: Read nutrition labels! No longer can you just use your judgement for what is healthy and what is not. Don’t be tricked by hidden sugars. To learn more about sugars, added sugars, and sweeteners visit the American Heart Association. 


Stayed tuned to the County Health Care Guide Blog to learn more about assisted-living, senior care, senior placement, and important senior news in Volusia County. From Daytona to Port Orange to New Smyrna Beach, the County Health Care Guide is the only resource you need.


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