Hidden Sugar in Our Diet


Men between the ages of 20 to 39 eat more added sugars than anyone else according the new US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The added sugars are mostly found in processed and pre packaged foods. A lot of sugar actually comes from so-called ‘health foods’ such as jams, sauces and salad dressings and in many instances, most of us don’t even know that they contain sugar and are unhealthy for us. The hidden sugar in our diet is causing many health problems that include higher blood glucose levels, diabetes, stress, sleep disorders, weight gain, ADS and mood swings.




On average, the typical US male between 20 to 39 eats 335 calories of unhealthy sugars a day, while women consume less at 239 calories per day. What the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found were 2 things that debunked typical myths about sugar consumption in the nation.


Myth #1 | Two thirds of added sugar came from food (and not drinks)
Myth #2 | Most of the added sugar was eaten/consumed at home (and not on-the-go)


Here are the top 9 sneaky sources of hidden sugar in our diet. Remember that most of these hidden sugars have suitable alternatives that are healthier and sometimes much cheaper and tastier. The first step for all of us is the recognize these unhealthy hidden sugars in our diet that include:


Hidden Sugar #1 = Bottled Tea and Ice Tea

Much of the hidden sugar in bottled teas is high fructose corn syrup and cheap sweeteners, which has been linked to cancers and various health diseases. A can of Arizona’s Green Tea has more sugar than a Snicker’s chocolate bar! The same goes for many other bottled tea manufacturers that just pack on the hidden sugars which make these drinks addictive and sweet.


Sneaky Source of Sugar #2 = Frozen Dinners

Although they taste alright and will fill our stomachs for a period of time, frozen dinners, including the ‘lean and healthy’ ones contain unhealthy doses of hidden sugars. In order to replace fat and carbs, low calorie and lean frozen dinners actually pack on the hidden sugars and salts that are very bad for us. The Lean Cuisine’s Roasted Turkey Breast entre frozen dinner contains 7 teaspoons of actual sugar! Ouch.


Hidden Sugar #3 = Yogurt


This one will surprise a lot of us as yogurt seems to be a healthy breakfast or snack. Low in calories and high in protein, yogurt is often used as a great work out snack food. However, many of the fruit flavoured yogurts are pumped full of sneaky sources of hidden sugars. Even Yoplait’s Original 99% Fat Free line has more sugar than 1 pack of peanut M&Ms. Always go for plain organic yogurt with the least amount of sugars. Read the labels!


Sneaky Source of Sugar #4 = Wheat Bread

“Wheat” does not equal “whole grains”. Although whole grains are great for heart health, weight loss diets and to keep you full, products that are labeled as “wheat” are not always true whole grains. Both grocery stores and restaurants will serve whole wheat breads that do not contain whole grains. On the contrary, many of these wheat breads are full of hidden sugar and enriched flours, making them taste like whole grains, but are unhealthy. This sneaky source of sugar can be seen at Arby’s Honey Wheat Market Fresh sandwich breads. It’s not whole wheat as the first ingredient for this bread is enriched flour and secondly, two slices contains 15 grams of hidden sugar. That’s a lot of sugar!


Hidden Sugar #5 = Oatmeal

Natural oats that are unflavoured and unaltered are very healthy. Consuming oatmeal has been linked to cancer fighting/prevention, weight loss and a healthy heart. However, many processed and packaged oats and oatmeal contain lots of artificial ingredients including hidden sugar that just sneaks up on you. Take for instance the Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Express by Quaker. This one little snack has as much sugar as 2 Pillsbury cinnamon rolls (which in itself, isn’t that healthy either because of the artificial preservatives, flavors and hidden amounts of sugar). A great tip to sweeten your oatmeal is to simply add antioxidant rich, naturally sweet berries.


Sneaky Source of Sugar #6 = Spaghetti Sauce


Many consumers are also surprised that spaghetti sauce is ranked in the list of foods containing the most sneak sources of hidden sugar. Processed and packaged spaghetti sauces often contain high levels of hidden sugar even though tomatoes are naturally sweet. This is often because the sauce is made from unripe tomatoes or parts/discards of tomatoes that are used in other packaged foods. Spaghetti sauces are also made from cheap vegetable oil, subpar ingredients and dehydrated veggies so hidden sugar is a quick and effective fix for food processors to disguise this. Francesco Rinaldi spaghetti sauce (like many others) lists sugar as the second ingredient in their spaghetti sauce which is about 3 teaspoons in each serving. A healthier alternative is to make your own spaghetti sauce from your own organic tomatoes and spices or to choose even Ragu’s Tomato Basil spaghetti sauce which doesn’t contain extra hidden sugar.




Hidden Sugar #7 = Salad Dressing


Many packaged salad dressings contain high levels of refined sugars in order to come up with the flavors, preservatives and texture of their sauces. From blue cheese to ranch, all of these salad dressings make your healthy salad unhealthy. Not only that, but the ‘low-fat’ salad dressings are evil too as they take out the fat and instead, add sugar in its place. The Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette by Ken’s contains more sugar than a regular scoop of ice cream! Not only that, but it also has lots of food starch. So eating this salad dressing will give you 12 grams of hidden sugars plus starch which causes your blood sugar levels to spike. No good!


