You asked for more surprising products with “More Sugar Than You Think” …so here they are! Below is a list of 8 organic items that would add up fast, sugar-wise. To see why I have an issue with so much sugar and to also find out the difference between naturally occurring, added, and artificial sweeteners (big difference!) be sure to check out my first post in this series.
But just to quickly recap, here is the recommended daily allowance of sugar, and also at the bottom of this post I’ve shared a chart that shows you how I calculated the number of teaspoons in the products below.
The American Heart Association’s recommended daily allowance of sugar:
- 3 teaspoons of added sugar for children
- 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women
- 9 teaspoons of added sugar for men
1. Organic Bunny Grahams
These seem like an innocent little snack that your kids will surely love, but before you know it they’ve gobbled up more than half of their recommended daily allowance of sugar for the entire day. The moral of this story is once again that things add up fast. I am not saying don’t eat this product, it’s just that I personally believe any products containing added, refined sugar should be looked at as more of a special “treat” than an everyday “snack.” –
2. Organic BBQ Sauce
There’s no question that BBQ Sauce is good stuff, but when a mere 2 tablespoons is more than a third of your recommended daily allowance (for a woman) it’s important to be cognizant of how much you consume – and how often. Once again I like to treat any products with added, refined sugar as a special occasion food. Oh and in case you’re wondering, even with this sauce being organic I’d still prefer to make my own from scratch using honey or maple syrup instead of agave. –
3. Organic Tea
Tea can be a fabulous (and even a medicinal) drink for you, but when it’s bogged down with so much added, refined sugar it could possibly counteract all those benefits. And let’s remember, a serving size is only half the bottle! I say buy plain tea and sweeten it yourself with honey (or sugar, just less of it, of course). –
4. Organic Cookies
Just because the cookies are “organic” doesn’t mean they aren’t junk food! I would certainly choose these over conventional packaged cookies (since the ingredients are free of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers), but no matter how you look at it I would still very much consider this a dessert! –
5. Organic Clif Z Bars
This is another one of those that looks like an innocent organic snack but would quickly “eat up” your child’s entire daily allowance of added sugar. When it comes to bars I personally love the fruit and nut variety (like Lara Bar or Kit’s Organic) that are made with only 2 or 3 whole ingredients and use the dried fruit to add sweetness instead of added, refined sugar. –
6. Organic Boxed Granola Cereal
I used to buy this cereal exclusively before we cut out all highly processed food, but then I tried making homemade granola for the first time and have never looked back. What I like better about the homemade version is that it contains more oats and nuts than it does sweetener …not to mention I use a natural sweetener (honey) when making it. Now of course “sugar is sugar” (honey included), but many of the boxed versions list refined sugar as the first ingredient (and what it contains the most of) so homemade is definitely a step in the right direction!–
7. Organic Toaster Pastries
Sure these are a step up from Pop Tarts, but they are still not what I would recommend for a balanced breakfast (or snack)! There’s no way to know at this time how much of the 4 1/2 teaspoons is added sugar versus naturally occurring sugar (from the fruit), but take one look at all that icing and sprinkles on top and you’ll know the answer is probably not a good one. How about some fresh berries (and maybe whole-grain toast) for breakfast instead?
8. Organic Soda
One last time …just because the soda is organic doesn’t mean it’s good for you! Point made, right? :)
As promised, here is a printable Sugar Conversion Chart to help you figure out how many teaspoons of sugar are in your foods. Just remember there’s a difference between added sugar and naturally occurring sugar – check out my post that explains the difference and why one is bad and one is not. I tried to pick products that I thought contained mostly added sugar for this exercise. (click image for printable version)
Were you surprised by any of these examples? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
71 thoughts on “8 Organic Products with More Sugar Than You Think!”
With so many schools being nut free, especially in the classroom, what kind of bars are considered healthy? I want something with protein and does not need to be refrigerated for their snack. Any ideas?? Thanks
Hi there. This will help: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2015/07/29/snack-bars-real-food-or-really-unhealthy/.
I am wondering about foods like Lara bars that have 15 -18 g of sugar. Do these not count because the sugar is coming from a natural source in the dates?
Hi there Jody. Well, it still counts as sugars you are consuming but not as added sugars.
None of this surprised me. Sugar is omnipresent and addictive…and requires diligence to avoid it.
My daughter has a peanut/ tree nut allergy what is a good granola bar alternative? Low sugar varieties are hard to find without nuts.
Hi Cheryl. I am not sure what to suggest commercially but this will help with some homemade options: http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2013/09/20-healthy-back-to-school-recipes-nut-free-gluten-free-low-sugar.html. ~Amy
I buy Kind brand Oats & Honey bars as a nut-free sometimes option. They do have (non-GMO) canola oil and a couple other things that aren’t ideal “real” food and they have 7g (1 3/4 tsp) sugar.
They are made in a facilty that uses peanuts and tree nuts, so depending on the allergy, they may not work.
Hi there. I would say watered down 100% juice or the sparkling sodas that are juice and water, like Izze, is a decent sub. Check with his doctor first. :)
I definitely love these posts especially about the organic not necessarily being “good” for you. One thing I would like your opinion on is – my husband is a type one diabetic and he often needs sugar if his sugars are low. He often just drinks some Gatorade because of the fast acting sugar results (which I know is often looked at as negative but in his case, he needs the sugar). Anyway, what do you think are some of the best options for a higher sugar drink? I really want to replace the Gatorade with something better for him but honestly it’s the easiest in a pinch especially since it comes in powder form. I haven’t been able to find a good substitute-thought?
I have a couple of friends who are type 1 and they say to just put a bit of real sugar in a glass of water – it sounds bad…but, if they need the sugar this is a good way to get it in without all of the other crap. :) Another thing they do is a piece of candy…again, not great…but, you gotta get the sugar in. Good luck.
My husband is T1 as well. He keeps organic GoGo SqueeZ or Plum Organics pouches in his car, in the fridge, etc. for emergencies. Might be for children but they are absorbed pretty quickly into his blood sugar and nicely portable. Good luck, I know it’s a struggle.
what do you think of the KIND brand bars? Just the simple fruit and nut version?
Hi Sarah. I am a fan of kind bars. They aren’t perfect but they are far better than most and are fairly low in sugar.
I wasn’t really that surprised by this list as I have found that just because the box says “organic” doesn’t mean good for you…watch that Organic Sugar!
However, I have another take on the z-bars. I include them in my kid’s lunches pretty much everyday…however, we are fairly new to whole foods and my kids are making huge changes in their diets and making much healthier choices over all. The Z-bars are WAY better than what they had before, so even though they have added sugar, I will continue giving them for now…Aside from the Z-bars they take fresh fruit, Sandwich/grain (whole food versions), and water. sometimes adding in veggies or olives.
Agreed. Organic doesn’t mean no sugar. I’m not very surprised by these examples since they’re all processed foods…
Thank you for posting this. I used to give my daughter those clif bars every day. The amount of sugar in those is ridiculous! Needless to say she doesn’t get those every day anymore. Maybe once a month, if that. :)
Just a friendly reminder: an organic granola bar is like eating a homemade cookie in terms of sugar. So to eat healthier we need to stop eating cookies at every meal or for in between snacks. Fruit is really your best bet but when on the road ( I’m a visiting nurse) at work or with the kids fresh fruit doesn’t always work so a jr clif or Lara bar will do.