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14 ‘Health’ Foods Worse Than a Donut

By Olivia Tarantino

Let’s not sugarcoat it: We’re consuming way too much sugar—but it’s not just coming from junk food anymore.

Americans finally figured out that [refined] sugar is bad. How bad exactly? High consumption of the sweet stuff has been linked to health issues that range from obesity and type 2 diabetes to heart disease and stroke. And thanks to mounting consumer awareness, sales of the sugar industry’s golden child—soda—have declined so much over the past 11 years that 2016 will be the first year in recent history that the per-person consumption of “health-conscious” bottled water will surpass soft drink sales. Sorry not sorry, Coke.

Unfortunately, marketers started to pick up on the fact that people are looking for more healthy options and are now slapping misleading labels of health-centric phrases like “whole wheat,” “gluten-free,” and “low-fat” on foods that are full of as much (and many times, much more) sugar as a Dunkin Donuts sugar raised donut. (Which, for your reference, is 4 grams.)

Now you can see for yourself how much sweet stuff has been injected into these fake health foods.

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1. Whole-Grain Cereal

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey CrunchNutrition: 1 cup, 220 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (4 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 4 g protein
Sugar equivalent of: 3 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised DonutsIt’s not really shocking that cereals with the words “froot” or “chocolatey” splattered on their boxes contain added sugar, but did you know that certain “healthy,” “whole grain” cereals are equally devious? When grabbing a box off the shelf, be sure to steer clear of the three C’s: crunch, crisps, and clusters. This trio is typically code for clumps of rice held together by sugar and fat, like in these Honey (aka corn syrup and caramel color) Bunches of Oats.
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2. Dried Fruit

Ocean Spray Original CraisinsNutrition: ¼ cup, 130 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (3 g fiber, 29 g sugar), 0 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 7 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised DonutsFruit is healthy. In moderation, dried fruit can be healthy. But in many cases, these dehydrated chewy pieces of carbs might as well be candy. Not only are the natural sugars more concentrated in dried fruits than fresh, manufacturers will often coat dried fruit in even more sugar. And that’s especially the case for these craisins, as cranberries have the lowest sugar content of all fruits, which Ocean Spray took as an open invitation to inject them with as much cane sugar as seven donuts.
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3. Salad Dressing

Ken’s Steak House Fat-Free Sun-Dried Tomato VinaigretteNutrition: 2 tbsp, 70 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 260 mg sodium, 16 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 12 g sugar
Sugar Equivalent of: 3 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised DonutsThey might be marketed as “light” and “fat-free,” but these salad dressings are loaded with salt and sugar to compensate for the lost flavor when companies cut out the fat. Both ketchup-based dressings—like French, Russian, and Thousand Island—as well as fruity vinaigrettes like pomegranate, raspberry, and even Ken’s sun-dried tomato, will typically include more added sugar than you might assume. Like, three donuts in only two tablespoons more than you’d assume.
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4. Fruit Yogurt

Yoplait Thick & Creamy Peaches ‘n CreamNutrition: 1 container, 180 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 110 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (0 g fiber, 28 g sugar) 7 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 7 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised DonutsYes, some of the sugar in dairy yogurts is naturally-occurring in the form of lactose, but it’s the added sugar typical of fruit yogurts that you need to watch out for. While many fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts can attribute some of those extra sugars to real fruit pieces, Yoplait can’t make the same claim for this Peaches ‘n Cream flavor. The peach is just “natural flavor,” food coloring, and sugar.
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5. Fruit Juice

Langers Mango NectarNutrition: 1 cup, 140 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (0 g fiber, 35 g sugar), 0 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 9 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised DonutsJust because fruit is healthy doesn’t make fruit juice a waist-friendly pick. And labels that claim “made from real fruit” doesn’t mean much, other than the fact that at some point at least one slice of fruit came in contact with this concoction. This one from Langers is mostly filtered water, with some mango puree, citric acid, natural flavor, and lots and lots of sugar. Be wary of juice “cocktails,” which is code for “loaded with sugar.” Look for juices that are 100 perfect fruit juice, or, better yet, whip up one of the Best Detox for Fat Burning and Weight Loss.
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6. Granola

Organic Gemini TigerNut Raw Granola: Banana CacaoNutrition: 2 oz, 330 calories, 14 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 56 g carbs (14 g fiber, 37 g sugar), 5 g protein Sugar Equivalent of: 9 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

Just because granola is usually paired with breakfast’s new golden child, yogurt, doesn’t mean it belongs in the picture of good health—especially this concoction. Granola is usually clumps of rolled oats stuck together with caramelized sugars, but Organic Gemini’s seems to be clumps of sugar disrupted by pieces of tiger nuts. Steer clear.

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7. “Skinny” Ice Creams

Skinny Cow Vanilla Caramel ConeNutrition: 1 cone, 160 calories, 3.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (2 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 4 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 4 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised DonutsIt’s easy to think that ice creams that market themselves as “skinny” are the way to go if you don’t want to end up looking like a cow. Especially since many ice creams are loaded with saturated fats. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t light ice cream—it’s eating moderate portions of the normal stuff. “Skinny” ice cream is loaded with inflammatory oils, sweeteners, and chemicals to give it taste without all the added calories.


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