Natural Health & Home

Where Do I Find Hidden Sugar?

Finding hidden sugar in your diet can be a real challenge. But the truth is, hidden sugar is everywhere. Hidden sugar pops up where you least expect it. If you start reading labels on “healthy” foods, you’ll find a lot more hidden sugar than you ever expected. I’m going to walk you through what might be a typical breakfast to show you where some of the hidden sugar is and then you’ll be able to make your own decisions about what you choose to eat and feed your family.

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Where are the most common but unexpected places to find hidden sugar?

If you’re reading this, or even on my site, you’re probably trying your best to eat really well and to feed your family nutritious foods. It’s a struggle. And the food industry doesn’t make it easy for you. It can be frustrating and sometimes it can even feel futile. That’s why I’m here to arm you with some information. Information is your best tool to make better decisions about what you are eating and feeding your family.

Is There Hidden Sugar in Your Breakfast?

What did you have for breakfast? Maybe a bowl of cereal, a glass of orange juice, and a fruit yogurt? How awesome are you??? Great breakfast, right? Not so fast. Cereal is one of the prime places to find hidden sugars. One 1 1/4 cup serving of Kellog’s “Smart Start Healthy Heart” contains 17 whopping grams of sugar per serving!!! Kellog’s Raisin Bran Crunch has 19 grams of sugar per 1 cup serving. Recall that 4 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon. So, one serving has over 4 teaspoons of sugar. And maybe you’re eating more than a serving.

Fruit flavored yogurts are loaded with hidden sugar! Even the high protein greek yogurts, can have anywhere from 24 to 29 grams of sugar. And what about the sugars (even though they are not always added) in that glass of OJ? A 12oz glass of orange juice has 39 grams of sugar! Only one gram less than a can of Coke.

So, that “healthy” breakfast contained about 80 grams (20 teaspoons of sugar). For women the recommended limit is 25 grams per day. And if your 4-8 year old had the same breakfast you did, the recommended limit is 16 grams per day. Can you imagine actually eating 20 teaspoons of sugar? Or handing your child a bowl containing 20 teaspoons of sugar? Of course not. That’s why they are hidden from you. Because you wouldn’t eat them if they weren’t!

Where are the most common but unexpected places to find hidden sugar?
You might be really surprised to find out some of the unlikely places you can find hidden sugar.

So When Should I Have Sugar?

I like to treat sugar as an indulgence. What I try to limit or eliminate is the all day “drip” of sugar. If I’m going to have sugar or give the boys a sweet treat – it’s got to be goooooood. If I’m going to have sugar, I want it to feel like the indulgence that it is. I don’t want hidden sugar sneaking in – because it just isn’t worth it. I want to think of sugar as an indulgence and I want the boys to also think of it that way. And to really enjoy the sugary treats that we do have.

Common Sources of Hidden Sugar

Here are some other really common sources of hidden sugar that you may decide just aren’t worth it:

Granola or cereal bars frequently contain 15-30 grams of sugar. Here’s a tip: If it’s called an “energy” bar, that might be code for “sugar” bar.

Sauces (like BBQ, honey mustard) and salad dressings frequently contain anywhere from 9-15 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons!

Frozen meals: What???? Frozen dinners aren’t remotely sweet, but guess what? They can have a whopping 30-40 grams of added sugar per serving!!!

Spaghetti Sauces frequently contain 12 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup. When was the last time you only used 1/2 cup? Just sayin.

Flavored milks (chocolate, strawberry, vanilla) usually contain between 45 and 55 grams of added sugar. Just wow.

Information, Knowledge, Understanding, Tips, Hacks, Tricks - You'll get it all over the next 31 days. Kick your sugar addiction to the curb! #sugaraddiction #write31days #sugarhabit #sugar
Information, Knowledge, Understanding, Tips, Hacks, Tricks – You’ll get it all over the next 31 days. Kick your sugar addiction to the curb!


Think about an easy way to get started. What could work for you? One baby step. Start reading nutrition labels before you buy? Cut out one source of added rsugar in your diet? Finding the sources of added refined sugar? I’ll be posting on all of these topics this month – but start thinking about one change that could help you reduce your intake of refined sugar.


Go to your pantry and take out one thing – a box of cereal, a bottle of salad dressing, a can of beans, a can of soup, whatever it is. Just pick one or two things to take out of your pantry. Look at the nutrition labels and see how much sugar is in ONE serving. And then take stock of how many servings you would be likely to have. Many times the serving size is unfairly small to trick you into thinking that it’s healthy to eat.

On 31 Days to Annihilate Sugar I add a daily link to each new post. I really want you to follow along with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram too so that you don’t miss the extras I may put out there. Even more – I don’t want you to miss anything – so I want you to sign up for my special emails just for this series! Everyone who seriously wants to learn about sugar addiction will be entered to win a free copy of Suicide by Sugar!!! Sign up now for a chance to win a free copy of this wonderful book and to make sure that you don’t miss a thing!

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  1. Wow, I didn’t know that we intake that much sugar. I never really had thought about it in the way you describe it above. I will become more vigilant at what my family’s sugar intake is from now on.

  2. Wow. It really is hidden everywhere. We try to eat healthy, but i know many of these foods are in our pantry and refrigerator. Thank you for all the great information.

  3. Earlier this year, I took part in a real food challenge that talked (among other things) about sugar contents in everyday foods, especially surprising in “health” foods. So, I’m much more sensitive to what I’m putting in my body each day. I’ve lost weight since trimming the sugar, and more importantly, I’ve felt so much better! This article was a great reminder to stay on track and be intentional. I liked the “assignments” at the end too. Looks like I still have some sugar to weed out of my cupboards.

  4. Such a great post! It’s kind of scary how sugar is in everything once you start reading labels! I have gone through seasons where I cut out sugar completely and it really is amazing how much better I felt!

  5. I wish nutrition labels had sugar in teaspoons not grams, I think we’d do better if it was. I make a lot of my own food so I can reduce or take out sugar. I don’t add sugar to my pizza or spaghetti sauce for example.

    1. Yes! Then people would really understand that measurement! We also make a lot of our own food. If I’m going to have sugar, it’s not worth it in spaghetti sauce or a granola bar! I’d rather have something really indulgent occasionally and know that it’s the real thing and really appreciate what I’m having!!!

  6. When I did the Whole30 back in the spring, I was amazed at how many places I found sugar. Learning that kids should only have 3 tsps or less of sugar daily was a big eye opener. I’ve always limited my children’s sugar, but now I try harder.

    1. That’s exactly why it feels so hard! It’s everywhere – especially in places you wouldn’t think to look! One of the best reasons for limiting sugar for children is that it replaces the nutrients that they need to grow and develop! I’d love to hear how different you felt after the Whole 30!

    1. It’s so sneaky!!! There are over 50 names for sugar that are allowed on nutrition labels! I’d love to know how you’re feeling now that you’ve reduced your sugar intake!

  7. I get there is hidden sugar in everything but it is really hard to find prepared food that doesn’t have it. So what is the solution. How do I keep my food convenient and low in sugar.

  8. It’s shocking how much sugar is hiding in our food! I love your action item idea to combat sugar addiction. I think I’m going to give up spaghetti sauce and make my own. Thanks so much for linking this up at Happy Home Life. It’s a tip that I know is going to make my home life happier!

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