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Someone grabs a forkful of spaghetti with chocolate sauce, candy, marshmallows, and sprinkles as the sauce.

Sugar Hide and Seek

After your diabetes diagnosis, you may have been shocked to learn about all of the foods, even healthy ones, that contain sugar. Whether natural sugar or added, it can be hard to avoid!

Sugar hiding in unexpected foods

Here are a few foods that may be hiding larger amounts of sugar than you realize. Check your labels and see what you discover!

Spaghetti sauce

You may already know that tomatoes contain natural sugar. But what may be surprising is that sugar is often added to jarred tomato sauce to enhance the flavor. This can be shocking since we often think of spaghetti as more of a savory meal than a sweet one. Be sure to read your ingredients label and choose sauces that do not contain any added sugars. Another spot to check is the nutrition facts label, which will provide the grams of added sugars.


Of course, you know that oats contain carbohydrates and therefore sugar. But it is shocking to see how much sugar a serving many popular granolas contains. Whether added as honey, sweetened dried fruit, or dried cane syrup, many prepackaged granolas can boast as much as 6 grams of sugar for a 1/3 cup serving. If you are a lover of granola, consider making your own. That way, you can substitute a no-calorie sweetener such as Truvia®, or remove it altogether, and better control your sugar intake.


Often touted as one of the healthiest food options, yogurt is another surprising sugar–hider. With the addition of fruit, fruit juice, as well as sugar, many single-serve yogurt containers provide 14 grams of sugar. If you love yogurt, spend some time in your dairy aisle reviewing labels and ingredient lists. Try to find the lowest sugar option available. Another alternative is to choose plain yogurt and add your own nuts, such as peanuts or cashews, to bulk up the protein and provide more flavor.


It can be difficult to create the habit of counting condiments into your daily nutrition intake. After all, they are just a small addition to our large meals. But many condiments contain additional sugar to provide that pop of flavor we are looking for when adding small amounts to our entrée. Check your salsa labels. Sweet flavors such as pineapple salsa will most likely contain added sugars. Ketchup and many salad dressings also have added sugars. It may take some time for you to get used to new favorite condiments but even small changes can make a difference in control your blood glucose levels. Consider fresh avocado as a hamburger topping or even a salad dressing. Or toss together a little olive oil and vinegar to avoid a sugary salad dressing.

Tips to remember about hidden sugar

  • Read ingredient lists and nutrition labels as much as possible
  • Consider your own homemade recipes to better control sugar intake
  • Speak with your physician if you have specific questions regarding your sugar intake

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Thomas A McAtee Jr. moderator
    6 months ago

    Good article Katie!! On the yogurt check to see if you have a Kroger or one of it’s family members grocery store in your area. If so, check and see if they have a yogurt called Carb Master(s) in it.

    Very low carbs and sugars. Think sugar averages around 2-3g and carbs maybe 4-5g.

    When I was first diagnosed the dietitian had written down some yogurts that I should be safe with. Then one day I was in Frys Grocery store near my house and saw one of the Kroger Carb Master(s) yogurt. Bought just one to try and then bought more after discovering that I liked it. Told him about that one and he said that it was a winner. To go with it.

    But check and see.You might have a Kroger or one of it’s family members there and if you do might want to give that a check out and see what you think on it.

  • Katie Gutwald, RD moderator author
    6 months ago

    Thanks for the info, Tom!
    Glad you have found something you love. Sincerely, Katie Gutwald RD Community Moderator

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