Your “Healthy” Foods May Have Too Much Sugar & Harm Your Body

Not every food or beverage you find in health food stores is healthy. That orange and carrot juice you like to sip on could be doing more harm than good. The same goes for your “fruit on the bottom” yogurt, salad dressings, and many other “healthy” foods and drinks. Get ready to be shocked. Ready?

Takeaways at a Glance:

  • A list of hidden sugars in foods & beverages you may not even be aware of
  • How much natural & added sugars are in your “healthy” foods & drinks
  • A few of the untold number of health problems even your orange juice can inflict1
  • Tips for preparing mouthwatering foods with healthier amounts of sugar

You Read That Right: Orange Juice Can Ruin Your Health

Orange juice brands with added sugars can put you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a 2014 study. The researchers concluded that 100% pure orange juice may not increase your risk. However, a comprehensive 2008 study published in Diabetes Care warned that even 100% juice can contribute to this disease, and others, over time. 2,3

A 2013 Harvard study of whole fruits, fruit juice, and type 2 diabetes implicated more than just OJ:

“Greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas increased consumption of fruit juices has the opposite association. In addition, the associations of individual fruits are not determined by their glycemic index or glycemic load values.” 4

Verdict: OJ is guilty and is certainly not a lone wolf.

How Much Sugar is in Your “Health” Foods?

Protein Bars         

Protein bars provide a convenient way to get a lot of protein into your body with little effort. However, they often contain more added sugar than candy bars, up to 30g.

Maybe that’s fine if you’re training for a triathlon. Otherwise, check the labels. Some contain 15g-20g of protein and as little as 3g of sugar.


Some brands of “fruit on the bottom” yogurt give you about 25g (6 teaspoons) of sugar in a 6oz (170g) container, and half of that is added sugar. Yogurt brands vary, so check the labels.

Orange Juice

Even with no added sugar, a 15oz (450mL) bottle of orange juice may contain over 40g (10.5 teaspoons) of natural sugar. That’s 21.3g per 8oz serving. Compare that to 10g-15g in one orange. Orange juice does not make you feel full, so it’s easy to consume lots of calories.

Apple Juice

Processing can strip the flavor out of bottled fruit juices, and sometimes sugars need to be added in. 12oz (350mL) will likely contain about 40g (10 teaspoons) of total sugar. An apple has more nutrients plus about 20g of sugar.5


Just for comparison, a 12oz (350mL) cola may contain 40g (10 teaspoons) of sugar and fewer overall calories than apple juice. 

Canned Fruit

A 6oz (174g) can of peaches in light syrup may have almost 17g of sugar. Compare that to 13g in a can of peaches with 100% juice and 6g without added sugars or juice.6

Canned Soup

It may say “X servings of vegetables” on the can, but even the so-called healthy soups may have lots of added sugars, some of them hidden. See the “Label Readers” section below to learn how to read labels. 

The American Heart Association has recommended limits on the amount of added sugars you should consume per day:7

  • Maximum added sugars for men: 37.5g (9 teaspoons)
  • Maximum added sugars for women: 25g (6 teaspoons)

Keep in mind: Not all added sugars are equal. Fructose is the culprit that causes the most harm in added sugar. It is largely responsible for diabetes cases compared to other added sugars. Some other sugars turn into fructose in the body.8

Label Readers: Don’t Be Fooled by Hidden Sugars!

The nutrition facts label includes “total sugars.” This number includes both natural and added sugars, making it difficult to know how much of each are in your food or drink.9

To find hidden added sugars, read the ingredient list. 

Examples of hidden added sugars that can harm your health: 

  • Modified starch (corn, potato, etc)
  • Agave nectar
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Coconut sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Evaporate cane juice
  • Cane syrup
  • Coffee crystals
  • Barley malt extract
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Rice syrup

The higher up in the list, the more prominent the ingredient is.

What Now? Did We Just Ruin Your Picnic?

You can replace many pseudo-healthy foods with actual healthy foods. 

Buy plain yogurt and add some berries, cinnamon, and natural sugar-free sweeteners like stevia and monkfruit. 

Make your own salad dressings with ingredients that aren’t loaded with sugar. 

Pack organic fruit while hiking, and make your own DIY trail mix.

Dilute your 100% pure fruit juice with water or tea. 

Buy natural peanut butter with no added sugar. 

An Antioxidant-Rich Alternative to Fruit Juice

YiJia’s genius scientific research team spent five years of hard work developing a cutting-edge and vegetarian botanical beverage. They created a drink mix made with natural extracts of nearly 20 antioxidant-rich berries and natural fruits. 

The result is QualiTen, a cherished addition to YiJia’s MIRIKEL™ product line. 

Benefits of QualiTen Botanical Drink Mix:

  • Contains no added sugars
  • Prevents cell damage & inflammation
  • Macromolecule technology ensures easy absorption of nutrients into the body
  • Improves blood circulation so oxygen & nutrients travel to where you need them to be
  • Stimulates collagen production for vibrant, healthy & smooth skin
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Helps protect your brain from cognitive decline
  • Promotes mental clarity

Let Us Know What You Find in the Grocery Store or Cabinets

Now that you know the dangers of too much sugar in your “natural” and “healthy” foods, and how to read labels for hidden sugars, please look at the nutrition labels in your cabinet, or on the grocery shelf. Let us know what you discover in a comment below. 

1 Gunnars, Kris. (2017, June 4). Fruit Juice Is Just as Unhealthy as a Sugary Drink. Retrieved from
2 Xi, B., Li, S., Liu, Z., Tian, H., Yin, X., Huai, P., Tang, W., Zhou, D., & Steffen, L. M. (2014). Intake of fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one, 9(3), e93471. Retrieved from 
3 Bazzano, L. A., Li, T. Y., Joshipura, K. J., & Hu, F. B. (2008). Intake of fruit, vegetables, and fruit juices and risk of diabetes in women. Diabetes care, 31(7), 1311–1317. Retrieved from 
4 Muraki, I., Imamura, F., Manson, J. E., Hu, F. B., Willett, W. C., van Dam, R. M., & Sun, Q. (2013). Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ, 347(aug28 1), f5001–f5001. Retrieved from 
5 West, Helen. (2016, July 18). 18 Foods and Drinks That Are Surprisingly High in Sugar. Retrieved from 
6 Staff. (n.d.). Sugar in Canned Fruit: Clearing Up Confusion. Retrieved from 
7 Johnson, R. K., Appel, L. J., Brands, M., Howard, B. V., Lefevre, M., Lustig, R. H., Sacks, F., Steffen, L. M., Wylie-Rosett, J., & , . (2009). Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 120(11), 1011–1020. Retrieved from 
8 Stanhope, K. L., Schwarz, J. M., Keim, N. L., Griffen, S. C., Bremer, A. A., Graham, J. L., Hatcher, B., Cox, C. L., Dyachenko, A., Zhang, W., McGahan, J. P., Seibert, A., Krauss, R. M., Chiu, S., Schaefer, E. J., Ai, M., Otokozawa, S., Nakajima, K., Nakano, T., Beysen, C., Hellerstein, M. K., Berglund, L., & Havel, P. J. (2009). Consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages increases visceral adiposity and lipids and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese humans. The Journal of clinical investigation, 119(5), 1322–1334. Retrieved from 
9 Staff. (n.d.). Hidden in Plain Sight: Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged foods. sugarscience. University of California San Francisco. Retrieved from 
10 Hughes, Locke. (n.d.). How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body?. Retrieved from 
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