Sniffing Out Stealth Sugars

After I gave a talk on holiday health pitfalls, one of the attendees asked about healthy coffee creamers. Although I’m not a coffee aficionado, my husband is. After his heart attack, he began using fat-free half-and-half. However, I hated to admit that it does contain corn syrup.


When searching for low-fat and fat-free alternatives, you may find that manufacturers often add more sugar in place of the missing fat. Excess sugar in our diets has been associated with obesity, leading to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.

Here are some unexpected sources of added sugar:

  • Ketchup
  • Dried fruit
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Fruit juice
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Tomato sauce
  • Salad dressing
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Packaged and frozen meals

It never occurred to me that ketchup contained sugar until my dad shared that his mother used to can her own ketchup during the Great Depression. He recalled that commercial versions tasted much sweeter.

To avoid high-sugar ingredients, one solution is to make your own and avoid processed foods. The Food Network offers a few DIY condiment recipes to get you started. And you may want to experiment with plant-based milks, like almond or oat milk, in your coffee or tea.

When it comes to pasta sauce, I prefer to make my own (like my ketchup-canning grandmother). Sugar-free and lower-sugar versions of sauces and condiments also may be found on your supermarket shelves. 

We will talk about this more in the future. I have real sweet tooth, and cutting sugar can be tough.

Meanwhile, please share your own sugar-busting tips!

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