The Best Sugar-Saving Supermarket Swaps

Lose weight and stay healthy by filling your cart with these sugar-smart alternatives to your favorite foods.

December 5, 2013
Reduce sugar intake: woman drinking juice pic
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Sugar is increasingly being touted as public enemy number one. Why? We’re gobbling the sweet stuff in record numbers, and it’s wreaking havoc on our waistlines and health, contributing heavily to America’s rising levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

In an effort to reduce sugar intake, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a statement in 2009 with guidelines for consuming added sugar. The recommendation? No more than 6 teaspoons (or 25 grams) of sugar per day for women, and no more than 9 teaspoons (or 37.5 grams) per day for men.

Problem is, even if you try your best to eat low-sugar foods by avoiding obviously sweet fare like soda and candy bars, excess sugar could still be weaseling its way into your diet. From the bread aisle to the freezer section, sugar is hiding on labels as “brown rice syrup,” “evaporated cane juice,” “fructose,” “high fructose corn syrup,” and more, racking up your favorite foods’ added-sugar counts. Largely because of sugar’s newfound ubiquity, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day, according to the AHA. That’s over three times the recommended amount for women!

When you consider the AHA’s recommendations, the 4 grams of sugar in your peanut butter, the 5 grams in your wheat bread, and the 22 grams in your “healthy” frozen meal (seriously!) become much more alarming. So to help you stay sugar smart as you navigate the grocery store, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest sugar bombs on supermarket shelves, along with healthier alternatives that’ll satisfy your taste buds without jacking up your blood sugar—or your jean size.

For more ways to kick your sweet habit, check out The Sugar Smart Diet by Anne Alexander, editorial director of Prevention Magazine!

yogurt swaps : Greek yogurt pic
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Yogurt Swaps

If you're not careful, you could put down your entire recommended amount of added sugar with one tiny cup of yogurt. These sugar swaps stick to natural sugars to satiate your sweet tooth without going overboard.

SUGAR BOMB
Stonyfield Organic Plain Fat-Free Yogurt (6 oz)
80 calories
12 g sugar
0 g fiber




SUGAR SMART SWAP
Siggi's Skyr
Icelandic Style Strained Non-Fat Yogurt, Plain (5.4 oz)
100 calories
4 g sugar
0 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Yoplait Original Low-Fat, Strawberry (6 oz)
170 calories
26 g sugar

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Siggi's Skyr Icelandic Style Strained 2% Yogurt, Coconut (5.4 oz)
200 calories
8 g sugar

The Best and Worst Dairy Products

Cereal swaps: bowl of cereal pic
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Cereal Swaps

The cereal aisle is a landmine of sugar bombs masquerading as healthy, whole-grain options. Read labels carefully and don't settle for a bowl that packs more than 5 grams of sugar (or more than 10 grams for fruit-filled varieties).

SUGAR BOMB
Kellogg's Cracklin' Oat Bran (1 cup)
267 calories
20 g sugar
8 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
General Mills Cheerios (1 cup)
100 calories
1 g sugar
3 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Kellogg's Low-Fat Granola with Raisins (2/3 cup)
230 calories
17 g sugar
4 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Kellogg's Special K Red Berries (1 cup)
110 calories
9 g sugar
3 g fiber

hot cereal swwaps: bowl of oatmeal pic
4/18
Mitch Mandel
Hot Cereal Swaps

Your best bet is to choose a plain variety (like Bob's Red Mill, below), then sweeten with maple syrup or fresh fruit. If you're in a pinch, though, "lower sugar" flavored packets are a decent option as well.

SUGAR BOMB
Nature's Path Organic Instant Hot Oatmeal Flax Plus (1 packet)
210 calories
10 g sugar
5 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Bob's Red Mill Organic High Fiber Hot Cereal (1/3 cup dry)
150 calories 0 g sugar
10 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Maple & Brown Sugar (1 pouch)
160 calories
12 g sugar
3 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Quaker Lower Sugar Instant Oatmeal, Maple & Brown Sugar (1 packet)
120 calories
4 g sugar
3 g fiber

Overhaul Your Oatmeal

Bread swaps: loaf of bread pic
5/18
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Bread Swaps

The amount of sugar that can eke its way into grain products is mind-boggling, especially considering how great these sugar swaps taste with little to none.

