5 Common Foods That Are Surprisingly High In Sugar

dried fruit

If you’ve been reading about Candida for a while, you already understand how important it is to reduce the sugar in your diet. But what you might not know is that even some ‘healthy’ food choices can contain as much sugar as a regular chocolate bar.

In today’s post I’m going to share some common foods that have a much higher sugar content than you probably realized. These are foods that are often advertised as healthy, nutritious snacks, but read the label closely and you’ll see that they are packed full of sugar. Treating your Candida successfully means eliminating all of these foods from your diet. I’m also going to recommend some low-sugar alternatives that you can eat or drink instead.

#1  Dried fruit

Raisins or dried apricots might seem like a healthy way to get a serving of fruit each day, but in reality they are extremely high in sugar. Although most brands don’t have any sugars added during manufacture, the dehydration process removes most of the water content and concentrates the natural sugars found in the fruit. This means that a typical serving size of dried fruit contains much more sugar than a serving of the fresh fruit that it comes from.

As an example, one cup of grapes contains around 15 grams of sugar, whereas a cup of unsweetened raisins contains a massive 98 grams of sugar. If you’re confused about why sugar is important for Candida, I explain this in detail in my Ultimate Candida Diet program.

Try this instead:
If you’re looking for a tasty snack that you can eat between meals, try a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes instead. You can find them in many health food stores. Or you can bake some kale chips with sea salt.

#2  Breakfast cereal

Most breakfast cereals these days make some kind of health claim on the packaging. Whether it’s a promise to lower your cholesterol, help you lose weight or improve your digestion, cereal manufacturers are quick to use your health concerns to improve their sales. However, they will never point out one of the biggest problems with breakfast cereals, which is that most of them are loaded with added sugars.

The Harvard School of Public Health looked at a typical cereal – General Mills Oatmeal Crisp Crunchy Almond. Sounds healthy, right? Even if you look on the ingredient list, the first two listed ingredients are whole grain oats and whole grain wheat. The only problem is that an incredible 27% of this cereal is added sugar. The manufacturer lists each type of added sugar separately so that none of them appear at the top of the ingredient list. Read the label carefully and you’ll find EIGHT different types of added sweetener – sugar, brown sugar, molasses, barley malt extract, corn syrup, malt syrup, honey and high fructose corn syrup.

Here is the full list of ingredients for this particular cereal, with the added sugars highlighted in bold:
Whole grain oats, whole grain wheat, brown sugar, almond pieces, sugar, crisp oats (which contain sugar), corn syrup, barley malt extract, potassium citrate, toasted oats (which contain sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and brown sugar molasses), salt, malt syrup, wheat bits (which contain sugar), honey, and cinnamon.

Try this instead:
Need some ideas for a healthy low-sugar breakfast? Try some plain, probiotic yogurt with a sprinkling of walnuts. Or make a vegetable omelet with organic eggs and some fresh vegetables.

#3  Vitamin water

Once you accept that you shouldn’t be consuming drinks with added sugars, you’ll start to look at the drinks section in your supermarket very differently! Sometimes it’s tough to find a single drink (except for bottled water) that doesn’t contain some kind of unhealthy added sweetener. This even applies to those drinks advertised as good for your health.

The various brands of ‘vitamin water’ are actually some of the worst culprits. In 2010, Coca-Cola (the manufacturer of Vitamin Water) faced a class action lawsuit. Consumers claimed that Vitamin Water was mislabeled because descriptions like ‘vitamin enhanced water beverage’ failed to mention the third largest ingredient (sugar).

In fact, a bottle of vitamin water contains around 33 grams of sugar, almost the same as a can of regular Coke.

Try this instead:
Skip past the drinks with the fancy packaging and pick up a bottle of plain old water. It is much healthier for you, will probably keep you hydrated more effectively, and might even contain some minerals and other nutrients that your body sorely needs. You could also bring out a flask of homemade ginger or dandelion tea.

#4  Granola bars

You’ll probably be surprised how much sugar your regular granola bar contains. Manufacturers certainly don’t advertise it. Often the list of ingredients is hidden under a flap of the packaging, and in such small print that it’s extremely difficult to read.

The Nature Valley brand makes some of the healthier granola bars on the market, but their ‘Oats n Honey’ bars still list sugar, honey and brown sugar syrup in the ingredients. One pack contains 12 grams of sugar.

Try this instead:
Boil a couple of eggs and bring them out with you in a Ziploc bag. For a little variety you can even make some deviled eggs too.

#5  Bran muffins

When you go to your local coffee shop and look at the snacks counter, you’ll probably see a bran muffin next to the regular muffins. It might look and sound healthier, but it still contains a big hit of added sugar.

A McDonald’s Non-Fat Apple Bran Muffin contains 57 grams of carbohydrates, of which 30 grams are sugars. That’s almost as much as a can of regular Coke, and definitely not what most consumers are expecting when they try to make a healthy choice.

Try this instead:
If you want to avoid sugar, you need to be really careful with any snack you buy from a fast food restaurant or coffee shop. Try baking some coconut flour bread with stevia and lemon juice, and take a slice out with you whenever you think you’ll be tempted to snack.

For comprehensive lists of foods to eat and avoid, along with lots of information on how to complete a successful Candida treatment, take a look at my new Ultimate Candida Diet program.

A 5-Step Program to Beat Candida

From Lisa Richards

If you're looking for a more comprehensive Candida treatment plan, check out Lisa Richards' new program, the Ultimate Candida Diet.

