Giving Hidden Sugar the Boot

More Sugar Than A Twinkie

We all know, when we look at that darling chocolate bunny with his sweet little food coloring eyes, that we are staring at the face of sugar. We probably don’t always realize just how much sugar is in many of the other foods that we eat. Hidden sugar is something that deserves a great deal of conversation because SO many of the processed foods available in American supermarkets are chock full of sugar. Big Sis gave you a list of the names of sugar so that you can start to look for it on labels. The nice folks at Huffington Post have put together a short list of foods that have more sugar than a Twinkie. That’s right a Twinkie, the centerpiece of the Twinkie defense, a junk food diet that interacted with depression in such a negative way that the accused was driven to double murder. In case you are too young to remember this, the accused was found to be incapable of premeditation because of his psychological condition, which had something to do with Twinkies…. No, I am not making this up.

Regardless of how you feel about the Twinkie defense, I think we can all agree that Twinkies are clearly on the high end of the sugar scale. The foods in the Huffington Post list have MORE. And they are (in no particular order): single serving yogurt cups, tomato sauce, granola bars, fat-free salad dressing, muffins, canned fruit, pre-packaged smoothies or smoothie mixes, and…. if you don’t guess it I’m going to be mad…. boxed cereal!!! Now, it is important to point out there are likely examples within all of these food categories that have less sugar than a Twinkie; the point here is that one might not expect to find that much sugar in these foods and yet many brands DO have an extraordinary amount of sugar in them. Check that label, and as the article points out, be sure to look at the serving size. If you use a quarter cup of tomato sauce on your pasta, I say you’re missing out on some tomato goodness. How much sugar would be in YOUR serving rather than the one the manufacturer analyzed?  One solution to this particular hidden sugar problem is to read labels carefully and choose brands accordingly. The other solution is to make some swaps.

We’ve already covered cereal (mix it, raw oatmeal, Crock Pot oatmeal, cold overnight oats). You also know that you don’t need smoothie mixes because you can make your own flippin smoothies, thank you very much; and Big Sis gave you a superb dressing recipe. But WAIT you say, that is not FAT FREE dressing, and the one in the article is FAT FREE. OK, we’ll have a discussion about diet food at some point, but in the interest of giving you a swap that will fit that particular constraint AND drop your sugar, I’m going to give you another dressing recipe. Here it is:

FAT FREE SALAD DRESSING

  • Rice Vinegar
  • Soy Sauce

Yep, that’s it. No, it doesn’t matter what brand. Yes, you can use Bragg’s Aminos instead of soy sauce (and I would encourage that). Procedure? Bring the bottles to the table and shake a little of each on the salad. Done. Fat free dressing for less than a penny. No sugar. No, well, hardly anything really. NONE of the 8 skillion ingredients in most dressings. So if you haven’t taken a step yet, please, this is a baby step that does a lot. AND it saves you money – all the cheapskates say “Holla.” “HOLLA!” Pardon, there’s an active audience in my head.

Alright, so of the eight more sugary than a Twinkie foods that Huffington Post identifies, we’ve got three covered; I’ll give you one more today so we can call it half done. Deal? For our final trick today, we’re going to get you off candy yogurt. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can, as I mentioned in the beginning of the article, do a lot of label checking and simply find the one with the lowest sugar content. If you’re already there, or you are committed to a particular kind of yogurt, you’re going to want to choose Plan B – the mix it plan. Sound familiar? It’s exactly the same thing you can do to wean yourself or your children off of sweet cereal. So get the kind you or your kids like, and if you usually get yogurt cups because of a mobility situation, get yourself some kind of container that will seal in yogurt. There are plastic re-useable deals with screw on lids OR save a few condiment jars and use those.  Mix that stuff. If you can, stop buying the mini containers of yogurt. Buy big ones; tell them it’s cheaper (which it IS) and slowly increase the ratio of plain yogurt to sweetened yogurt poo. Find a comfortable mix or take it all the way and eat it plain with a little fruit. Delish.

There 50% of that nasty sugar list done.  Baby Steps all over the place.  Wahoo!!

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15 responses

  1. You go Girl! And if you are at home trying to decrease your yogurt sugar, there is nothing finer than some mashed bananas and chunked up strawberries mixed into plain yogurt. Or mixed into your half and half plain and vanilla. Just ease back on that vanilla everytime you make it and before you know it… you children (and you) are eating plain yogurt with fruit. Imagine. It makes me smile. Can I come over and watch?

  2. Ahhhh the good old Twinkie Defense. I guess being the believe that I am the food can heal and food can also destroy, I have to believe that Mr. Twinkie had a valid point. It at least exposed Twinkies for the crap sugar they are, and set the pace for other nutritional studies…i.e coke/pepsi and pennies. As you point out, people should remember there are ALWAYS alternatives to sugar…my tip for the day–cinnamon can go a lonnnnnng way, in even the most unexpected foods (my Kale salad last night!). Thanks for the lesson ladies!

  3. I gave up “hidden sugar” for a month for a gym challenge once – I couldn’t believe how sweet everything tasted after the month! I still make my own pasta sauces now cause I can’t stand how sweet they are. My fave salad dressing is a dash of lemon juice and olive oil. Love it :)

    • PERSONALLY I don’t really concern myself overly with sugars that are a natural part of a food that bears nutritional value. So fruit, while I limit it to some extent (my limit is pretty high) is okay by me because of the vitamins, fiber, and for my kids the experience of growing to appreciate REAL fresh food (so easy with fruit). My biggest concern is the sugar that seems to be part and parcel of processed food and that we so often don’t even realize is there. Long answer to short question… sorry.

  4. Pingback: No More Twinkies – Hidden Sugar Boot Pt. 2 | my sister's pantry

  5. Pingback: Baby Step #1 : The Old Switcheroo | my sister's pantry

    • It took my husband a while, but he’s on board now and with changes to our diet he has dropped 25 pounds without breaking a sweat. Sometimes the proof is in the pudding I guess. He’s motivated now. ;-)

  6. Pingback: Replace Those Unhealthy “Health” Foods | my sister's pantry

  7. Excellent discussion, particularly about yogurt. I was fooled by yogurt for a very long time. For me, it’s about being diabetic. So I cut out all yogurt and now I’m looking for a recipe to make my own. Because, as it turns out, even plain yogurt has sugar in it, which seems weird but there it is. Thanks for posting. I just found you through Flour Me with Love. I’m your newest follower. Hoping you’ll follow me back at http://www.crazythriftycrafts.blogspot.com.

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