I think one of the hardest things I’ve realised in the last year as I’ve embarked on this diet is just how much misinformation there is out there about food. So many times I’ve bought things that I have thought, or been led to think through careful branding, are healthy only to realise later that they contain sugar.
It actually surprised me just how many everyday products I used before had sugar in them. So much so that I’ve become obsessed with checking the label on anything new because I’m positive it will contain sugar. On the upside, this means I’m pleasantly surprised when something contains only natural ingredients and has no added sugar or preservatives of any kind.
I’m hoping this article can help point out a few everyday things that people eat or drink, that they might think are healthy but are really just another piece of sugar you don’t need in your life. I’ll also help you by providing suitable alternatives so that you too can try to lead a healthier life with a little less sugar.
If you’re trying to kick that dairy from your diet than you may well already be using almond milk, and two thumbs up to you if you are. But did you know that most almond milk has sugar added to it? You have to be very careful when choosing your milk to make sure it’s sugar free.
Instead look out for the unsweetened version such as Alpro’s which has an orange top.
Suggested Substitute: Alpro Unsweetened Roasted Almond Milk
This was a really tough one for me to give up because I used mayo a lot – in salads and on sandwiches and quite frankly I felt lost at first. Honestly I just didn’t understand why sugar is even in mayonnaise except as a preservative but I’d prefer the option of a no-sugar mayo that has a shorter shelf life myself – what about you?
All is well though because I discovered that most vegan mayonnaise’s don’t contain sugar – my favourite is the Soy-free Vegenaise by Follow your heart. Warning though – it does have brown rice syrup so I only allow myself this from time to time.
Substitute: Vegenaise by Follow Your Heart
You know this is a funny one because I really thought it would be easy to find a mustard alternative without sugar but it’s really hard! I used dijon mustard a lot in homemade salad dressings which I thought were healthy but clearly weren’t.
The only alternative here that I can find is Colman’s english mustard powder. I usually throw half a tsp in with my olive oil, apple cider vinegar and other herbs / spices to make the perfect dressing every time.
Substitute: Colman’s English Mustard Powder
As a person on the candida diet, I had to give up bread because of the yeast. However, what I really noticed is that sugar is in almost all breads, bagels and wraps. It’s kind of scary you think you’re being good with your wholemeal bread and it turns out it’s full of sugar too.
My suggestion is to look out for sugar on the bread you’re buying – I use McCambridges brown bread which is delicious and both sugar and yeast free.
Substitute: McCambridge’s Wholewheat Stone-Ground Bread
Unless you’re buying 100% natural yoghurt the likelihood is that you’re eating sugar, even in the healthy looking yoghurts. This one really annoys me too because natural yoghurt with added fruit is so delicious and doesn’t require sugar at all, and yet, most brands add in refined sugar too. Add some extra seeds or nuts to it to take it to the next level.
Substitute: Any 100% natural probiotic yoghurt with a dollop of Dalfour sugar-free jam
New rule of thumb for you, if it comes in a jar, it’s 95% likely to have sugar in it and pasta sauces are a major culprit of this particular offence. So far I haven’t yet found a pasta sauce without sugar so I have become a master of creating them from scratch – and guess what – they taste better, richer and don’t have to take long!
Substitute: 15-Min Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce
A good breakfast helps you kick off the day properly, but sometimes there isn’t time so breakfast bars are the perfect solution. The problem? Most of them are loaded with sugar and only give the illusion through careful marketing and branding that they are healthy.
My solution is to make my own and they are both good for you and taste so delicious.
Substitute: Homemade grain-free granola bars
Most cereals have sugar in them too which is such a bad start to the day. I try to steer clear of these and mostly eat gluten-free porridge with unsweetened almond milk. I also allow myself to occasionally eat cereals that contain honey instead which is a slightly better alternative, but even better try cereals that are sweetened only with natural fructose such as this one:
Substitute: Foods of Athenry Nutty Crunchy Granola
I said it before and I’ll say it again – if it’s in a jar it probably has sugar. This really upset me because I was trying very hard to eat healthy food such as salads only to find out that almost all salad dressings have sugar in them. There’s no excuse for this when you can make a delicious and nutritious salad dressing of your own in a couple of minutes – so drop this from your fridge.
Substitute: 2-Min Homemade Salad Dressing
Cut that sugar out
I hope this article has helped to open your eyes. What I’ve learnt on my journey is that just because you don’t eat sweet things doesn’t mean that your diet is healthy.
Don’t forget that sugar isn’t the enemy (unless you have candida overgrowth like me) but you want to at least know when you’re eating it so that you can ensure you’re not consuming too much.
I challenge you to try one week without sugar to see if you can do it – go on and read those labels and see just how much sugar is in your life.
Tag me @acdblogger on instagram or @sdssarah on twitter and use the hashtag #oneweekwithoutsugar so we can track your journey together. Share your experiences and the sugar-free substitutes you find so that we can all learn from it.
Gallery of my recommendations: