Is There More Sugar Hidden in Your Favorite Breakfast Foods?
Last updated: June 2022
We have already shared with you several sources of hidden sugars, such as tomato sauce, low-fat foods, and canned fruit. But perhaps the biggest culprit of hidden sugars is the most important meal of the day—breakfast. Here’s how eating these common breakfast foods can inadvertently lead to a sugar overload before finishing your morning coffee.
Granola and granola bars: Somewhere along the way granola and granola bars were deemed a healthy breakfast staple. Many do have extremely healthy components, such as oats and nuts, but most are also loaded with added sugar—some even have more sugar than a soda! Look for options that have reduced sugar and sodium. Even if they’re made with natural sugars, such as honey, maple syrup, or agave, it’s still sugar.
To avoid overdoing your sugar intake at breakfast, try trading in your granola for muesli, or try making your own granola without any added sugars. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together uncooked oats with your favorite nuts, seeds, or spices and sprinkle with olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes or until crispy, stirring occasionally.
Fruity yogurts: Plain yogurt is often a bit tart. To make the flavor more appealing, many companies sell sweeter fruity flavors. However, instead of just adding fruit, these companies also add tons of extra sugar.
To get the sweet flavor without the blood sugar spike, buy plain flavored yogurt and add defrosted frozen fruit. The defrosted fruit, heated in the microwave, will make its own all-natural and super flavorful ‘syrup’ that will cut the tartness just enough. Here is a really easy and delicious recipe.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal was and still can be a great way to start the day. Oatmeal has been touted as a cholesterol reducer due to its high fiber content, and is generally viewed as a healthy food.
However, over the years it has evolved from a hearty, wholesome breakfast to a fast, sugar-packed microwaveable meal in every flavor variety imaginable. One small packet of instant maple and brown sugar oatmeal has almost 10 grams of added sugar. Prefer apple and cinnamon? Now you are up to 12 grams.1
Rather than loading up on added sugars first thing in the AM, go old school and stick to plain, old fashion oats and spice it up with fresh cinnamon. If you are craving something sweet in the morning, add fresh fruit, which not only adds some sweetness but also comes with fiber, vitamins, and ultra-healthy phytochemicals! Also, you could try steel-cut oats, which are packed with nutrients and fiber!
Cereals: Cereal is clearly a breakfast staple, and has been for most people since they were kids. Cereals have also evolved to meet consumer needs, and now many are made from whole grains and packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Unfortunately, many are also packed with added sugars, even the ones that appear to be healthy.
Kellogg’s Smart Start has 14 grams of added sugar for just ¾ of a cup. Not so sure that is such a smart start. Instead, try cereals like Fiber One Bran cereal, with no added sugar and a whopping 14 grams of fiber for just half a cup! Sweeten it up the natural way by adding low-fat or fat-free milk and fresh fruit. Try these warm and tasty breakfast ideas.
Coffee Drinks: Sugar isn’t necessarily hidden in coffee drinks. People generally know that there is sugar added to their favorite AM beverages. What most people don’t realize is how much sugar is added.
Don’t panic. We know the Starbucks ritual every morning can be a hard one to give up, so we won’t ask you to. But, maybe try switching things up. Stick to just coffee and add low-fat milk, cinnamon, or vanilla powder to sweeten up your caffeine fix. Not only will this be easier on your barista, but your body will also thank you! Or, try making your own homemade coffee treat!
A healthy breakfast sets the stage for eating habits throughout the day. Consuming a well-balanced meal with natural sugar from fruits instead of added sugar will maintain your blood sugars level, keep you fuller longer, and give you the energy you need throughout the morning.
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