Dinner or Dessert? Beware the Sugar

by Nick Livermore

Sugar is everywhere. It’s directly linked to obesity and elevated heart risk. Many of the foods we eat are laden with hidden sugar. Thankfully, it is increasingly becoming common knowledge that heavily processed foods are loaded with not only sugar, but a host other substances that your body simply does not need. We break down the top sugar culprits – avoid these at the grocery store or use with caution.


Marinades – these syrups liquids are loaded with extra calories. Substitute the marinade for a dry rub – bonus points if you make your own.

Condiments – be wary of these table gems – especially Ketchup, which in some instances is one-thirds sugar! Opt for yellow American mustard (zero calories) or wow your guests with all-natural, delicious ketchup from somewhere like First Field.

Frozen Dinners – how do you get something to taste good after it’s been frozen for a year? Lots of salt and sugar. It’s essential to read the labels on these, or even better, make your own food and freeze it!

Bottled Beverages – sodas, teas and juices.. they all taste so good! Because they have more sugar in them than you can imagine. Diet drinks? Be warned about the harsh side effects of artificial sweeteners – more on that soon. Your best is the antiquated choice – beer water.

Oatmeal – In recent years, oatmeal has become a breakfast staple in many households. Be wary, though, as pre-packaged oatmeals contain an inordinate amount of sugar all in the name of good taste! Make your own and opt for plain oatmeal and jazz it up yourself.

Yogurt – Greek yogurt has taken off in the last twelve months and for good reason. Going Greek generally doubles your protein intake and plain varieties contain no sugar. The pre-made parfaits at your local store are culprits, too. Think cheap and fake.

Pasta Sauces – Think ketchup but you are eating more of it. Cheap store-bought varieties are full of packed with sugar and salt.

Fruit Jams & Jellies –Yes, fruit contains sugar. But cheap brands add sugar to make up for the out-of-season or generally poor quality of their ingredients. One popular brand contains three different sweeteners. Why? If they listed sugar as one ingredient, it would be the first ingredient listed on the label. Gross.

It’s vital to note that sugar itself is not to blame, it’s the high levels of calories vs. nutrients provided by its intake. The key takeaway – read food labels. By being mindful of such constraints, one can easily avoid eating too much sugar and lessen the number of calories consumed. What other foods do you recommend avoiding to steer clear of sugar?

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