SUGAR BOMB
Arnold Whole Grains Nutty Almond (2 slices)
260 calories
10 g sugar
4 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread (2 slices)
160 calories
0 g sugar
6 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Alvarado St. Bakery Bread, Sprouted Rye Seed (2 slices)
180 calories
4 g sugar
4 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Vermont Bread Company Old Style Rye Bread (2 slices)
180 calories
0 g sugar
<2 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Arnold Brick Oven Premium White (2 slices)
180 calories
6 g sugar
<2 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Nature's Own Whitewheat (2 slices)
120 calories
3 g sugar
3 g fiber

Crackers swaps: woman eating cracker pic
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Crackers Swaps

Eating a quarter of your recommended intake of added sugar on crackersdoesn't sound very appealing to us. Scoop healthy dips with these swaps--each one is delicious without a gram of sugar.

SUGAR BOMB
Special K Multi-Grain Crackers (24 crackers)
120 calories
6 g sugar
3g fiber






SUGAR SMART SWAP
RyKrsip Natural or Multi-Grain Crackers (2 Crackers)
50 calories
0 g sugar
3 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Pepperidge Farms Cheddar Multi-Grain Cracker Chips (27 crackers)
430 calories
4 g sugar
2 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Pepperidge Farms Cheddar Goldfish Crackers (55 pieces)
140 calories
0 g sugar
<1 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Wheat Thins Zesty Salsa (15 crackers)
140 calories
5 g sugar
3 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Mary's Gone Crackers Organic Chipotle Tomato Sticks & Twigs (15 pieces)
150 calories
0 g sugar
4 g fiber

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks

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Condiment Swaps

Let your burger, dog, and pork shine--stop slathering them with unneeded sugar!

SUGAR BOMB
Heinz Tomato Ketchup (1 Tbsp)
20 calories
4 g sugar

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Heinz Reduced Sugar Tomato Ketchup (1 Tbsp)
5 calories
1 g sugar




SUGAR BOMB
Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce (2 Tbsp)
70 calories
16 g sugar

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Stubb's Bar-B-Q Sauce, Original or Spicy (2 Tbsp)
30 calories
4 g sugar

7 Condiment Swaps that Help You Lose

Pasta Sauce Swaps: pasta and sauce pic
8/18
Mitch Mandel
Pasta Sauce Swaps

With delicious, widely available alternatives on the market, there's no excuse for slurping pasta sauce laced with over 10 grams of sugar.

SUGAR BOMB
Ragu Mama's Special Garden Sauce (1/2 cup)
90 calories
11 grams sugar

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Cucina Antica Garlic Marinara (1/2 cup)
40 calories
1 g sugar
1 g fiber

 

SUGAR BOMB
Bertolli Vineyard Premium Collections Marinara with Burgundy Wine (1/2 cup)
90 calories
12 grams sugar
<1 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Rao's Homemade Vodka Sauce (1/2 cup)
80 calories
4 g sugar
1 g fiber

Asian Sauce Swaps: Asian meal pic
9/18
Mitch Mandel
Asian Sauce Swaps

Since these sauces are often accompanied by white rice and breaded foods, it's wise to keep your sugar in check to avoid blood sugar spikes.

SUGAR BOMB
Maggi Sweet Chili Sauce (1 tsp)
35 calories
8 g sugar*
*Sugar is the first ingredient

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce (1 tsp)
0 calories
<1 g sugar


SUGAR BOMB
La Choy Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce* (1 Tbsp)
40 calories
8 g sugar
*Don't confuse this with the same brand's Stir-Fry Teriyaki Sauce & Marinade--this product has eight times as much sugar and four times as many calories per 1 tablespoon.

