The processed food industry has made it extremely difficult for parents to tell whether foods are healthy or not. Ingredients are hard to decipher from their chemical names and misleading advertising may lead us to think that certain foods are healthy when they’re actually sugar bombs. Sugar is addictive and when it’s consumed regularly in large amounts, it can lead to major health and dental problems. Here are a couple of processed nightmares that we find in everyday foods!
What’s not to love about a good barbecue? Well, judging from the nutritional content, it’s the sugar. Ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and grilled chicken are often slathered in barbecue sauce, which is made from a mixture of ketchup, vinegar, and molasses or sugar. In fact, most BBQ sauces can have a sugar content as high as 10 grams per serving. That’s the equivalent of almost two and a half packets of sugar!
Granola bars are often marketed as healthy, natural snacks, but many of them are actually just candy bars in disguise. Most granola is made from rolled oats, puffed rice, and nuts coated in honey or brown sugar. When granola needs to be packed into a bar, it probably contains way more sugar than it normally would in its crumbly form because it has to stick together with sugar. When shopping for a snack bar, look for those with at least less than 35% calories from sugar. Sugary granola can easily get stuck in the teeth and cause cavities.
One of the biggest surprises in our list of sneaky sugar foods is dried fruit. The problem with dried fruit is that most brands add extra sugar to the product to preserve and sweeten it. Raisins, dates, cranberries and even dried bananas are sweet and sticky, the perfect recipe for disaster. Read the nutritional facts, so you’re properly educated about what you’re eating. Dried fruit is nature’s candy – best eaten in moderation.
Smoothies are just blended fruit. What could possibly go wrong?? Made the correct way with whole fruits and vegetables, along with unsweetened Greek yogurt, a smoothie can be a terrific choice. However, many smoothie bars will often add corn syrup or artificial sweeteners to the mixer. If you don’t want to give up your favorite post-workout treat, ask for for a nutritional guide at your local smoothie shop, so you can make healthy adjustments. Try to avoid fruit juices that are generally all sugar and no fiber. And if you’re not sure, feel free to ask exactly what your barista puts in your drink!
Tracking exactly goes what into your food can be a daunting task. A great rule of thumb is to read labels whenever possible and memorize all the various names for sugar. Dextrose, corn sweetener, high –fructose corn syrup, fructose, maltose, sorghum and evaporated cane juice are all common names for sweeteners used in foods that are seemingly healthy. Even regular foods like bread and fruit are full of natural starches and sugars that can be bad for your teeth.
Besides brushing and flossing daily, one of the greatest things you can do for your teeth is to limit your sugar intake. Bacteria feed on sugar to create acids that destroy your teeth, so when you cut off sugar, there’s nothing for bacteria to work with! For more information, visit your pediatric dentist at Kids Healthy Teeth, and we’ll help you and your child achieve a healthy and happy smile for many years to come.