Sugar shock: Check before you pick up cereals, biscuits or juices

There are plenty of foods that, unknown to us, are loaded with sugar.

By Kejal Sheth

Most parents these days have no idea how much sugar their child is actually consuming. Many foods such as dates, mangoes, milk are high in sugar, but when consumed in the form of whole foods, the sugar is released slowly. The problem arises when the source of sugar is a processed product, which is devoid of other vital nutrients and serves only as an empty calorie. Refined sugar, which is added to beverages and desserts, is not a dietary requirement, but meant to enhance flavour and is definitely addictive.

Hunt for hidden sugar

There are plenty of foods that, unknown to us, are loaded with sugar.

Breakfast cereals

They have gained good repute for being high fibre, iron enriched wholesome meals. But you would be surprised when you flip the packet to discover how much sugar/ sugar substitutes they actually contain.

Also Read: Your baby’s diet plan, from birth to 12 months

Dried/canned fruits

Well, eating fruits has always been encouraged, but the addition of dried fruits to your diet can ramp up the sugar content. Dried fruits are low in moisture, which increases sugar by volume. Also, they are sugar coated to increase their shelf life.


Unfortunately, one of the most widely consumed accompaniments turns out to be loaded with sugar and preservatives, probably which is why it is highly addictive. A teaspoon of ketchup contains nearly 4 gm of free sugar.


These innocuous biscuits, packed with a long list of health benefits, could be a sneaky culprit to your sincere efforts. A much healthier version could be homemade granola bars.

Fruit juices

Another health fad, fruit juices have quick absorbing sugars and zero fibre content. The commercial fruit juices have added sugars in some form or another and thus label reading is important.


Be it white or brown, this new staple food surely needs to be moderated in the diet. On an average, two slices of bread contain nearly 6-7 gm of sugar and to top that, added sauces worsen the scenario.

How can you keep a check on the sugar intake?

1. Read the food labels. Although reading labels can be complicated, look out for these words in the ingredient list-high fructose corn syrup, malt sugar, agave nectar, cane sugar, maltose, dextrose, fructose, maltodextrin, sorbitol, aspartame, etc.

2. Pay attention to ingredients such as fruit puree and concentrate. They are free sugars just in disguise.

3. Serve desserts in smaller portion sizes. This can be achieved by using smaller bowls and cups.

4. Do not use sweets and chocolates as a reward. Rather buy the children a toy, book, plan family outings, small treks, cycling tours or swimming sessions with your kids.

5. Avoid processed foods. The more control you have over what your child eats, better. Treats can be occasional as life is a balance of both.

6. No sugary drinks. Drinking empty calories is as bad as eating them. Ditch the soda and fizzy drinks.

(The writer is a nutritionist, weight management expert and founder of

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