Sugar Shockers: "Healthy" Foods High in Sugar

Virgin Mary Smoothies
Too much added sugar is a direct link to diabetes and obesity. What you may not know is that many of your "healthy" food choices are actually full of sugar. Check out our list of surprising foods high in sugar, and then swap them out for our low-sugar alternatives.

Is Sugar Bad for You?

Sugar doesn't directly harm our bodies, but it also doesn't help them, according to the American Heart Association. Added sugars bring calories and zero nutrients. The association states that the increased sugar in our diets has contributed to higher rates of obesity and diabetes. To get your sugar intake in check, keep in mind that the recommended maximum daily serving is 6 teaspoons, or about 25 grams.


Smoothies from popular smoothie chains or coffee shops can have 30-60 grams of sugar! Though fruit (which contains natural sugar) is inherent to smoothies, many stores use juice mixes instead of whole fruit to make their smoothies. This means less of the fruits' original nutrients and more added sugar.

The alternative: Our Pretty in Pink smoothie has just four ingredients: watermelon, strawberries, fresh basil, and ice. It's sweet and smooth, and with only 13 grams of sugar, it contains less than half the sugar of store-bought smoothies.


A grainy, blueberry-filled muffin looks so innocent next to a chocolaty brownie or cupcake. The sad truth is that coffee shop and bakery muffins usually contain about 30 grams of sugar.

The alternative: The bold dose of ginger in our homemade blueberry muffins adds flavor without adding sugar. Expect less than half the sugar of store-bought muffins in our healthy version.


If you stick to classic oats in a canister, oatmeal is an awesome breakfast choice. It's pretty easy to spot the sugar-loaded varieties: those with maple brown sugar, dried fruits, or streusel. Flavored oatmeals from the drive-through or coffee shop chains contain about half of your daily sugar allotment.

The alternative: Add real fruit and natural peanut butter to your oatmeal to give it a healthier flavor boost. Or try our Apple Crisp Oatmeal, which has just 7 grams of sugar.


Whether you choose full-fat or low-fat, sugar is a huge player in most yogurts. According to their nutrition information, some brands have almost 30 grams of sugar per serving.

The alternative: Making yogurt at home (with your slow cooker!) is easy as pie, and the results contain only 8 grams of sugar.

Granola Bars

Grab-and-go granola bars often contain 20 or more grams of sugar.

The alternative: Skip the extra sugar by making granola bars at home. Our recipe uses naturally sweet dried cherries and less than a teaspoon of sugar per bar.

Dried Fruit

Fruit contains natural sugars, which are much better for you than refined sugar. Still, when fruit gets dried, water is removed and the sugar becomes more concentrated. Thus, a cup of raisins has more sugar than the same amount of grapes.

The alternative: Choose raw fruit, which is naturally sweet and delicious. If dried fruit is what you crave, try our snack mix, which combines dried cherries with healthy nuts and oat cereal.

Frozen Yogurt

Depending on the brand or chain you choose, frozen yogurt can contain as much or more sugar than ice cream. Some brands hide more than 20 grams of sugar. The belief that it's healthy may cause you to eat more than you should, so do your research before you eat -- or try our alternative.

The alternative: Homemade yogurt and fresh fruit will satisfy your craving for a creamy-sweet dessert.

Fruit and Vegetable Juices

You know those bottled so-called-natural juices and 100% juice smoothies? While they may contain fruits and veggies, they can also dole out 30 or more grams of sugar.

The alternative: Make a veggie smoothie using more nonstarchy vegetables to reduce even the natural sugars. Full of juicy tomatoes, our bloody mary-inspired smoothie fllls the bill. It contains only 6 grams of sugar.

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