Sugar 101 | What is your favourite grocery choice?

Sugar 101
What is your favourite grocery choice?
By Wei Wen, Registered Dietitian (RD)

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  • Look at different aspects when you want to know which option is the best
  • Nutrition Value, Ingredient List, Price, Convenience

 

Options are ranked in ascending order, from most optimal (Grade A) to most undesirable (Grade D). 

 

  1. Fruity Nutty Oats with Milk

The fruity oats with milk rank first simply because it has no added sugar. Added sugar itself adds extra calories without valuable health benefits and serves as a main criterion upon which a food is judged. Furthermore, added sugar is found to be related to higher risk of getting unwanted diseases. 

Because its minimally processed, we can add valuable top-ups such as nuts/fresh fruits and unflavoured milk in desired portion. 

The freedom to select the food choices and appropriate portioning makes it a nutritionally optimal choice for most people. 

Pro Tip : Boost the lean power by adding protein-rich food sources like protein powder, pumpkin seeds or peanut butter!

  1. Nutty Muesli with Dried Raisins

Muesli is pre-packaged raw grain (oats/wheat), usually mixed with dried nuts and fruits. Varying from brand to brand, certain additives or flavouring such as vegetable oil or sugar will be used. However, the amount is usually relatively lower compared to its grain counterpart like granolas. 

Due to its lower sugar content, it ranks ahead of granolas, but falls short behind self-portioned original oats. Nonetheless, the added benefits from seeds or nuts that usually come in packaged muesli are there to stay. 

Pro Tip : Be an informed consumer by turning to the back of the package to review the nutrition and ingredient facts! Don’t be tricked by marketing gimmicks on the front label. 😉

 
  1. Coconut Blueberry Goji Granola 

 The packaging looks natural with a leafy green logo, recyclable bag and natural yet tempting flavours like grated coconuts.  

Looks familiar? 

Granola is pre-baked grain clusters, usually sweetened relatively generously with sugar and syrup. We want to believe that it is healthy because of its packaging and taste, but the truth is it is not the best choice you can have as it has a high sugar amount and its palatable taste means that it will be easily overconsumed. 

The only upside is that its convenient and requires no cooking. It can still serve as a relatively healthier snack (at least better than curry puffs or bubble milk tea!). 

Pro Tip : Control it in a fist-sized portion and nothing more as a snack! 

 
  1. Fit and Lean Energy Bar 

Energy bar is usually branded as fuel for sporty athletes, bringing active and healthy lifestyle vibes. 

Ironically, energy bar is ranked the most undesirable one amongst all four. It contains nothing valuable in good amounts (nuts/seeds/protein), but what you don’t need in big amounts (sugars and fats). 

Pro Tip : Avoid it at all cost.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there isn’t binary answer as in best or worst choices in nutrition. However, a ranking based on respective nutrient values and ingredients can give a more valuable perspective. The bulk of your diet should revolve around the top ranked choices.

Go with the ones with 

  1. Least or no added sugar.

  2. Minimal processing (lesser or no additives used).

  3. And top up good foods like fresh fruits, dairy or nuts/seeds in appropriate portion.

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