Challenge: To go Sugar Free
Charity: Diabetes UK
Total £ accrued: £3
Thoughts: You don’t need sugar when you’re this sweet 😉
12 Every Day Foods that Contain Added Sugar
Fifteen days into my challenge and despite resisting my ultimate favourite treat; french macaroons, as well as a seemingly unlimited supply of chocolates in the office, I was caught out on three occasions. The first; alcohol, day one! The second; stock cubes, day ten! The third; earlier on today when I was stitched up with a cup of tea combined with a spoon of sugar!
So, in case anyone else wants to ditch the added sugars, I thought I’d make a list of the top twelve every day foods that nearly (or did) had me fooled. Be warned, some of these might come as an unpleasant surprise!
Okay so maybe not technically a “food” but a key part of most of our *ahem.. my* diets, and my downfall on day one! Nearly all alcohol is created with added sugars, but the key word here is “nearly”.
My “spirits” were lifted when I realised that there is one type of alcohol that only contains naturally occurring sugars – wine! Needless to say, I’ve been on the vino ever since. I will add some some wines do, i.e. dessert wines and the like but if you know of any other alcoholic bevs made without added sugar, please comment below… I’m asking for a friend…
2. Stock Cubes
Probably the one that shocked me most, not only because it caught me out on day ten in my super healthy vegetable casserole, but also because it’s probably one of the most used items in most “healthy” home-cooked meals.
Short of making your own stock, I haven’t come up with an alternative but I have just avoided it altogether and used other spices. Beware though, some pre-blended spices also contain sugar.
3. Soy Sauce
Another item regularly used in day to day “healthy” cooking, and that includes my favourite; a vegetable egg noodle stir fry.
There hasn’t been anything similar to soy sauce that I have subbed, seeing as Worcestershire sauce also contains sugar (and really isn’t even close to the flavour). I am considering creating a satay-style stir fry using peanut butter and coconut but beware, most peanut butter brands also contain added sugar.
A basic everyday ingredient, I’d probably say that we use bread more than any other carbohydrate.
Even though I am not an avid bread eater, I have noticed that being unable to eat bread has been a big hurdle in trying to figure out what meals to create. Sandwiches, burgers, wraps, pizzas, garlic bread, naan bread and so many more have all been off the cards for me this month.
But there is hope!
Sourdough and pitta bread, as well as some other whole wheat rolls, are not made with added sugar! Result!
Everyone knows at least one strict health geek who always opts for carrots with hummus rather than crisps and chocolate as a mid morning snack. But perhaps it’s not as healthy as we all thought! Many brands of hummus have added sugar, but this does change brand to brand and depends on flavour (I found a lemon hummus without added sugar, when the plain had added sugar). Thankfully, there is often a low fat version which does not add sugar.
Shock, shock, horror! What?! Your favourite salty breakfast companion has extra added sugar??? Yeah, sorry to burst your bubble, but it does. We all know how healthy bacon is known to be as it is, but I feel that the addition of sugar is just to maximise the un-healthiness. Sort of the cherry on the top of an already guilty pleasure.
Before you start replacing your bacon with posher sounding pork such as parma-ham, or asking for an extra sausage in your full English instead, you should know that they also usually contain added sugar. This is primarily because sugar is a great preservative, but also because apparently meat isn’t sweet enough.
Now I’m not sure if this is just because of the shortcrust pastry base, or if the quiche mix itself includes sugar but unless you plan to make your own [from scratch] then you may want to scrap the quiche from your sugar-free meal plans.
It’s worth noting that other pies will also have added sugar, some not only in the pastry but in the filling as well. Particularly if bacon is an ingredient… or stock cubes are used… don’t get me started on the alcohol…
I’ll include with this, other pre-made sauces such as pasta sauce, pizza sauce, curry sauces and many more!
Don’t expect there to be shortcuts if you are going sugar free, if you want a lasagna, you make that f*ing lasagna from scratch! Grow the tomatoes, knead your pasta, even raise your own cow (if dairy is your thing ya know, and only if you are nice to the cow). Basically, say goodbye to the good old combo dips you can get by the quiche section of Sainsbury’s.
I made my own home-made salsa, recipe coming soon!
9. Breakfast Cereal
Nothing like a bowl full of sugar to start your day, right?! The question is, do you add sugar to your sugar? There are some who sprinkle sugar on their already sugar saturated cereal bowls, just to ensure that the most important meal of the day is also the most unhealthy.
I’m not just talking about coco pops and frosties either. “Adult” breakfast also has more of the sweet white granules than you’d expect, take muesli for example.
10. Hot (and cold) Drinks
Again, not classed as food per se, but a huge part of our daily consumption – liquid. Of particular note is all types of coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, the lot! Because, well who has coffee without sugar? But also the alternatives for those who don’t drink regular lattes, like Matcha lattes and (my all time fave) Chai lattes!
I must say, out of everything I’ve given up, I miss Costa Chai lattes the most.
But then there’s also the cold drinks like iced tea, fruit infused water drinks, and even some smoothies all with added sugar. I’m basically living off water and wine currently.
11. Salad Dressing
The most ironic one of all, Salad Dressing. Me: “Hi, I’ll just have a salad because I’m on a diet.” Waitress: “Great, so would you like some sugar with that?”
Basically, most, if not all, salad dressings have added sugar. That’s just bloody inappropriate in my opinion, I don’t know what you think?!
But fear not, I have a fantastic recipe of my own for a good salad dressing without the sugar. It will be coming up in the next blog post!
Yes, I went there!
Smashed them all out of the park with this one. You probably didn’t know this, but sushi rice is made with sugar and vinegar. Turning this otherwise known as “healthy” snack into a sugary treat.
Add the soy sauce and you have a bit of sugar on sugar action, which really doesn’t contribute to the overall healthy vibe.
So all in all, you can pretty much find added sugars… everywhere. But with a bit of determination and savvy-ness mixed with creativity, it can be avoided!
Watch this space for my sugar free meal ideas and recipes! And see how I’ve done in my next blog post.