Lisa's plan is based on the latest research into Candida, and contains everything you need to know to beat your Candida overgrowth.

What the program includes
A 60-day plan to eliminate your Candida
A clear 5-step timeline
The latest research into Candida
Shopping lists you can take to the store
My 25 favorite Candida-fighting foods
A 10-part email course
Lots of tasty anti-Candida recipes
Get Relief Now


  1. Ann says

    For a “sweet” treat, is it okay to have sugar free jello? Without fruit or sugar, the sweet tooth is screaming really loud!

  2. Nancy says

    What is your feeling on “Coconut Palm Sugar.” I have been seeing a lot of this lately. It is supposed to resemble brown sugar. Is it OK for Candida diet?

    • says

      Hi Nancy! Sorry but coconut palm sugar would not be allowed on the Candida diet. It supposedly has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar, but it is comprised mostly of sucrose and so will definitely raise your blood sugar

  3. cwilson says

    great article – crazy how hard it is to find real raw vitamin rich food in this world when you are out and about. have fallen into some of these traps before so thx

  4. Emma says

    Brilliant, this website has helped me alot. Are grains like: millet and quinoa ok? Should I only be eating a certain amount of carbohydrate daily?

  5. snow says

    Is using xylitol okay? I seen it in recipes on other candida diet sites. Can you recommend something other then eggs and yogurt for breakfast? I have done eggs and veggies and yogurt and brown rice pancakes till it is coming out of my ears. My kids are beginning to whine for something else.

  6. sheree says

    Hi, does anybody know if ghee is ok to be used regularly on the candida diet?. in ayurvedic cooking it says it aids digestion (i have poor digestion) and it doesn’t contain any lactose…so should be ok for candida?

    • Toni says

      Hi Sheree,
      I am reading Beat Candida through diet book by Gill Jacobs and Joanna Kjaer, and they put Ghee in the Star foods, together with garlic, onions,daikon, fish, lemons, olive oil, linseed oil, almonds etc. It says it can be combined with olive or coconut oils for frying and sauteing. Good luck!

      • sheree says

        Thank you Toni. I must look into that book as well. I’m getting ready to start Lisa’s programme…can’t wait to get into it, but want to make sure I don’t miss out on any ‘yummy’ foods I could have had all along and didn’t 😉

  7. Kathryn Wolk says

    I have been on the strict diet since Dec. 29th and plan to end this phase on March 1st. I’ll be very happy to have a baked yam and some beans. What I want to know is whether I may begin to have, say, half an orange? I have orange trees & the Navel oranges are ready now. I never juice them except to make a salad dressing – I always eat the fruit to get the fiber, etc. This would be such a treat!

  8. Tanya says

    Thanks for all the awesome blogs and info! It is nice to be reminded every now and then what i really shouldn’t be eating as sometimes we forget and start slipping back into bad habits. Sad to hear about the Vitamin water and bran muffins though…had no idea!

  9. Ruth Ann J says

    My sweet treat of late has been tapioca made from scratch with xylitol as sweetener. Warmed in the microwave, it is the ultimate comfort dessert!

  10. Sean says

    Hello Lisa,

    I have a quick question…
    I’m about to start the stage one cleanse of the diet but i want to maintain my bodyweight (as it is already healthy).
    How can I keep myself from losing to much weight??


  11. Valerie says

    Hi Lisa,

    I’ve been following your guidelines for the candida diet since mid-January with much success, but I’m a baker. Help! It’s one thing to use sugar in baking for my clients, and I have been very good at resisting a taste, but what do I do for myself? The coconut bread is good, but what else? I’ve searched the internet for sugar free recipes, but they all seem to contain other sugars, replacing white sugar for brown sugar. . . just ridiculous! And many of the stevia recipes include other sweeteners, such as agave and honey. Any books, websites that you know of for someone who is passionate about baking? I have been gluten free for over a year now, so that is not an issue in my baking, just the sugar. Looking forward to your reply. Thank you so much for this site, it’s just great!


    • says

      Hi Valerie! You can generally use stevia in place of the other sweeteners you mention. One important thing about the Candida diet though, is that you should try to get used to eating foods that are less sweet! As you progress in the diet you can add back fruits like green apple or blueberries. And good virgin coconut oil is a great ingredient for baking as it has a naturally sweet flavor and fragrance.

  12. Naomi says

    Would Coconut Nectar be OK on the Candida Diet and / or as a low-glycemic sweetener once some sugars are reincorporated into the diet?

    • Lisa Richards says

      Hi Naomi, coconut nectar may have a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners but you should still leave it until the very end of your diet until you reintroduce it. Until then, stick to options like stevia, xylitol and erythritol that don’t affect your blood sugar.

  13. Priscilla Tafich says

    Hi!!! Thanks for all the great info in the webpage…I am doing the super strict ACD, this is my 21st day…I am loving it :) I have though read a lot of different recipes for the diet and in some cases they recommend coconut aminos, are they ok??? I also just saw the coconut vinegar…is it ok to try it?
    Please let me know..
    Thanks again!!

  14. Mery D. says

    Hi Lisa!
    I don’t like stevia for the same reason I don’t like aspartame. I avoid all added sugars AND artificial sweeteners. Stevia has 99% erythitrol which is a chemical, artificial additive too (I know you recommend it though). I have bought dried leaves of the stevia plant, organic, to be able to do your recipes. Do you know how to work with them? Thank you!

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