5 Hidden Sources of Added Sugar That's Wrecking Your Weight Loss

Want to lose weight? Stop eating sugar. When we eat sugar, we hurt our weight-loss efforts in two ways:

5 Hidden Sources of Added Sugar That's Wrecking Your Weight Loss

Want to lose weight but having a hard time dropping the pounds? Sugar could be the reason. When you eat sugar, you hurt your weight-loss efforts in two ways. You send fat cells into storage mode and you stop burning fat, especially during exercise when your body is busy burning off the extra sugar you consumed.

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that elevates your blood sugar. Every time you consume sugar — or a product that contains sugar — you're not only elevating your blood sugar but you're stopping fat loss. Sugar is also in part responsible for diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cavities.

Even more, sugar makes your diet plan harder to stick to because of its addictive nature.

A key to overall health and to successful workouts is to cut sugar from your diet. But that's not so easy when you're not even aware you're consuming it! So here are the top five hidden sources of sugar that could be wrecking your diet.

Breakfast Cereal

Toasted rice flakes, for example, contain 10 grams of sugar per serving. Flavored instant oatmeal often has 16 grams of sugar per serving. Instead, go for sugar-free, high-fiber cereals or plain instant oatmeal that you flavor yourself with fruit (like blueberries or strawberries) and cinnamon.

Protein Drinks

Popular pre-packaged weight-loss drinks pack 35 grams of sugar per serving. Homemade smoothies made with skim milk can have up to 80 grams of sugar, depending on what you add in. One cup of skim milk has 11 grams of sugar. Most soy milk brands have 12 grams of sugar per serving. And when you add in juice and fresh fruit, you've made a super-sugary concoction. Instead, read the nutrition label on the store's protein shake options and choose a low-sugar item.

Yogurt and Yogurt Drinks

If your yogurt or yogurt drink isn't specifically sugar-free, it can have anywhere from 27 to 60 grams of sugar per serving. Aim for the sugar-free variety.

Dried Fruit

People tend to overeat dried fruit because they think that it's good for them. But dried fruit is not as nutritious as fresh fruit because of how it's processed — with added sugar. A 1.5-ounce box of raisins has 30 grams of sugar! Instead, grab fresh fruit like a green apple or a handful of berries.

Fruit Juice

Juice can have anywhere from 30-80 grams of sugar. Many processed juices also lack the fiber whole fruit or fresh juices provide. Drink water instead, or simply juice the fresh piece of fruit.

Be sure to read all nutrition labels for hidden sources of added sugar. Stay away from sugar and sugary products so you can optimize your weight loss and reach your health goals sooner.

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

Keep Reading Show less