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These side-by-side photos show which 'healthy' foods actually contain more sugar than junk food

INSIDER logoINSIDER 4/10/2017 Emily DiNuzzo)
Yogurt and Doughnut © Provided by Business Insider Inc Yogurt and Doughnut

It's a well-known fact that's worth repeating: Eating too much sugar can do some serious damage to your body. But cutting down on obvious sugar-laden treats, like candy and confections, is only step one. It turns out some of your favorite "healthy" foods have more sugar than you think.

Australian-based personal trainer Chris Duncan recently posted comparison photos on Instagram to show how deceiving certain foods can be when it comes to sugar. In the photo, he compared the sugar content of the "highly demonized" Krispy Kreme doughnut with a Chobani Greek yogurt. The blueberry flavored yogurt has more than 16 grams of sugar compared to the doughnut which has 12.3 grams.

🤓Most people assume that all yoghurt is healthy. But that common misconception is causing people to ingest a lot more sugar than they bargained for - 🍩Here I’ve compared the popular choice amongst a lot of gym goers – the Chobani Greek Yoghurt (blueberry version), to the highly demonized Krispy Kreme Doughnut. - ‼️Of course, there are other nutritional factors to consider so I’m NOT suggesting you eat doughnuts instead of yogurt (I’m talking to you nutrition gurus) - ➡️It's very easy to assume you’re doing the right thing by opting for a ‘healthy’ yoghurt, but in reality they could be bumping your sugar intake up significantly. I used to eat about three of these per day and wouldn’t think twice. - ✅Chobani does offer a better option though – the plain version only contains 5g of sugar, and only 2 ingredients (as opposed to 10 ingredients in the flavoured varieties) - 😎Anyway I thought this was an interesting comparison. The good news is you don't have to choose between the two. - 🙏There's no reason you can't enjoy both of these delicious sugar sources as long as you know how to work it in with the rest of your diet. - 👉Nutritional info taken directly from company's websites.

A post shared by Chris Duncan (@chrisduncanfitness) on

"Most people assume that all yogurt [sic] is healthy. But that common misconception is causing people to ingest a lot more sugar than they bargained for," Duncan wrote in the caption. "It's very easy to assume you’re doing the right thing by opting for a 'healthy' yogurt, but in reality they could be bumping your sugar intake up significantly," he wrote. He admitted that he used to eat about three of these yogurts per day and "wouldn't think twice."

🍊ORANGE JUICE VS HERSHEYS CHOCOLATE🍫 - 👵🏼‘Just have a good old glass of OJ with your breakfast pal. It comes from a fruit so it must be healthy, right?’ Not so fast guys and dolls. - 🤔Now for some reason orange juice is perceived as healthy. That’s understandable, given that it is natural (kind of) and has the word “orange” in it, and an orange is a fruit. - 🤚🏿However… what many people fail to realise is that most orange juices you'll find in shops are also LOADED with sugar. In fact, orange/fruit juice contains just as much sugar and calories as a sugary soft drink… and sometimes even more. - ✅Now orange juice does contain Vitamin C and is a decent source of folate, potassium and Vitamin B1. It also contains antioxidants. So it gets a win there over the chocolate. - ❌But calorie for calorie (or sugar gram for sugar gram), it is nutritionally poor compared to whole oranges and other plant foods like vegetables. And when compared to a Hershey’s Bar (pictured) or even a Coca Cola, it actually contains MORE sugar. - 💭Interesting huh? Something to ponder over next time you’re waiting for your toast to pop and thinking about quenching that morning thirst. - 😎Bottom Line: It's really pick your poison with these two. While orange juice contains SOME nutrients, but less compared to many plant foods. It contains zero fiber and is just as high in sugar and calories as a lot of confectionary products and also most sugar-sweetened beverages. - 🤓If you choose to drink it, either make your own or opt for the ones without the added sugar and BS ingredients.

A post shared by Chris Duncan (@chrisduncanfitness) on

The post has received more than 2,000 comments from people surprised by the results, many of whom tagged other users to spread the word. A few commenters, however, pointed out that the quality and nutritional value of yogurt compared to doughnuts is significant, sugar content aside.

"But is natural fructose sugar from fruit much better than refined sugar," one person asked. "Not a good comparison. Yes, yogurt may have sugar, but it also has vitamin D, which is essential for bones, probiotics, which are essential for a healthy gut, and higher protein than donuts, which is essential for muscles," another person commented.