Sneaky Source of Sugar #8 = Fruit Jams and Spreads

Many people think that jams and jellies are a better alternative to butter or cream cheese. However, the hidden sugars in these types of foods is shocking. As an example, Smucker’s uses 3 different types of sweeteners and hidden sugars in their classic Strawberry jam! The main reason why they do this is that none of the ‘sugars’ will appear as the first ingredient on their label. The fruit becomes the #1 ingredient as there is more fruit than any of the 3 hidden sugars alone. That’s just sneaky, but it’s used by many food processors. The alternative is the Polaner’s All Fruit spreads because is unadulterated and contains no added hidden sugars. Or you can make your own spreads!


Hidden Sugar #9 = Asian Sauces

From sweet and sour pork to teriyaki to sesame, these Asian sauces in North America are packed with hidden sugar. Some of these sauces also contain unhealthy amounts of both corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup (you can tell by the ingredients that end in “-ose”). Also remember to check the serving size, because most of the Asian sauce labels recommend less than 1 tablespoon per serving, which as we know is not nearly enough for any small portion.


Key Tips to STAY AWAKE… without caffeine

Having troubles getting up in the morning even with a good nights’ sleep? Having problems staying awake at work? Do you have problems staying awake after a rigorous work out? Feel like taking a nap after a heavy meal? Below are some key tips to stay awake during the day… (hint hint … it doesn’t include drinking caffeine or taking caffeine pills!)

Millions of North Americans are addicted to caffeine. Caffeine in itself, if taken in moderation is actually not that harmful to the human body or mind. However, excessive caffeine intake produces many side effects that are tough to reverse. Caffeine addiction is getting more prevalent in today’s society as people get caught up with work, are stressed out, get less sleep and don’t eat well. And in many cases, we aren’t even aware that we are addicted to caffeine in order to stay awake and focus on the tasks at hand. Some of the negative effects of caffeine addiction include having problems sleeping, getting dependent on caffeine in order to focus or stay awake during the day, needing caffeine to wake up in the morning, post caffeine intake crashes when the effect wears off and diuretic problems. In some cases, caffeine addiction used to keep you awake during the day, also prevents you from sleeping during the night. And so the cycle continues until you eventually burn out.

There are many ways to get out of this caffeine routine. Some keys to getting up in the morning and staying awake and focussed during the day is in your diet and food that you eat. It’s no surprise that the food that you eat provides the fuel that you need to get through a day. So if you consume the right and nutritious foods that are nutrient rich, chances are, you will have enough fuel to last you through the day without having to consume any caffeine.

caffeine addiction will keep you awake at night and give you problems with staying awake during the day

Here are key tips to stay awake without the use of caffeine!


Key #1 > Reduce the Meat

Meat is protein rich and usually high in fat. Therefore, meat is more difficult to digest when compared to whole foods, vegetables and fruit. As the process of digestion takes longer, more energy is required to process meats through our body, which essentially wear us out. In addition, many types of meat are pesticide ridden and contain tonnes of hormones which can also impact your energy levels during the day.


Key #2 > Drink Lots of Water

As our bodies are composed of mostly water, our mind and body requires lots of water for hydration and proper system function. It’s recommended that you drink at least 8 glasses of water, and even more if you are exercising or playing sports. If you find that your urine is darker than a pale yellow color, chances are, you aren’t drinking enough water to keep you hydrated as well as to flush out toxins that may be building up in your body during the day. Lack of adequate water will make you sleepy and fatigued.


Key #3 > Don’t Snack on Sugary Foods

If you find yourself snacking on candy or other foods high in refined sugar, chances are you will get a mid afternoon burn out. By 3pm in the afternoon, our body is usually very low in blood sugar and therefore, we tend to snack at that time (usually have a cup of coffee or eat a candy bar). By snacking on foods that are high in refined sugars, we are actually only causing more problems. To avoid the sugar cravings in the afternoon, try snacking on whole foods and fruit with a low glycemic index rating instead.


Key #4 > Eat Less But More Often

Instead of going with the traditional 3 meal routine (breakfast, lunch and dinner) that we are all so used to since we were kids, go with a 4 to 5 meal program. Since blood sugar levels play an essential role in our energy levels through the day, eating fewer and larger meals tends to cause our sugar levels to spike and crash. This is especially true when there are 5 or more hours in between meals. Splitting up our nutrition intake into four or five smaller meals a day will prevent the spikes and crashes in our blood glucose levels, giving us a more balanced feeling of being nutritionally satisfied throughout the day.


Key #5 > Say YES to Whole Foods

Whole foods such as seeds provide nutritional balance that takes time for our bodies to digest and break down, providing us more energy throughout the day and a more steady supply of energy after we consume them. Carbohydrate rich foods, on the other hand, are digested more quickly and require more energy for digestion, causing energy spikes and crashes that prevent us from staying awake during the day.


Key #6 > Say YES to Fruits

The key here is to eat fruit with low glycemic index ratings on an empty stomach. Because fruit takes less time to digest than denser carbohydrate and protein rich foods, eating organic raw fruits on an empty stomach will give our blood sugar levels a quick boost without the crash.