LifeFoodPortion Control 101: 15 Surprising Everyday Foods That Are Loaded With Sugar

Portion Control 101: 15 Surprising Everyday Foods That Are Loaded With Sugar

Portion control means choosing a healthy amount of a certain food. Portion control helps you get the benefits of the nutrients in the food without overeating. Portion control is important because it helps you to digest food easily and reach or maintain a healthy weight. It’s all part of the process of controlling what foods you’re eating with clean eating. Obesity is a growing epidemic, as more people than ever are struggling to control their weight. Increased portion sizes are thought to contribute to overeating and unwanted weight gain. 

When you start your portion control journey, you need to know what kinds of food you are eating and how to consume them. Adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes). Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (6 sugar cubes). Read this list of 15 food items that you didn’t know are loaded with sugar and choose what’s best for you!

5 Tricks To Eating Healthy Using Portion Control

There are a ton of trendy diets, supplements and products that claim to boost your health and promise to help you reach your fitness goals. But most of them are just marketing gimmicks aimed to promote weight loss in the most unhealthy way possible or give you empty calories under the guise of nutrition. One of the most trusted ways of maintaining your health, losing weight or gaining strength is to practise portion control. 

TC46 connected with Senior Nutrition Therapist Minal Shah from Fortis Hospital, Mumbai to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about portion control. Here, she shares tricks and tips to exercise portion control in the right manner.

1. Eat Smaller Portions

Eating smaller size re-sets the appetite and satiety to a lesser intake if the diet plan is followed over a period. Portion control helps reduce the actual quantity of food consumed. The food choices must be made wisely to achieve calorie control. For example, nuts are calorie-dense and high in fat, with right portion control including nuts ensures a good source of healthy fats without exceeding the calorie intake. Another example can be of banana and elaichi banana, the simplest difference between the two is the size of the fruit. Since elaichi banana is practically half of the regular banana it kind of fits the portion control for calorie control target. 

2. Maintain Ratio Of Carbohydrates, Proteins And Fats

Carbohydrates would measure up to one-quarter of the plate, protein another quarter of the plate, fats would be the tip of a finger and half of the plate should be filled with vegetables. Carbohydrates should be complex carbohydrates. 

3. Choose Specific Dinnerware/Serve

Opting for a smaller dinnerware makes a smaller portion size look filling. If a bigger dinner plate is used, the quantity of food accommodated in the plate exceeds the portion, people tend to eat more with larger plates. Using a tall thin glass instead of a regular glass also helps restrict the number of beverages and provides satiety.

4. Avoid Direct Consumption From Packages

If one eats directly from the package portion control is lost. One easily exceeds the quantity of food consumed. Portioning food from the package in a serving bowl ensures quantity control. One should also ensure that second or third serving should be avoided for the same.  

5. Do Portion Control In The Right Way

  • A way to check the portion size without any measuring tools is by using your hand. A palm-sized serving for proteins, a fist or two fist-sized serving for vegetables, a cupped hand portion of carbohydrates, a thumb-sized serving of fat
  • When eating out, one can either ask for a smaller serving or eat what is required and take the rest as takeaway
  • It is not necessary to finish whatever one has on the plate even though according to Indian culture, it is said to be disrespectful to waste food. You could simply start with taking small portions into your plate and taking more only if you’re still hungry
  • Eat slow and avoid distraction to identify the signs of satiety and stop eating 
  • Identify the portion size, set a marker suitable for you and stick to the portion size by whatever means possible to ensure the best results. Find more about portion control here

15 Everyday Foods That Are Loaded With Sugar

You avoid candies and chocolates and mithai, all the foods your dentist warned you about. But what about the hidden sugars? Those are the ones straight out to get you! From your go-to marinades to your milk, you might be surprised to find out some of your everyday choices contain more sugar than a doughnut.

If you’re thinking there’s no way your favourite foods contain hidden added sugars, you’re not the only one. Whether brands trick you into thinking they don’t add sugar by using one of sugar’s 60 code names or add it to a food that doesn’t typically have much sugar in it, these shocking foods each have more of the sweet stuff than you’d expect.

1. Tomato Sauce

Store-bought tomato sauces in jars are convenient but can be sneaky sources of sugar, which is often added to cut the acidic taste of tomatoes and keep jarred sauces fresh longer. Ketchup is one of the most popular condiments worldwide, but it’s often loaded with sugar, just like Barbecue sauce. Try to be mindful of your portion size when using ketchup, and remember that a single tablespoon of ketchup contains nearly 1 teaspoon of sugar. If you have trouble finding sauces that are low in or free of added sugars, try a can of plain diced tomatoes instead. Simply drain the juices, puree, and add your own spices to make a quick sugar-free sauce and you might end up with a sauce better than any other.

