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These Are the Most Common Sources of Hidden Sugar

We’ve compiled a few common but unexpected sources of hidden sugar lurking in some of the most frequented shelves of your local supermarket. It’s worth taking a dive into your pantry to make sure none of these popular food items are slipping you an unwanted dose of added sugars – here’s what to look out for.


We don’t often put much thought into the condiments we add to our food given that they’re usually such a small part of the meal, but some sauces are so jam-packed with sugar that even a small amount can give the big junk food players like chocolate and lollies a run for their money. From tomato sauce to mayo, none of your favourites are safe. If the former is your ideal condiment, you may be surprised to learn that there’s 21 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres of Masterfoods tomato sauce, so pour sparingly over your potatoes!

Steak sauce is another sugar minefield with the popular Fountain brand packing in 49.7 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres, while the same amount of barbecue sauce has around 46 grams of the sweet stuff. While most of us aren’t chugging down 100 millilitres of sauce, the sugar content still adds up if you’re a regular dipper or spreader of condiments. Luckily, there are a number of simple recipes to make your favourite sauces sans the sugar. Mayo in particular can be made without sugar, you just need vinegar, eggs, olive oil and mustard. It tastes fresher and lighter than the supermarket stuff and there’s not a grain of hidden sugar in sight.

Protein bars

You might think protein bars are healthy given their name, but while you may find a number of nutrients in these, often fortified, there are a few other concerning ingredients you may find. These include added sugars, preservatives, colours and even artificial sugars. What’s wrong with artificial sugars, you ask? These sweeteners are hard on our digestive tracts, causing bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. Studies show these sweeteners can even lead to a dysregulated gut microbiome, which then increase your chances for inflammation and immune issues. You may also find you have difficulty regulating your appetite and battling sugar cravings when your gut is out of whack. So, if you’re looking for an energy boost, a handful of nuts with Greek yoghurt is a great way to skip out on the additives. If you’re keen for the convenience of a protein bar, be sure to check the ingredients on the back first!

Alcoholic drinks

While red wine is a good choice if you’re looking to enjoy an alcoholic beverage – in moderation! – without the sugar, other favourites like cocktails are unexpected sugar explosions. Some are brimming with more hidden sugars than juices and soft drinks, leaving many surprised to find out what some of the classic cocktails are hiding. A simple vodka and juice can set you back 13 grams of sugar in just a serve. Next time you’re out for dinner, keep a careful eye on the drinks section. If you prefer the red stuff, you’re in luck. Red wine has near negligible amounts of fructose as it gets fermented into alcohol.

Oatmeal sachets

The quick and convenient ready-mixed flavoured oatmeal sachets may look healthy – they may even be covered in marketing taglines like “all natural” and “superfood” – but under the deceptive packaging is a load of hidden sugars. If you’re an oatmeal fan, your best bet is to stick to the plain varieties of oats and add your own ingredients afterwards, including any of the following:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruit
  • Yoghurt


You won’t even notice the sugar in your savoury bread since it doesn’t even taste sweet! So, why even add it in the first place? Some bakers like to add a bit of sugar to prevent dryness, but that doesn’t explain the shocking amounts of teaspoons found in some of Australia’s favourite bread brands. That’s not all you’ll find – preservatives and hydrogenated vegetable oils are also found in highly-processed breads, and the issue with the oils is their heat sensitivity and potential to release toxic chemicals. They also contain trans fats which have been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. The fewer the ingredients in your bread, the better. Always be sure to read the packaging first – you may even consider making your own bread. Need a little inspiration? Try our gluten-free pumpkin bread – it’s so easy to make and you won’t find any preservatives here.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

Find the full recipe HERE.


  • 1 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup pumpkin pureé
  • 1/4 cup walnuts 


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 and line a standard loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir through the almond meal, arrowroot flour, baking powder, soda, spices and vanilla.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, then add to the dry ingredients along with the vinegar and puree. Mix well, making sure the batter is well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle with walnuts, pushing into the batter slightly. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean and the top is golden brown. If the top is browning too quickly, cover with a sheet of foil.
  5. Serve warm with generous lashings of butter.

It’s no secret that a sugar habit is a tough one to beat – wherever you go, sugar is there. Unlike ditching alcohol or illicit drugs, there are few places where sugar is unwelcome. From birthday parties and functions to the office pantry, Sunday markets and the supermarket. Is it any wonder that so many of us find it hard to quit the stuff? That’s why it can also help to join a program like ours – our 8-Week Program is based on accountability, support and providing the essential resources to set you up for success. We’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We’ve also got nutritionists, personal trainers and naturopaths in our team of experts, and they understand what our bodies need and how to best arm ourselves against those cravings. So, if you’ve been having a little trouble keeping that sugar addiction at bay, we’re here to help. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:

  1. 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
  2. 90+ member-only recipes.
  3. Community forums to share your journey.
  4. Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
  5. Exclusive content from our panel of experts.

So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!

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