These side-by-side photos show which 'healthy' foods actually contain more sugar than junk food
The INSIDER Summary:
A personal trainer recently revealed that people’s favorite “healthy” foods can contain more sugar than “unhealthy” foods.
He posted comparison photos of everything from yogurt and doughnuts to orange juice and chocolate.
Although sugar content is relevant, other nutrition factors should also be considered when comparing foods.
It’s a well-known fact that’s worth repeating: Eating too much sugar can do some serious damage to your body. But cutting down on obvious sugar-laden treats, like candy and confections, is only step one. It turns out some of your favorite “healthy” foods have more sugar than you think.
Australian-based personal trainer Chris Duncan recently posted comparison photos on Instagram to show how deceiving certain foods can be when it comes to sugar. In the photo, he compared the sugar content of the “highly demonized” Krispy Kreme doughnut with a Chobani Greek yogurt. The blueberry flavored yogurt has more than 16 grams of sugar compared to the doughnut which has 12.3 grams.
A post shared by Chris Duncan (@chrisduncanfitness)Aug 3, 2017 at 2:22am PDT
“Most people assume that all yogurt [sic] is healthy. But that common misconception is causing people to ingest a lot more sugar than they bargained for,” Duncan wrote in the caption. “It’s very easy to assume you’re doing the right thing by opting for a ‘healthy’ yogurt, but in reality they could be bumping your sugar intake up significantly,” he wrote. He admitted that he used to eat about three of these yogurts per day and “wouldn’t think twice.”
A post shared by Chris Duncan (@chrisduncanfitness)May 20, 2017 at 3:27pm PDT
The post has received more than 2,000 comments from people surprised by the results, many of whom tagged other users to spread the word. A few commenters, however, pointed out that the quality and nutritional value of yogurt compared to doughnuts is significant, sugar content aside.
“But is natural fructose sugar from fruit much better than refined sugar,” one person asked. “Not a good comparison. Yes, yogurt may have sugar, but it also has vitamin D, which is essential for bones, probiotics, which are essential for a healthy gut, and higher protein than donuts, which is essential for muscles,” another person commented.
Duncan is aware that there is more to the nutritional value of food than just sugar. “Of course, there are other nutritional factors to consider so I’m NOT suggesting you eat doughnuts instead of yogurt,” he wrote in the caption. Similarly, in a post where he compared a popular Australian smoothie to Coca-Cola, he explained the impact of marketing on our food choices.
A post shared by Chris Duncan (@chrisduncanfitness)May 17, 2017 at 3:09am PDT
Duncan told INSIDER that he created the posts because he was shocked by the amount of sugar in the foods he ate. He hopes is that these posts will make people more aware of hidden sugars.
“For example, a fruit smoothie is definitely healthier and much more nutritious than a bottle of soft drink, right? But does that mean you should just go to town on fruit smoothies and not factor in the sugar it contains? Probably not,” he told INSIDER. “So just being aware of sugar is the key, and with that you can make the food choices that work best for you.”
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Media Expert Lisa DeFazio told INSIDER that these posts are great for their shock value and getting people to read food labels, but advised people to stick with advice from medical professionals who have credentials.
She also reiterated a point that one commenter brought up — there are definitely more health benefits in yogurt than in a doughnut. DeFazio also noted that the yogurt has both milk and fruit — two things that naturally have sugar. “It is better to eat an orange than drink the orange juice because of the fiber and you’ll get a lot less sugar,” she said. “But I think to an extent everyone has gone a little overboard with the sugar thing.”
She continued to say that doesn’t mean to go and drink lots of soda and eat candy, but that expecting things to have only one or two grams of sugar is unrealistic.
“Per meal, keep[ing] it around 10 or 15 grams of sugar or less would be reasonable,” she said. The low-calorie sugar-free substitutes are often filled with artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, which DeFazio said can cause gastrointestinal issues. The bottom line, according to DeFazio, is to look at the ingredients and not just the sugar grams.
Not all sugar is created equal. Although some people attempt to cut sugar from their diet, the more realistic approach to healthy eating is to simply be aware of how much sugar you’re eating and consider other nutrition concerns such as the quality of ingredients. Make the best decision you can based on your goals, health priorities, and your taste buds.