Friday, August 16, 2013

Added sugars add nothing: foods where sugar is secretly hidden

Since I began eating in a way that has allowed my body to heal, I noticed just how many of the food I have cut out have so much unnecessary sugar added. What I've discovered is that the unsweetened versions of these foods taste, in may cases, better than the standard sugared up ones you typically buy. Here are some examples:

Almond Milk- the almond milk you generally buy in the store, such as Almond Breeze Vanilla or Chocolate, has about 15 grams of pure sugar per serving. However, the unsweetened version has literally only 1 carb! Once you begin buying the unsweetened version, you realize that you can actually taste the almond-ness of the beverage and that it tastes quite good. If you accidentally buy the sweetened version and expect the unsweetened,  it might even make you gag. The extra sugar they add to it is added likely because we have come to expect it as Americans and cannot handle any subtlety in flavors. Once you learn to appreciate it without the simple pleasure of overwhelming sugar, almond milk becomes a tasty alternative to high carb cows milk, as well as versatile in baking or simply as somewhat of a treat on its own.

Yogurt- yogurt has an insane amount of added sugar. Chobani greek yogurt, strawberry low fat yogurt = 30 grams of sugar per serving! Not only is there no fat to soften the absorption of all that sugar, but that is about the equivalent of drinking 2/3 a can of coke. Absolutely too much. However, the unsweetened versions of plain greek yogurt in a standard serving have only 8 carbs. If you buy the full fat version, this little container of greek yogurt becomes a super powerful breakfast. With close to 15 grams of protein, a ton of fat and little to no sugar, an unsweetened greek yogurt can fill you up for a long, long time. Truthfully, I will admit that unsweetened yogurt is not the tastiness. But it's pretty simple and reasonable to soften it by added some low glycemic index berries like blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries- just a few though. Berries are lower in carbs as far as fruit goes and just a few berries will not add many carbs and can make unsweetened full fat yogurt a useful product.

Chocolate- Hershey's chocolate is awful- it is highly processed, full of artificial flavors and full of added sugar= 26 carbs! (24 g pure sugar). Again in my opinion, it totally ruins the good flavors and potentially helpful nutritional value of real chocolate. Lindt chocolate makes an excellent 90% dark chocolate bar. In this, we are talking about only 3 grams of sugar per serving and the added bonus of 5 grams of dietary fiber. What is more, is that this purer form of chocolate actually has 4 grams of protein as well as significant amounts of fat. Once you begin eating this almost completely cocoa version of a chocolate bar, you realize what a bastardization of chocolate anything you buy at the candy counter really is. If you can handle it, eat simply 100% cocoa baking chocolate as a treat. This is also a bit bitter, but at the same time, you can appreciate it's flavor as well as know that it does have some nutritional value for you. Cocoa is reputed to have anti-depression properties as well as high amounts of antioxidants etc. etc. Of course, even on a ketogenic diet, pure chocolate can still have a lot of fat! It works well as a treat when you feel like you want to chow on something grossly unhealthy to have just a little bit of 90% or pure cocoa.

Ice Cream- not much explanation needed here. It's full of added sugar. Granted, ice cream does have significant amounts of fat and protein that help slow the absorption, but its still too much. Instead, So Delicious makes no sugar added coconut milk ice cream that it is amazing. Coconut milk has copious amounts of the "long chain fatty acids" and other healthy fats people talk about currently, and when they are frozen, their texture is amazing. Its more creamy than real ice cream! Without added sugar, you have simply the flavor of the coconut milk and perhaps some vanilla bean chopped into it. Again, this food can be used nutritionally- good fats and little sugar. It's still a treat, but its a far cry from your standard cookie dough or cookies and cream ice cream cone. ( and oh yes, of course, don't eat it in a cone...)

Peanut Butter- Skippy is awful. Hydrogenated oils, preservatives and of course, added sugar. If you buy a peanut butter where the only ingredient is simply "peanuts" then the only carbs in it are the fibrous material of the peanut. These peanut butters again, I find superior to conventional ones. The oils separate out from the peanut butter, but if you stir them well then keep it in the refrigerator, they won't separate out!

 Barbeque sauce- BBQ sauce and many other condiments are made basically of high fructose corn syrup. 2 tablespoons= 15 grams of sugar! Read the food labels when buying condiments and make sure that sugar, corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup are not on the label. If they are, DO NOT BUY THEM.

Canned soup- A secret culprit, canned soup, especially brands like Campbells, is going to have added sugar. Again I think it ruins the taste. There are plenty of canned soup options that do not add any sugar (not to mention those that don't add chemicals we cannot pronounce and other things that are decidedly not food).

Jelly- Jelly, even the good ones, is a high carb food that really should be avoided. But if you must have jelly, read the ingredients. Whenever I go to a diner and look at the little jelly packets, the first ingredient is almost always high fructose corn syrup. The flavor of the jelly- for example strawberry- might not even appear until the end of the list of ingredients, and frequently as an artificial flavor. If you are going to buy jelly, buy 100% fruit preserves where, if the flavor is strawberry, the only ingredient is strawberries!

Protein powders- Protein shake mixes will almost ubiquitously have some sugar added. This is a shame, because a lot of people like to use these mixes as supplements or as meal replacers because they are easy and have a lot of protein in them. You will probably have to go to a specialty store, or at least the specialty aisle in your supermarket, or more likely, order it online to find no sugar added protein powders.

Tomato sauce- It's similar to canned soups- tomato sauce like Ragu or Prego have unnecessary sugar added. Read the food labels and find one where the ingredients are only tomatoes, garlic and maybe some oregano and pepper. Anything with corn syrup or sugar is a not, in my opinion, a food any longer, but a sugary drug-like imitation of one.

The theme here is that whenever we buy a "food product" ie. something that comes in a wrapper, we have to read the label. If we don't, the biggest name brands of foods are likely to have added sugars. Just buy buying the unsweetened versions, we can cut out huge amounts of carbs from our diets.


  1. I found a brand of yogurt, Siggi's, that is flavored and only has 9 grams of sugar. It's an Icelandic yogurt similar to greek yogurt that has 14 grams of protein and no fake sugars to oversweeten it.