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 unhealthy, inflammatory 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, Dr Eric and I explain this in detail in our 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. In our recipes section there is a selection of healthy, low sugar snack recipes.
#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. And the recipes section of this website is a great resource for more healthy breakfast recipes.
#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 fact, Coca-Cola (the manufacturer of Vitamin Water) faced a class action lawsuit which you can read about here. Consumers claimed that Vitamin Water was mislabeled because descriptions like ‘vitamin enhanced water beverage’ failed to mention the third largest ingredient (sugar).
The reality is that 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. There are also alternatives like pumpkin seed bars or hazelnut butter bars. My recipes books contain many more healthy snack ideas.
#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.
At the time of writing, 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. And my recipe book contains a delicious zucchini muffin recipe that contains lots of healthy ingredients but still tastes amazing!
For comprehensive lists of foods to eat and avoid, along with lots of low-sugar recipes and information on how to complete a successful Candida treatment, take a look at our Ultimate Candida Diet program. It could be your first step towards better health and higher energy levels.
Beat your candida in 60 days with this detailed 5-step program
If you're looking for a more comprehensive Candida treatment plan, check out the Ultimate Candida Diet program, written by Lisa Richards and Dr Eric Wood. This plan is based on the latest research into Candida Related Complex, and contains everything you need to know to beat your Candida overgrowth.