2. Flavoured Yoghurt

A good breakfast gone wrong. Normally, yoghurt is one of your favourite foods for weight loss, but this product is far from flat-belly friendly. Yes, some of the sugar in this creamy breakfast comes from naturally occurring sugars from milk and fruit, but that’s not where the majority of the sweet stuff comes from. Like many other low-fat products, low-fat yoghurts have sugar added to them to enhance flavour. For example, a single cup (245 grams) of low-fat yoghurt can contain over 45 grams of sugar, which is about 11 teaspoons. It’s best to choose full fat, natural, or Greek yoghurt. Avoid yoghurt that has been sweetened with sugar.

3. Packaged Juices

Packaged juices have the potential to be flat-belly friendly. But when they’re coming straight out of a bottle and not your blender, you should probably think again. Like whole fruit, fruit juice contains some vitamins and minerals. However, despite seeming like a healthy choice, these vitamins and minerals come with a large dose of sugar and very little fibre. Many see the label, glance at the ingredients, and say, “No biggie, it’s all from fruit!” And while that may seem accurate, a closer look proves otherwise. Rather than using real blended fruit, the manufacturers use fruit juice concentrates and fruit purees to enhance their sweet sips.

4. Breakfast Cereal

Cereal is a popular, quick, and easy breakfast food. However, the cereal you choose could greatly affect your sugar consumption, especially if you eat it every day. Some breakfast cereals, particularly those marketed to children, have lots of added sugar. Some contain 12 grams or 3 teaspoons of sugar in a small 34-gram. Check the label and try choosing a high fibre cereal that doesn’t contain added sugar. Better yet, wake up a few minutes earlier and cook a quick healthy breakfast with a high protein food like eggs. Eating protein for breakfast can help you lose weight. Kick-off those extra kilos with protein-rich foods that work wonders. Find here 12 high protein foods.

5. Salad Dressings

You’ve seen it before, and you’ll see it again! Bottled salad dressings are a diet destroyer. When trying to stay slim, choosing a dressing that’s marketed to be “fat-free” or “light” is a classic rookie mistake. In order to make up for the loss of flavour provided by fat, companies pack the bottles with chemicals, sodium, and—of course—sugar. Whether it’s ketchup-based or fruit vinaigrette like raspberry, you’re getting more sugar than you would in a flat-belly-friendly dessert.

6. Barbecue Sauce

Who would’ve thought that adding a simple marinade to your chicken could cause your dinner to become as sugar-filled as your dessert! Don’t let words like “sweet” and “honey” just sneak right by. The amount of sugar in your barbecue sauce depends on the brand you choose. But regardless of the brand, you can usually expect to be consuming at least 4 to 6 grams of sugar. Just two tablespoons of BBQ sauce can contain 10 grams of sugar and in fact, around 33% of the weight of BBQ sauce may be pure sugar. 

7. Iced Tea

Green tea may be your favourite when it comes to a metabolism-boosting beverage, but not when it’s bottled iced tea! Iced tea is usually sweetened with sugar or flavoured with syrup. All of the added sugars cancel out every benefit this tea has to offer. Not to mention, antioxidant levels of bottled beverages have been measured to be considerably less than in a freshly-brewed cup. Instead, go for your own cup brewed at home to get the tummy-tightening benefits.

8. Flavoured Coffees

Flavoured coffee is a popular trend, but the amount of hidden sugar in these drinks can be staggering. You may think that “frappuccino” is a nice blend of coffee that is sure to keep you cool, but you have to admit that you’re drinking something closer to a milkshake than a fit-friendly beverage. You’re closer to having dessert. Drowning yourself in such a sugary drink is completely unnecessary; you can still get your coffee pick-me-up and treat that sweet tooth with plenty of other options. For example, try a latte instead. It still has the sweet flavoured syrups, and the addition of spices like cinnamon, but it’ll cut your sugar intake in half.

9. Packaged Pasta Sauce

It’s not unusual for pasta sauce recipes to call for a bit of sugar to bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes. But the problem arises when packaged sauces turn that bit into a ton. There will always be a bit of sugar in tomato-based pasta sauces because of the tomato itself, so don’t expect the nutrition label to boast zero grams of sugar. If added sugar is involved, it’ll usually appear as just that—sugar—so it’s pretty easy to spot. Try to opt for brands that contain fewer than seven grams of sugar per serving, because many jarred pasta sauces can fall anywhere between seven and 12 grams.

