Surprising Sugar Traps and What All The Fuss Is About

The top five foods to watch out for if you think you have an addiction to sugar or binging on sugary foods:

1. Fruit juice. A glass of apple juice contains 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar, regardless of whether it’s freshly squeezed or from a bottle…which is the same amount as in a can of soda.

2. Dried fruit in mueslis and health bars. They’re over 70% sugar!

3. Low-fat dairy. This was a surprising one to me, until I stopped eating all low-fat and non-fat dairy to switch to full fat or no dairy. When the manufacturers take out the fat, they put sugar back in to make up for the lost flavor and texture. It’s sneaky, though…this added sugar is not always listed as “sugar”; it’s often disguised with other names, such as “inulin.”

4. Packaged sauces. These often contain more sugar than chocolate sauce, particularly the tomato-based ones like Prego spaghetti sauce.

5. Many “healthy” treats, like muffins and banana breads. Also watch out for anything saying “sugar-free” that contains agave. Agave is 1 1/2 times sweeter than traditional sugar.


It’s fructose that’s the true culprit when we talk about sugar. Your body transforms table sugar into fructose (and glucose), and the sugar in fruit is also fructose. Honey’s 40% fructose and agave is up to 90%.

All forms of fructose (whether from processed foods, fruit or honey) are troublesome. Here’s why: every single molecule we stick in our mouths has a corresponding appetite hormone that, when we’ve eaten enough of said molecule, tells our brains “OK, we’re full.” Our bodies are awesome in that way; we’re designed to eat only as much as we need.

Every molecule, that is, except fructose.…

Why is that?

Back when we were cave people, sugar was both highly valuable because it provided instant energy. It was also extremely rare (a berry here and there). Thus we evolved with no fructose “full switch” in our brains, so that when we did stumble on a berry bush, we could gorge ourselves silly (and store it directly as fat for energy and survival).

While our digestive systems haven’t changed much over 100,000 years, our sugar intake certainly has. In just 150 years it’s gone from 0kg to about 60kg a year.

The way fructose is converted in our bodies means it’s not used upfront as energy, but converted directly to fat. It also becomes like a gloppy porridge in our arteries, leading to cholesterol and cancer.


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