Hidden Sugars: Where to Look

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Once you have identified the many forms of sugar in your diet, you can start to work on removing it. It has been proven time and again that excess sugar consumption leads to obesity, cavities, diabetes and a host of other health problems.

Truly, added sugar offers no health benefits. The naturally-occurring sugars found in fruits are fine for your body and the same goes for the sugar (lactose) found in milk. However, there are hidden sugars in plenty of items you wouldn't think about checking.

Breads and Crackers

Many processed breads and crackers contain sugar. Companies use it to ensure an even rise during baking. In addition, it can make the flavor profile even more appealing. The best way to avoid sugar in bread is to read the labels and, if possible, bake it yourself.

Buying a bread making machine can save you money at the supermarket and sugar from your diet. Most of those machines cost around $30 and you can just "set it and forget it." Amass the necessary ingredients, mix them, and place them in the bread maker. Return a little later and the house smells great with a fresh loaf of bread waiting for you.

Julie Deardorff, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, listed some of the more surprisingly sugary items from the grocery store in her column, "Julie's Health Club." Included on the list were Pepperidge Farm's Plain Bagels (with 10 grams of sugar per bagel) and Smart Start's Original Antioxidants cereal (with 14 grams of sugar per cup). She notes that sugar is mentioned 14 times in the list of ingredients on the package.

Cereal Bars and Granola

Sean O'Keefe, a professor in the department of Food and Sciences at Virginia Tech weighs in on sugar's role in granola bars; "Sugar is added to help with taste, texture and to lower water content, increasing the bars' shelf life." Sounds acceptable, right? Well, it makes sense but you don't have to buy into it. Consider this: Quaker Natural Granola Oats Honey and Raisins has 30 grams of sugar per 1 cup and Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars contain 13 grams per bar. Still sound acceptable? Here is a recipe for granola bars that you can make yourself: