Sugar is hidden in many foods that you would not expect it to be in. Some forms of sugar that you may see in foods are dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose, powdered sugar, brown sugar and lactose. Check the ingredients list on the back of the package of food to look for added sugars. The U.S. Department of Agriculture via the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends choosing and preparing foods with little added sugar and sweetener.
Ketchup has a salty flavor, yet many people may not know its sugar content. One tablespoon of ketchup contains 1.7 grams of sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. You can use a low-sugar ketchup or swap ketchup for other sauces and flavors. Smart choices include vinegar, lemon or spices.
Sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup is an ingredient in many store-bought breads. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one serving of whole-wheat bread often contains 1 to 4 grams of sugar. Several varieties do not contain sugar. Always read the label to find a sugar-free version.
Many store-bought salad dressings contain a large amount of sugar, which is found in bottled and packaged mixes. Check labels for possible added sugar in the form of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Salad dressing contains 0.4 to 5 grams of added sugar per serving depending on the dressing. Try making your own mix of olive oil, vinegar and herbs for a healthy alternative. Store-bought oil-based dressings are more likely to have no sugar added than creamy dressings.
Breading and Coating Mixes
Some commercially prepared breading and coating mixes for meat and poultry contain more than 50 percent sugar. Try making your own mix to avoid added sugar. When reading labels, look for added white sugar.
Many peanut butters contain added sugars. According to the USDA, peanut butter often has 1 to 3 grams of sugar per serving. Read labels to find if your favorite peanut butter contains sugar in the common forms of maltodextrin, corn syrup solids and molasses.
A 1/2-cup serving of tomato sauce contains 10 grams of sugar. The third ingredient in tomato sauce is often white sugar. Look for tomato sauce without any added sugar or use fresh tomatoes to make your own sauce. Add olive oil, onion and garlic powder to give the sauce more flavor without the additional sugar.
A key ingredient in many baked bean recipes and canned baked beans is brown sugar. Canned baked beans often contain 4 to 8 grams of sugar. Baked beans can still be very tasty without any added sugars. Try making your own with mustard, low-sugar ketchup and spices.
Make your own barbecue sauce to avoid added sugars. Many store-bought barbecue sauces contain 12 to 15 grams of sugar. Read labels to check for high-fructose corn syrup, which is often found in barbeque sauce. Combine cider vinegar, low-sugar ketchup, onion and mustard for a no-sugar-added sauce.
Read the label to determine if your crackers contain added sugars -- some crackers have up to 4 grams. Look for whole-wheat versions, which are higher in fiber and often do not contain sugar.
Pancake and Waffle Mix
Make your own pancake or waffle mix to avoid sugar. You can even make a large batch of mix and store it in your pantry to save time on future meals. Some mixes contain 3 to 8 grams of added white sugars.
Amanda Hernandez is a registered dietitian who holds a Master of Arts degree in family and consumer sciences with an emphasis in dietetics from Western Michigan University. Her work has been featured in "Women's World" and "Women's Day" magazines. She writes for nutritionistreviews.com and has been a nutrition writer since 2010.