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Processed foods, such as ice cream, cookies, and candy, can be full of all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives. But one thing you will find in almost all processed foods is sugar. And many of these sugars are not just refined and processed, but also added to foods that did not originally contain sugar. It’s time to examine the top five foods with the most processed simple sugars.
Learn About Processed Simple Sugar
When most people hear the word sugar, they think of the granulated white stuff that we put in coffee or tea. This is not the only type of sugar out there, however. There are different types of sugar, and processed simple sugars are one of the worst. Processed simple sugars are sugars that have been stripped of all nutrients and have been highly processed. This means that all of the beneficial vitamins and minerals have been removed, and all that is left is the sweet taste. Processed simple sugars are found in a variety of foods, including soft drinks, fruit juices, candy, desserts and snacks.
Look Out for These on the Label
Processed simple sugars are sweeteners that have been refined and processed. They include white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, and others. Unlike complex carbohydrates, processed simple sugars are absorbed quickly by the body and can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. These sugars are found in many processed foods, including snacks, desserts, sodas, and sports drinks. To avoid these sugars, be sure to read the label and avoid anything that has a lot of added sweeteners.
What Foods Contain a Lot of Processed Simple Sugars
The list of top five offenders is diverse and includes everything from condiments to baked goods.
Here are the top five foods with the most processed simple sugars:
#1 Table sugar
Table sugar, or sucrose, is perhaps the most common processed simple sugar. It’s the white, granulated sugar that we use for baking and in beverages. Sucrose is made up of two simpler sugars, glucose and fructose, which are bonded together. The glucose part is what’s sweet, so table sugar is actually sweeter than most other natural sugars.
#2 Maple syrup
As you might expect, most sugary foods are high in processed simple sugars. One notable exception is maple syrup. This beloved breakfast topping is made from the sap of maple trees, which is boiled down to a sweet syrup. Unlike other added sugars, maple syrup contains some minerals and antioxidants. That said, it’s still a high-sugar food and should be consumed in moderation. The other four foods on the list are all laden with processed simple sugars: candy, soda, cookies and cakes.
Honey is one of the sneakiest sources of processed simple sugars. Because it’s a natural product, many people believe that it’s healthy. However, while honey does have some health benefits, it also contains a high amount of processed simple sugars. In fact, a tablespoon of honey contains almost as much sugar as a can of cola. So if you’re looking to cut back on processed simple sugars, be sure to avoid honey.
Dates may seem like a healthy snack option, but they’re actually one of the top five foods with the most processed simple sugars. A single date can contain up to 22 grams of sugar, which is more than an entire can of soda. While natural sugars like those found in fruit are OK in moderation, processed simple sugars can be harmful to your health. Not only can they cause cavities and weight gain, but they can also lead to chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease. So, the next time you’re looking for a healthy snack, skip the dates and go for something else instead.
While watermelon may seem like a healthy snack option, it’s actually one of the foods with the most processed simple sugars. One cup of watermelon contains about 7 grams of sugar, which is more than you’ll find in a typical can of soda. While the sugar in watermelon is naturally occurring, it’s still processed sugar that your body doesn’t need. There are plenty of other healthier snack options out there that are low in sugar and high in nutrients. If you’re looking for a refreshing summer snack, try slicing up some cucumbers, bell peppers or strawberries instead!
Get More of Your Favorite Fruits Instead
Another way to reduce your processed sugar intake is to swap out some of your favorite sugary foods for fruits. While all fruits contain some natural sugars, most are still lower in processed sugars than many processed foods. Fruits also offer a wealth of other health benefits like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Plus, they’re delicious and satisfying—perfect for when you’re craving something sweet. So next time you’re reaching for a sugary snack, try a piece of fresh fruit instead. Our favorites are mango, papaya, and pineapple, but any fruit will do!
Shop for High Quality, Non-Processed Food
The best way to avoid foods with processed simple sugars is to shop for high quality, unprocessed food. Skip the middle aisles of the grocery store where most of the processed foods are found. Instead, stick to the perimeter of the store where you’ll find fresh produce, meat, and dairy. By making this simple change, you’ll be steering clear of foods that contain a high amount of processed simple sugars. Our top picks for high quality, non-processed food? Lean protein, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.