Duncan is aware that there is more to the nutritional value of food than just sugar. "Of course, there are other nutritional factors to consider so I'm NOT suggesting you eat doughnuts instead of yogurt," he wrote in the caption. Similarly, in a post where he compared a popular Australian smoothie to Coca-Cola, he explained the impact of marketing on our food choices.

Duncan told INSIDER that he created the posts 

because he was shocked by the amount of sugar in the foods he ate. He hopes is that these posts will make people more aware of hidden sugars.


😳Bet you never would of thought a Boost Juice would contain more sugar than a Coke of equal size right? - 🍓For those not in Australia, Boost Juice is a smoothie/juice franchise and this smoothie in the picture is their ‘Mango Magic’ option that contains a whopping 78.5g. That’s over 15 teaspoons of sugar in a supposed ‘healthy’ drink. - 😬I used to drink these things almost every day after school and thought I was doing the right thing. Here’s the thing though, just because something is perceived or labelled as healthy, doesn’t mean you should be consuming it. - 🤓So be sure to check the ingredients instead of going in blindly, and from here you can make the best decision based on your goals, calorie targets and dietary preferences.

A post shared by Chris Duncan (@chrisduncanfitness) on

"For example, a fruit smoothie is definitely healthier and much more nutritious than a bottle of soft drink, right? But does that mean you should just go to town on fruit smoothies and not factor in the sugar it contains? Probably not," he told INSIDER. "So just being aware of sugar is the key, and with that you can make the food choices that work best for you."

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Media Expert Lisa DeFazio told INSIDER that these posts are great for their shock value and getting people to read food labels, but advised people to stick with advice from medical professionals who have credentials.

She also reiterated a point that one commenter brought up — there are definitely more health benefits in yogurt than in a doughnut. DeFazio also noted that the yogurt has both milk and fruit — two things that naturally have sugar. "It is better to eat an orange than drink the orange juice because of the fiber and you’ll get a lot less sugar," she said. "But I think to an extent everyone has gone a little overboard with the sugar thing."

She continued to say that doesn't mean to go and drink lots of soda and eat candy, but that expecting things to have only one or two grams of sugar is unrealistic.

"Per meal, keep[ing] it around 10 or 15 grams of sugar or less would be reasonable," she said. The low-calorie sugar-free substitutes are often filled with artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, which DeFazio said can cause gastrointestinal issues. The bottom line, according to DeFazio, is to look at the ingredients and not just the sugar grams.

Not all sugar is created equal. Although some people attempt to cut sugar from their diet, the more realistic approach to healthy eating is to simply be aware of how much sugar you're eating and consider other nutrition concerns such as the quality of ingredients. Make the best decision you can based on your goals, health priorities, and your taste buds.

The post has received more than 2,000 comments from people surprised by the results, many of whom tagged other users to spread the word. A few commenters, however, pointed out that the quality and nutritional value of yogurt compared to doughnuts is significant, sugar content aside. 

"But is natural fructose sugar from fruit much better than refined sugar," one person asked. "Not a good comparison. Yes, yogurt may have sugar, but it also has vitamin D, which is essential for bones, probiotics, which are essential for a healthy gut, and higher protein than donuts, which is essential for muscles," another person commented. 

Duncan is aware that there is more to the nutritional value of food than just sugar. "Of course, there are other nutritional factors to consider so I'm NOT suggesting you eat doughnuts instead of yogurt," he wrote in the caption. Similarly, in a post where he compared a popular Australian smoothie to Coca-Cola, he explained the impact of marketing on our food choices. 

😳Bet you never would of thought a Boost Juice would contain more sugar than a Coke of equal size right? - 🍓For those not in Australia, Boost Juice is a smoothie/juice franchise and this smoothie in the picture is their ‘Mango Magic’ option that contains a whopping 78.5g. That’s over 15 teaspoons of sugar in a supposed ‘healthy’ drink. - 😬I used to drink these things almost every day after school and thought I was doing the right thing. Here’s the thing though, just because something is perceived or labelled as healthy, doesn’t mean you should be consuming it. - 🤓So be sure to check the ingredients instead of going in blindly, and from here you can make the best decision based on your goals, calorie targets and dietary preferences.

A post shared by Chris Duncan (@chrisduncanfitness) on

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