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Updated by Lauren Fleming on Jun 07, 2015
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13 Surprising Places to Find Added Sugar

Packaged foods have lots of secrets, in particular added sugars are found in some surprising places - not just those cakes, cookies and candies!


Tomato Sauces

In many of those commercial sauces, added sugar is the 3rd or 4th ingredient! Another tomato product to watch out for: canned tomato soup. Campbell's Tomato soup lists high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient. Why not try your hand at making your own instead? A fresh tomato sauce using crushed no salt added tomatoes along with some seasonings can be an easy alternative when you are in a hurry.


BBQ Sauces

Sugar tends to hang out in the top 3 ingredient spots in BBQ sauces as well! In the case of some of the sweet BBQ sauces, high fructose corn syrup or sugar is in the top spot. Try your hand at making your own sauces instead, or be sure to use in moderation.


Deli Meats

We are all well aware of the sodium and preservatives used in our deli meats, but what may come as a surprise is that a lot of those slices meats also have sugar or corn syrup added (and not just those listed as honey baked!)


McDonald's Fries

According to McD's website, they wash the sliced potatoes in a "dextrose solution" to replace the starch lost during blanching the potatoes. Some of the frozen fries at the grocery store may also have sugar added for just the right flavour: be sure to check the ingredient list!



Wine is of course made of grapes, which contain natural sugars. However, in some cases if the grapes weren't ripe enough to give the wine the flavour the winemakers are looking for, they may add sugar to sweeten the deal. Sugar may also be added to sparking wine to encourage the fermentation (or bubble-making) process.


Frozen Entrees

Again, these frozen entrees are often known to be high in sodium/ salt, but many of them may also have added sugar. This seems to be more likely for the low calorie frozen dinners. In many cases, the sugar is added to the sauces used in the meal, but in other cases it may be listed on its own to make the meal extra tastey for consumers.


Imitation Crab

I thought this was kind of a strange place to find sugar! But I guess its not too surprising since this is already a fish imposing as crab by being processed and coloured. Another one in the seafood category to watch out for is the flavoured tuna cans, which use sugar as a key flavouring ingredient.


Low Fat Salad Dressings

While removing the fat, unfortunately its common to add some other extras like sugar and/or salt for flavour. I opt to make my own dressings, it can be so quick to make an oil and vinegar dressing! One of my favourites is olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard: I always add 2 parts vinegar to 1 part oil to lower the fat an calories.


Baked Beans

You may be surprised to hear that opting to buy beans in tomato sauce rather than brown sugar baked beans doesn't save you from added sugar. The tomato sauces used in the canned beans is loaded with sugar.



Even in making homemade breads, sugar is usually listed an ingredient; so commercial breads aren't much different. You may also find sugar on the ingredient list of crackers, tortillas and pitas. What you may not know, is that you can make homemade breads without sugar. There are now several commercial breads out there now without sugar added.


Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are naturally very sweet, and full of natural sugars from the fruits they are dried from. For added flavour, companies may add sugar to these dried fruit (for example, craisins).



Mayonnaise and Miracle whip both add sugar to their ingredient's lists: both regular and low fat varieties. I always remind clients that spreads like this are "fun extras" for flavour, so use sparingly or maybe see if you can find an alternative or homemade option you enjoy just as much!


Juice Bar Smoothies

I had to add this one to the list, because I was blown away by what I found. I took a look specifically at Booster Juice's nutrition information. "The Original" smoothie has 38g of sugar in the 355 mL size: thats equivalent to almost 10 tsp of sugar and the same sugar content as a 355mL bottle of coca cola. From what I can gather, there isn't any sugar added to the fruits in this smoothie, and they don't add sugar to their yogurt either. There are other smoothies on the menu that do use vanilla frozen yogurt which would definitely increase the sugar and fat content. So, all the sugar in this drink is natural from fruit. But unfortunately, our bodies can't tell the difference between a sugar entering our bodies from a natural or added source: so avoiding sugar rushes from either are a good idea. I'd suggest sharing our Booster Juice with a friend!