The Top 5 Hidden Sugar Offenders

close up photo of sugar cubes in glass jar
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

When you think of sugars, most people think of birthday cake, ice cream, and candy! Many don’t realize that carbohydrates are actually digested and broken down into sugars prior to entering the bloodstream. Eating foods high in carbohydrates is almost synonymous to foods high in sugar.

Research studies show that excess sugar increases your risk for chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Therefore reducing the amount of carbohydrates in your meals is essential to living a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, some processed foods and other seemingly healthier food options have a high sodium content, which is balanced out by adding hidden sugar. Foods you would assume are healthy are actually full of sugars in disguise, either as carbohydrates or added sugars.

Sugar reduction is a major component of the ketogenic lifestyle, which many including myself have attributed their significant weight loss to this method of eating. If you are transitioning to a low carbohydrate lifestyle, here are my top hidden sugar offenders to avoid:

1. Fruit Juices/Sports Drinks

Fruit juices and Sports Drinks are all carbohydrates with little to no fiber. One 20-ounce sports drink contains 34 grams of sugar! 100% Fruit Juices are in the same ballpark. Consider water, unsweetened tea or coffee as your main sources for hydration for expedited weight loss. 

2. Frozen Dinners

While frozen dinners are super convenient, they are not a healthy choice for reducing sugar. Preservatives like starch and corn syrup (which are made up of sugar) are added to keep these foods fresh, making the average carbohydrate level 30 grams or more. Sodium is also used as a preservative, which increases your cholesterol levels and increases your risk of high blood pressure. Thankfully some brands such as Atkins, Real Good Foods, Life/Lean Cuisine are providing low carbohydrate versions of frozen dinners. If you must have a frozen dinner, remember to check the nutrition facts to see if they are high in carbohydrates. 

3. Smoothies

When made the right way using vegetables as a base with some fruit for sweetness, smoothies can be a great healthy choice. However, most smoothie mixes that are sold in stores or juice bars are filled with added sugar. Fast food Smoothies also add liquid sweeteners to their blends. Your best way of avoiding hidden sugar smoothies is to make vegetable-based smoothies at home, using a handful of whole fresh berries.

4. Cereals/Granola

Granola Bars and Cereals are often advertised as a health food. However, they are essentially candy bars in disguise. With an ingredient list that includes dextrose, honey, fructose, sugar, and corn syrup, it is nearly impossible to find cereal or granolas that contains less than 10grams of carbohydrates per serving. Even the healthiest brands range from 20-30grams of carbohydrates. If you are craving a warm bowl of cereal, consider my Keto Porridge Recipe from my 7 Day Modified Keto Vegetarian Meal Plan

5. Ketchup/Barbecue Sauce

Ketchup contains 4 grams per tablespoon which can easily add up when placed on your food. Consider switching to yellow mustard, chipotle mayo, or any other cream based condiment to keep your carbohydrate levels low. 

Unfortunately, there are way more than 5 Hidden Sugar Offenders out there. Ultimately, the best way to avoid all hidden sugar offenders is to read nutrition facts prior to purchasing certain foods. Even if you think it’s healthy, you may be surprised by what you find!
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Top 5 Fast Food Options for the Vegetarian Keto Diet

image1-510 years ago I embarked on the journey of becoming vegetarian during my freshman year of college. Last year, I discovered the keto diet while attempting to slim down for my wedding and have been on/off it ever since. As a young adult and a registered nurse, I live a pretty fast paced life. With extremely long work hours and two jobs, just finding time to spend with my family, manage my small business, attend church regularly, sleep and travel can be a challenge. To make matters worse, being a vegetarian and keto usually isn’t something you can do on the whim. It’s something you need to plan for. Thankfully, there are some fast food options out there that can make a vegetarian keto diet easier when you’re on the go.

  1. Starbucks 

My favorite breakfast when I’m late to work is the Sous Vide Egg White & Red Pepper from Starbucks. I like to pair it with Grande Iced Coffee with a light splash of Heavy Whipping Cream and 4 Pumps of Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce for a total of 14 Carbs. This is a pretty heavy breakfast (carbohydrate wise) for someone trying to maintain under 35 carbs for the day. However, it is definitely possible with lower carb options for lunch and dinner.

  1. Smoothie King

Smoothie Kings smoothies that are fruit based and filled with sugar are not appropriate for the keto diet. However, The Gladiator Vanilla totals to 6 net carbs for 20 ounce drink and is quite filling due to the amount of protein.

  1. Chipotle

Chipotle gives you the option to build your own salad bowl, which can be made keto. Ask for a salad bowl with lettuce, easy (VERY EASY) on the beans, fajitas, cheese, mild or medium salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. Skip the rice and the vinaigrette because both are heavy in carbs. This meal can be under 10 carbs if you put just a sprinkle of beans or skip them altogether.

  1. Panera Bread

Since bread is in the name of this fast food restaurant, you already know that keto options may be limited. A Caesar salad without the croutons is one of the few keto-vegetarian friendly items on the menu. Adding a cup of their Ten Vegetable Soup is 8 net carbs.

  1. Noodles and Company

When you substitute regular pasta for Zoodles (zucchini noodles) in the Penne Rosa at Noodles and Company, it totals out to 9 Net Carbs. I live to add the seasoned tofu to mine, which increases the net carbs to 12. The Penne Rosa sauce is a red tomato-based sauce with a hint of spice, topped with feta or parmesan cheese. It’s a perfect vegetarian dinner for a keto-vegetarian on the go. Their Wisconsin Mac and Cheese with Zoodles is an even lower carb option and with tofu is also very delicious.

The Take Away…

Yes, being a keto-vegetarian takes planning! However, it doesn’t mean you can’t enough the luxury of stopping somewhere after work to pick up something quick to eat. I hope to see more options on the fast food menus as more people decide to choose the keto-vegetarian lifestyle.

 

Photo Source @FoodBeast