Identifying Hidden Sugar in Breakfast Foods

Breakfast Cereal with Added Sugar

Breakfast got its name because you are truly “breaking your fast” - the period from dinner during which you haven't had anything to eat. It's a meal that can set the tone for the whole day; skip it and you'll be famished by 10 am. Eat a heavy breakfast and you may feel lethargic for hours. Then there's the possibility of hidden sugars, which can be a real problem if you're the sort who makes a quick stop for food on the way to work.

Some foods, although naturally sweet, also contain added sugars as made by the manufacturer or restaurant. Smoothies, for example, can be very healthy when they contain fresh fruits, vegetables and protein. If the smoothie is being made on the spot, however, you can simply ask that no sweetener be added. You might drop the sugar content significantly, as some smoothies can contain the equivalent of up to 22 teaspoons of sugar.

Beverages can be another source of hidden sugars. Lattes are one obvious place to find extra sugar – retailers know you're more likely to drink coffee that has some sweetening to take off the bitter edge. Those special syrups can contain a lot of sugar. Fruit juice sounds healthy, but many have additional sugar added. Juice should accompany a meal with some protein and fat, not substitute for breakfast.

When you're shopping in the grocery store, you probably (and we certainly hope you do) check the labels for added fats and sugars. Since all forms of sweets should be considered, this includes looking for words that don't use the term sugar but are still some form of additional sweetness, like dextrose, fructose, lactose, maltose, galactose, sucrose, ribose and saccharose. Over consumption of artificial sweeteners is not the solution you need. If a fast food breakfast product doesn't have a label, you can look it up on line to see what might be hidden in the goodies you like so well. The moral of the story? Check your breakfast choices carefully.


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