SUGAR SMART SWAP
La Choy Stir-Fry Teriyaki Sauce & Marinade (1 Tbsp)
10 calories
1 g sugar

Salad Dressing swaps: Salad pic
10/18
Mitch Mandel/Tom MacDonald
Salad Dressing Swaps

Nothing like a bowl of greens doused in sugar and high fructose corn syrup! Let dressing--and its sugar content--take the back seat to your fresh produce's natural sweetness.

SUGAR BOMB
Wish-Bone Light! Western Dressing (2 Tbsp)
70 calories
12 g sugar

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Ken's Lite Northern Italian Dressing (2 Tbsp)
45 calories
1 g sugar

SUGAR BOMB
Annie's Lite Poppyseed Dressing (2 Tbsp)
70 calories
9 g sugar

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Annie's Naturals Lite Herb Balsamic Dressing (2 Tbsp)
50 calories
2 g sugar

20 Dressings That Turn Salads into Fat Bombs

Nut Butter Swaps: peanut butter on bread pic
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Nut Butter Swaps

These comparisons may seems slight, but nut butters are yet another product where added sugar is unnecessary. Stick to these sugar swaps and you'll also avoid hydrogenated oils and preservatives.

SUGAR BOMB
Jif Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp)
190 calories
4 g sugar
2 g fiber





SUGAR SMART SWAP
Smucker's Organic Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp)
210 calories
1 g sugar
2 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
MaraNatha No-Stir Creamy Almond Butter (2 Tbsp)
190 calories
3 g sugar
3 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Barney Bare All Natural Almond Butter (2 Tbsp)
200 calories
1 g sugar
4 g fiber

How Peanut Butter Helps Weight Loss

Frozen meals swaps: woman in frozen foods aisle pic
12/18
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Frozen Meals Swaps

Don't tolerate added sugars in the frozen meal aisle. Save added sugars for mindful indulgences--not your chicken cutlet.

SUGAR BOMB
PF Chang's General Chang's Chicken (1 serving)
400 calories
26 g sugar
4 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Marie Callender's Comfort Bakes Savory Chicken and Rice (1 serving)
330 calories
0 g sugar
2 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Stouffer's Lean Cuisine Grilled Chicken & Penne Pasta (1 entrée)
320 calories
24 g sugar
6 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Smart Ones Slow Roasted Turkey Breast (1 serving)
200 calories
0 g sugar
2 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Lean Cuisine Ranchero Braised Beef (1 serving)
240 calories
22 g sugar
2 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Evol Fire-Grilled Steak (1 serving)
400 calories
1 g sugar
8 g fiber

4 Surprisingly Healthy Frozen Lunches

Soup Swaps: bowl of soup pic
13/18
Hector Sanchez
Soup Swaps

Some veggies have natural sugars, but your canned soups shouldn't creep past 4 grams of sugar (unless they're fully tomato-based).

SUGAR BOMB
Campbell's Slow Kettle Style Soup, Tomato & Sweet Basil Bisque (1 cup)
260 calories
22 g sugar
3 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Campbell's V8 Tomato Herb Soup (1 cup)
90 calories
12 g sugar
3 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Wolfgang Puck Organic Signature Tortilla Soup (1 cup)
140 calories
8 g sugar
6 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Progresso Light Zesty Santa Fe Style Chicken Soup (1 cup)
80 calories
1 g sugar
2 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Campbell's Chunky Healthy Request Savory Vegetable Soup (1 cup)
120 calories
8 g sugar
4 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Amy's Organic Fire Roasted Southwestern Vegetable Soup (1 cup)
140 calories
4 g sugar
4 g fiber

Granola and Energy bars swaps: granola bar pic
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Granola and Energy Bars Swaps

Bars run the sugar gamut--beware of multiple added sweeteners and ingredients you can't pronounce, as they often spell sugar trouble. Most of the sugar in these swaps come from fruit and other natural sweeteners, like honey.

