As part of my Gluten Free journey, I removed refined sugars from my diet and even cut back on the natural sugars that kind of appease my sweet tooth. Of course, that meant checking what is added to food when when go grocery shopping.
I did not realize just how rampant it is until I became more educated on refined sugars and their effect on my body, my brain, and my general health. The food industry is sneaking sugars into a lot of foods on the grocery shelves – even food items I didn’t expect to see sugar added to.
Coffee drinks were not a big surprise, although I am not sure everyone realizes just how much sugar is in those delicious caffeinated beverages. Other items were surprises – bread and yogurt, for example.
Yes, read your bread labels carefully. I recently picked up a loaf of bread and it stated on the label: Made without high fructose corn syrup and I was thinking…corn syrup
really in my bread? Bread doesn’t weigh in high on the sugar scale, but I didn’t like seeing the trends in labeling since it means many companies are adding high fructose corn syrup or other sugars.
I don’t know about you, but when I choose bread for my family – and I do because they haven’t all given up bread – I look for company’s that are using more healthful options with their ingredients.
Catsup or Ketchup
This once-healthy condiment is now loaded with sneaky sugars. Just turn the label over and read it. One product in particular not only added high fructose corn syrup, they added a little extra regular corn syrup for good measure.
So what do you do? If all else fails, you can make your own ketchup. It’s really not terribly difficult. (Keep an eye out for the October 2014 podcast with the writer of that article on The Survival Mom Radio Network.)
Let’s face it: not everyone is going to make their own catsup. You can follow my lead and just avoid it for most meals, but there are many new kinds of catsups on the market, including lower sugar, spicy, lower sodium, and more. I recently purchased a low sugar version on vacation and liked it well enough to continue using it. Personally, I have already given up my bread, so I really want to keep the catsup on my hot dog. I feel like I’m at a Baseball field. It’s more festive!
It actually stunned me when I started making better eating choices and saw how many sugars are on your plate of pasta. I had always known to stay away from fatty white sauces, but I never knew to steer clear of sugar laden marinara or spaghetti sauce.
Now, I prefer to just add home-canned diced tomatoes to most of my food. There are also healthier store bought sources of canned tomatoes that use proper canning techniques. It may seem too plain to your palate at first, but season it with a few well appointed seasonings (such as basil and oregano) and you will be won over in know time.
Many of these are loaded with either sugar or aspartame. I started making my own plain, full fat yogurt and add fruit and nuts. My husband does not care for plain yogurt, so he switched to cottage cheese. Sometimes eliminating sugars takes a little more change, but whatever works for your family is the right choice.
Parents for sure don’t want their children eating too much sugar. If your kids won’t go for the plain yogurt, try adding a teaspoon or two of honey (raw, of course) or a low sugar jam. It will be sweeter for them, but much healthier than the list of chemicals and sneaky sugars they are slipping into flavored yogurt.
Coffee Drinks (Lattes, Frozen Coffee Beverages, etc.)
Not so sneaky, but there are so many gourmet coffee shops and specialty coffee drinks I thought it worth mentioning.
The average small latte has about 200 calories and 13 grams of sugar. A small caramel frozen coffee beverage boasts an even higher sugar content – a whopping 60 grams of sugar.
I am an avid enthusiast of all things honey and well that’s easy for me to say since we are beekeepers and have an abundance of it. The primary sugars I keep in my family’s diet are natural sugars, mostly honey and stevia. If we were not beekeepers I would probably eat even less.
I’m thankful I gave up coffee drinks a long time ago! Give me a nice delicious cup of coffee with a little cream and honey, and I’m a happy gal. And when I say a little honey, I mean a very little maybe a ¼ to a ½ of a tsp., and a very generous tablespoon of cream.
For some folks sugar is not a problem, but understanding those sneaky sugars is key because that might change later, such as when you have kids. Simply getting older forces many of us to start paying attention, whether we want to or not. If you start earlier, maybe you can put that day off a bit longer, and provide a good example to your family. (Even if you are a teenager now, you can be the example to your parents.)
Now, when I purchase spaghetti sauce or almost anything else pre-made, I take the time to read the labels.
These are just a few examples of some sneaky sugars that can sneak into you and your family’s diet. Be watchful and put on your spy glasses! I am a Certified “Sugar Spy” these days! 😉 I hope you have accepted this mission to join me, and that you enjoyed my latest homesteading health tip for The Survival Mom Blog.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutrition expert, just a Suburban Homesteader who is slowly educating herself on how to eat healthier and live a healthier more active lifestyle!
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