When you hear the ingredients “sugar and wheat,” you might assume that the food being made is cookies, or maybe a cupcake but what about candy or salad dressing? Many of us would like to believe that we know what we are putting into our bodies when we eat, however the reality is many processed foods contain hidden ingredients. Here are some “food surprises” that may shock you, and encourage you to always read food labels. Your best resource for finding unwanted ingredients in foods is YOU!
Salad dressing can sometimes have hidden amounts of high fructose corn syrup, or high amounts of sugar added in. Some salad dressings also contain gluten (a general name for the proteins found in wheat).
Coke® is a liquid, but the amount of sugar dissolved into a 12 oz. coke is 39g, which is equal to over 8 teaspoons of sugar. Don’t be fooled by the liquid form of this drink and other sodas!
Twizzlers candies contain wheat. If you have wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity, stay away from these chewy candies!
Soy sauce also contains wheat and is very high in sodium. However, low sodium varieties exist and restaurants often have them if you ask!
Honey wheat bread has the word “wheat” in it, but this variety has much higher amounts of sugar than other bread varieties. As a general rule, the fewer ingredients, the better. Try to avoid breads with high fructose corn syrup!
Flavored oatmeal often has very high amounts of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. A great, easy substitute is plain oatmeal. Just add a little bit of honey and/or fresh fruit to sweeten it.
Canned beans are a great source of protein! However, the beans are often soaked in a very high-sodium solution in the can. You can rinse the beans before eating them or look for a low sodium option.
Banana chips are fruit, right? The answer is: they start out as fruit, but they are then fried in oil and coated with high fructose corn syrup. To get the most nutrients out of your snack, eat a real banana!
Yogurt varieties often can contain very high amounts of sugar, especially flavored brands. Try plain yogurt with a touch of honey and fresh fruit.
Snack crackers – Popular crackers often have added high fructose corn syrup. Look for a variety without this additive.
Keep an open mind when checking out your favorite food! Remember: the closest to the original form of a food, and the fewer ingredients, the better. What “food surprises” have you found?
– Nutrition student Elsey