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8 Healthy Foods with Crazy-High Sugar Counts

How Much Sugar is Healthy?

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Artificial sugar is your diet's top enemy, and rightly so—the sweet stuff can increase your risk for almost all major diseases. Now, the World Health Organization says people should slash their sugar intake to just six to 12 teaspoons per day—an amount that could be exceeded with a single can of soda! Their new report warns of added sugars in processed foods, as well as those hidden in our favorite all-natural sweeteners like honey and fruit juices. If you’re reading Shape, you probably don’t need quite the diet makeover most of America does (the average person would have to cut their daily sugar intake by two-thirds to meet the new threshold). But even foods deemed healthy have enough sugar to skyrocket you past that recommended threshold when combined with the rest of your daily diet. (Proof: Real Women Share Their Daily Sugar Intake and Healthy Eating Habits.) Check out these 8 sneaky sources of sugar in otherwise good-for-you foods.

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Yogurt

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Between the protein and probiotics, yogurt is one of the healthiest foods there is—but only the plain kind. Fruit-flavored varieties may taste better, but they also pack upwards of four teaspoons of sugar (Yoplait’s Original Flavored Yogurt has a whopping seven teaspoons!). 

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Salad Dressing

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Kudos for choosing a salad over pizza, but if you drown it in dressing you’re canceling out the benefit. Kraft Creamy French Salad Dressing, for example, delivers about one-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar, while Wish-Bone's Deluxe French salad dressing has one teaspoon of sugar per serving (two tablespoons). The better option? These 10 Homemade Salad Dressings Way Tastier Than Store-Bought Drizzles.

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Granola Bars

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Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey boasts three tablespoons of artificial sugar in one package! This is one category where you really have to check the ingredients, though. The high sugar counts in healthy brands like Annie’s, Larabar, and Luna Bar are from unrefined sources, like dates and raw unsweetened cocoa, which are totally fine for you. 

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Pasta Sauce

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You remembered to opt for Healthy Pasta Alternatives, but did you switch out your sauce? Most mainstream brands are a real sneaky source of the sweet stuff: Prego’s traditional sauce, for example, has two teaspoons, while Bertolli’s Tomato & Basil packs in three teaspoons. Be sure to read the labels and look for sauces with no added sugar.

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Peanut Butter

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The bad news? Your favorite childhood brands, including Skippy and Jif, have around two teaspoons of sugar per serving. The good news, though, is there are a lot of brands with no added sugar, including Justin’s, 365 Everyday Value, Smucker’s Natural, and Trader Joe’s. (Cook up something new with 40 “Betcha Never Tried This!” Ways to Eat Nut Butter.)

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Coffee Drinks

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We’re all for a morning boost, but even minor upgrades can topple your sugar threshold for the day. A tall, nonfat mocha latte from Starbucks packs seven teaspoons of sugar in a cup, while a tall, nonfat Chai latte will set you back eight teaspoons. If that’s all the sugar you’re going to have today, indulge, but otherwise, consider sticking to a plain ol’ cup of joe. (Find out How Much Coffee is Too Much?)

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Flavored Waters

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Soda isn’t the only sugar-laden drink: Vitamin Water packs more than eight teaspoons of added sugar in a 20 oz bottle, while Snapple Green Tea has over seven teaspoons in a 16-ounce bottle. You're better off with the healthiest hydrator of all: water. (If you can't handle the straight stuff all day, try one of these 8 Infused Water Recipes to Upgrade Your H2O.)

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Cereal

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You know to avoid Frosted Flakes and CocoPuffs, but even the “healthy” cereals have added sugars. Special K Red Berries, for example, has more than 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving. In fact, Some Cereals Are 50 Percent Sugar by Weight! Read the ingredients, though: Cascadian Farm Honey Nut O’s and Kashi GoLean both have similar sugar levels, but theirs come from natural sources like honey, which don’t do your body as much harm as the artificial kind.

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