Give Me Some Sugar…

Or not, as the case may be.

I am not a doctor or any kind of medical professional, so do not take this as medical advice of any kind. As always, check things out for yourself or ask someone who is a professional before making any drastic changes in your diet.

How much sugar do you eat in a day? Sugar on your cereal, in your coffee, and in the yogourt you’re eating. You know, the kind with the fruit in the bottom. Maybe you have a quick snack during the afternoon as a pick-me-up, like an energy bar or candy bar. Of course, there’s the cappuccino on the way home and some sort of dessert or snack before bedtime.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t do any of those things. I’m fine.”

But are you?

How much sugar is there in the other foods you eat?

I’m not talking about natural sugars in the raw food itself, like the fructose in an apple or banana. I’m talking about processed sugars added to your food, sometimes in places you would never suspect.

If you’ve done any label checking at all, you will know bread of most kinds has sugar in it, not to mention quickly converted refined flour. And of course there is brown sugar, honey, dextrose, sucrose, and all those other -oses.

Why did I begin thinking about this?

A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. My doctor put me on what I thought was a radical diet until my blood sugar normalized. For the first year and a half, I went completely vegetarian, eating mostly fresh, raw foods. During the colder weather, though, I wanted something warm, some sort of comfort food. Vegetable soups of various styles came to mind. Surely those would be fine. Right?

Think again.

What I found out, and what you may not realize, is that several types of canned vegetables contain added sugars. Like kidney beans. I’ve found only one or two brands of kidney beans which don’t have sugar in them.

How about peas and carrots? They’re good in soup.

On their own, most of them are fine, if you can handle the starches in them. But canned together, a lot of them contain added sugar. I can’t imagine why, since both of them are sweet to begin with.

What good would soup be without tomatoes?

Reaching for the canned tomatoes, I accidentally grabbed stewed instead. But they should be fine. They’re tomatoes!

Nope. Added sugar! Again, why? None of the other types of tomatoes, from whole and diced to crushed, have sugar added. But most, if not all, the stewed tomatoes I’ve checked have sugar in them.

What good is soup without some sort of broth or stock? Now hesitant about trying anything without checking it first, I looked at the label.

You’re kidding me! Most of the chicken broth or stock has some sort of sugar in it, and I think I’ve only found one of the brands of beef stock which is sugar free.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never put sugar in the pot with either chicken or beef. Not in the oven, crock pot, stew pot, or anything else. Once in a while, I would add a little something sweet for a glaze, but not to make broth.

Like to barbecue? My husband is the grillmeister extraordinaire around our place. Try finding hot dogs or sausage without sugar in them. BBQ sauce is right out.

Just when I thought I was doing well, I checked my seasoning blends.

NO!!!!

Almost all of the seasoning salt type things have sugar in them, and a lot of the other seasoning blends as well. Garlic pepper and various types of rubs are things to check for hidden sugar.

Same thing with salad dressings, mayonnaise, ketchup, soy sauce, oriental sauces of all kinds… Even some of the hot sauces, picante, and salsa have added sugar.

So, if you make a sandwich, with bread, mayonnaise, ketchup, with a meat seasoned with seasoning salt, how much hidden sugar are you eating?

I haven’t done the math, but I was appalled by all sugar we unknowingly eat in a day.

Don’t believe me?

Check it out yourself! Next time you go to the grocery store, start reading labels. Watch not only for sugar, but for honey, molasses, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, lactose–if it ends in -ose, it’s probably a sugar of some sort.

Now if you’re diabetic, you need to watch out for starches as well, as they are easily converted into sugar in your body. In my case, I need to watch for corn starch, any kind of added flour, potato starch, tapioca, maltodextrin, or anything else normally used as a thickener. Any sort of sauce which is thick and clingy–the dreaded BBQ sauce for example–will have one of these in it.

If you’re trying to quit sugar, good luck to you. It can be done, but check, check, check your labels. Or go fresh whole foods only. Frozen food tends to be better. It will take a while to get the hang of it, and to get used to the taste of real food again.

But you’ll get there!

Until next time, stay healthy. Stay happy!

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