By Sosan Hua, RD, CDE

Sugar is hidden in more places than you can imagine. I call sugar the ‘innocent legal drug’ because it is exactly that; sugar looks innocent but it’s deadly addictive.

Let’s explore all the foods that contain sugar (both healthy and unhealthy)


  • Fruits (all fruits)
  • Starchy/root vegetables (sweet potatoes, yam, arrowroot, taro, carrots, beets, peas
  • Legumes & beans
  • Whole grains/starches (quinoa, buckwheat, sorghum, black rice, brown rice, oatmeal)


  • White bread
  • Potato
  • Cakes
  • Pastries
  • Processed or packaged food
  • Candies
  • Cereals
  • White rice
  • Pasta/noodles
  • Ice cream


  • Condiments (Ketchup, BBQ, honey mustard, teriyaki, etc)
  • Tomato pasta sauce
  • Sushi
  • Yogurt
  • Canned soup
  • Salad dressing
  • Crackers
  • Smoothie
  • Iced tea
  • Energy drink
  • Frozen waffle, pancake
  • Protein bar/energy bar/granola bar
  • Fruit snack

The confusion lies is that not all sugars are bad for you.  Fructose, the type of natural sugar found in real foods like fruits, some vegetables is generally not something you should worry about if it is consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet.  The real problem is the added sugar to our growing supply of processed and fast foods.  The form of sugar often found in highly processed foods is high fructose corn syrup. 

Why is high fructose corn syrup so problematic?  It’s everywhere and it’s highly addictive!

It increases your risk for most common chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even cancer.  It also shows that sugar lead to microbial changes affecting your gut health and put you at higher risk for increasing inflammation. Before you buy your next packaged food, read the food label and ingredients first.

My word of advice – if you ever want something sweet, try to eat wholesome real food.  If sugar must be added to food, choose a slightly healthier version such as raw honey, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup and blackstrap molasses.


Leave a reply