Image: Corbis / Brett Stevens

With a huge emphasis on ‘eating healthy’ these days, we’re often bombarded with ads featuring happy, healthy people enjoying certain foods that keep them fit. But these foods aren’t always as good for you as they claim to be; some of them are filled with sugar and you’ll be surprised to know who the culprits are.

1. Flavoured Yogurt

There’s no denying that yogurt is one of the healthiest foods out there but only if you’re consuming the plain type. Stay away from the flavoured varieties as they have, on average, between four to six teaspoons of sugar in each serving. And don’t be fooled by low-fat varieties either as there’s usually around five teaspoons of sugar in them. Make your own instead by sprinkling cinnamon or honey on plain yogurt, or simply add some chopped fruits. 

2. Salad Dressing

So you love salads? Good for you but if you’re drowning them in dressing, you’re doing it wrong. In fact, the amount of sugar in the dressing defeats the purpose of having salad in the first place. Most of them contain between one and one-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar in each serving. Taking into consideration that each ‘serving’ is only two tablespoons and that most people have more than this with their salad, that’s a lot of sugar. ‘Light’ versions aren’t any better, as they usually top up the sugar content to make up for the lack of fat (ie. taste). Drizzle some olive oil instead or make your own healthy dressing. 

3. Fruit Juice & Smoothies

These drinks that you find at supermarkets or coffee places may contain from six to more than 20 teaspoons of sugar. The World Health Organisation recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day yet you could hit this limit in just one drink. Stick to fresh fruit instead because even though it contains sugar, it also has fibre. Or drink tap water if you’re thirsty. 

4. Cereal/Breakfast Bars

We’re not referring to the sugar-filled varieties targeted at children, but the healthy oats, bran or granola-based ones – some with added fruit. The sugar content varies here – from less than one to almost three teaspoons per serving – so check the label before buying. As for protein/snack bars that are so good for on-the-go brekkies, some contain up to five teaspoons of sugar per bar so read the ingredients list carefully. Have a handful of nuts instead if you’re in a rush.