10. Granola Bars

Granola is often marketed as a low-fat health food, despite being high in both calories and sugar. Granola bars are trending all over as the perfect energy bar to munch pre-workouts. The main ingredient in granola is oats. Plain rolled oats are a well-balanced cereal containing carbs, protein, fat, and fibre. However, the oats in granola have been combined with nuts and honey or other added sweeteners, which increases the amount of sugar and calories. Not only are these bars typically lacking in satiating nutrients like fibre and protein, but certain brands will trick you into thinking they have a lot less sugar than they do.

11. Biscuits

You love munching biscuits with your morning coffee or tea but do you know that biscuits come with a lot of sugar? Yes, biscuits are packed with a lot of sugar, preservatives and food additives. These are harmful to your body. If you really can’t do without your biscuit routine, switch to whole wheat biscuits with less sugar and preservatives. Find here 5 healthy food swaps to speed up your weight loss.

12. Packaged Soups

You’ve heard that canned soup is high in sodium. But did you know it can also be chock-full of the sweet stuff? Soup isn’t a food that you generally associate with sugar. When it’s made with fresh whole ingredients, it’s a healthy choice and can be a great way to increase your vegetable consumption without much effort. The vegetables in soups have naturally occurring sugars, which are fine to eat given that they’re usually present in small amounts and alongside lots of other beneficial nutrients. However, many commercially prepared soups have a lot of added ingredients, including sugar.

13. Fruit Buns

For so many of us, the morning starts with a cup of hot milk/tea with our favourite fruit bun. This innocent looking bun is easily available everywhere and most of you think it is a very light and good breakfast option especially for people, who don’t have a lot of time to cook. It is easy to carry and consume which makes it look like a great snacking option. The 10 rupee pack has almost 60% simple carbohydrates which dramatically raise your blood sugar level. It has about 4 teaspoons of added sugar in it. This makes it extremely harmful for people who are diabetic or have PCOD/PCOS or even those who are looking to lose some weight. Find here what to eat and avoid while snacking by health coach Manasa Rajan.

14. Sports Drinks

Sports drinks can often be mistaken as a healthy choice for those who exercise. However, sports drinks are designed to hydrate and fuel trained athletes during prolonged, intense periods of exercise. For this reason, they contain high amounts of added sugars that can be quickly absorbed and used for energy. Sports drinks are therefore categorized as sugary drinks. Like soda and fruit juice, they’ve also been linked to obesity and metabolic disease. Unless you’re a marathon runner or elite athlete, you should probably just stick to water while exercising. It’s by far the best choice for most of us.

15. Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal might be the first food that comes to mind at the mention of a healthy breakfast. What could be dangerous about the whole-grain, high-fibre, heart-smart poster child of a virtuous diet? Turns out, a lot. While quick-cooking or regular oats are a good bet, the instant, microwavable packets or cups with added flavours should come with a warning sign. But many fruit-flavoured instant ones have 10-15 grams of sugar per packet. “Reduced sugar” varieties can have closer to 5 or 6 grams per packet. Better yet, add apple slices to plain instant oatmeal. It has less than 1 gram of sugar in a packet.

Key Takeaways

Next time you stock up on healthy foods for the day, keep your sugar intake in check with these tips:

  1. Eating too much sugar is bad for your health. It has been linked to an increased risk of many diseases, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
  2. Check the ingredient list. When sugar is listed as one of the first few ingredients, move on to the next product.
  3. Don’t let the serving size fool you. It’s all well and good when there are only 8 grams of sugar per 1/4 cup, but be real with yourself, can you only eat 1/4 cup?
  4. Make it yourself. When you can, whip it up at home so you can control how much sugar is going into your batch.
  5. Live a little and enjoy your favourite foods in moderation. When you know you can’t live without your favourite sugar-filled granola, it’s OK to dive in every once in a while

Many people are now trying to minimize their sugar intake, but it’s easy to underestimate how much you’re actually consuming. If you need to buy prepackaged food, make sure you check the label to identify any hidden added sugars, especially when buying foods from this list. Keep this list in mind and control your sugar intake!

Stay in touch

Join us to stay connected with a community of power women just like you.

Related Articles

Latest Articles

More article