Carrots, Beets, And 5 Other Shockingly Sugary Foods

That's right. Even vegetables have sugar. So does almond milk, plain yogurt, and other foods you may have thought were healthy and sugar-free. Well, these foods are still healthy, even though they contribute a significant portion of simple carbohydrates to your diet.

So don't panic — and don't go trying to cut all these foods out. These naturally-occurring sugars have an important purpose.

The dominant narrative about sugar is pretty straightforward: Sugar is bad and it's killing us all. But that's far from reality. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate and, like whole grains and other forms of energy, it has its benefits. When the body needs energy — and needs it fast — sugar is its best friend.

Smoothies are loaded with sugar. Dairy products are hiding stores of natural sugar. There's sugar in our cheese, our fruits, and even our vegetables. But all these foods are still really good for you.

Foods like beets and dairy have naturally-occurring sugars that come with some very real benefits for your body. Lactose, for instance, contains galactose — an essential compound that's involved in many of the body's natural processes. Drinking milk gives you calcium and energizing sugars that help the body do its thing. Lactose is also a prebiotic, actually feeding your gut bacteria so your stomach and intestines can remain healthy and effective at digesting your food.

Some healthy foods that contain significant amounts of sugar include:

  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Milk
  • Almond milk
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Yogurt
  • Peas

But again, don't worry about it. Eat these foods if you like them, and remember that you're feeding your body the kind of carbs that are good for you with each bite.