SUGAR BOMB
Nature Valley Crunchy Oats 'n Honey (1 package)
190 calories
12 g sugar
2 g fiber




SUGAR SMART SWAP
Kashi Honey Almond Flax Chewy Granola Bar (1 bar)
140 calories
5 g sugar
4 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Odwalla Bar, Banana Nut (1 bar)
220 calories
17 g sugar
5 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Gnu Foods Flavor & Fiber Banana Walnut Bar (1 bar)
140 calories
8 g sugars
12 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
PowerBar Performance Energy Bar, Vanilla Crisp (1 bar)
240 calories
26 g sugar
1 g fiber
8 g protein

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Pure Protein Blueberry Crumb Cake Bar (1 bar)
190 calories
2 g sugar
1 g fiber
18 g protein

4 Energy Bars You Need to Try

Ice Cream Swaps: Bowl of ice cream pic
15/18
Jupiter Media
Ice Cream Swaps

You won't find many sugar saints in the ice cream aisle, but these swaps offer more reasonable counts to keep your indulgences sugar smart.

SUGAR BOMB
Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Peppermint Crunch (1/2 cup)
290 calories
28 g sugar
2 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Edy's Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip (1/2 cup)
120 calories
13 g sugar
0 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Graeters Chocolate Chocolate Chip (1/2 cup)
300 calories
30 g sugar
0 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Edy's Slow Churned Chocolate (1/2 cup)
100 calories
13 g sugar
1 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Haagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche (1/2 cup)
270 calories
27 g sugar
0 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Turkey Hill Light Recipe Moose Tracks (1/2 cup)
140 calories
15 g sugar
1 g fiber

Cookies Swaps: cookies on napkin pic
16/18
Mitch Mandel
Cookies Swaps

Baking your own cookies keeps sugar counts in check, but these packaged swaps stay within a reasonable range for a sweet snack.

SUGAR BOMB
Mrs. Fields Cookies, Triple Chocolate (1 cookie)
210 calories
19 g sugar
1 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Nabisco Chips Ahoy! Chewy Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal (2 cookies)
140 calories
9 g sugar
1 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Nabisco Double Stuf Oreos (2 cookies)
140 calories
13 g sugar
1 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Kashi Cookies, Chocolate Almond Butter (1 cookie)
130 calories
7 g sugar
4 g fiber

SUGAR BOMB
Pepperidge Farm Soft Baked Cookies, Santa Cruz Oatmeal Raisin (1 cookie)
130 calories
13 g sugar
2 g fiber

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Tate's Bake Shop All Natural Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (1 cookie)
70 calories
6 g sugar
<1 g fiber

10 Sinfully Bad Supermarket Cookies

Juice swaps: girl drinking juice pic
17/18
Thinkstock
Juice Swaps

SUGAR BOMB
Simply Lemonade (1 cup)
120 calories
28 g sugar

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Lakewood Organic Lemonade (1 cup)
80 calories
16 g sugar*
*Sweetened with grape juice, not sugar or artificial sweeteners.

SUGAR BOMB
SunnyD Tangy Original (1 cup)
120 calories
27 g sugar


SUGAR SMART SWAP
Tropicana Trop 50 Some Pulp Orange Juice (1 cup)
50 calories
10 g sugar

SUGAR BOMB
V8 V-Fusion Peach Mango (1 cup)
120 calories
26 g sugar

SUGAR SMART SWAP
V8 V-Fusion + Tea Pineapple Mango Green Tea (1 cup)
50 calories
10 g sugar

Unhealthiest Juices in America

Bottled tea swaps: tea bottles pic
18/18
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Bottled Tea Swaps

SUGAR BOMB
Lipton Green Tea with Citrus (1 bottle, 20 fl. oz)
180 calories
46 g sugar

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Honest Tea Jasmine Green Energy Tea (1 bottle, 16 fl. oz)
34 calories
10 g sugar

SUGAR BOMB
Snapple Green Tea (1 bottle, 16 fl. oz)
120 calories
30 g sugar


SUGAR SMART SWAP

ITO EN Oi Ocha Unsweetened Green Tea (1 bottle, 16.9 fl. oz)
0 calories
0 g sugar

SUGAR BOMB
Lemon Nantucket Nectars Half and Half (1 bottle, 17.5 fl. oz)
190 calories
46 g sugar

SUGAR SMART SWAP
Sweet Leaf Unsweet Tea, Lemon & Lime (1 bottle, 16 fl. oz)
0 calories
0 sugar

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