Sugar Free, Really?

Sugar Free, Really?

Char Kooima, Dietitian

By Char Kooima, Dietitian, Murray County Medical Center

During the holiday season, I find many questions surface around sugar free items.  There are many patients that will say they can’t understand why their blood sugars are higher because they are eating sugar free goodies.  This thinking will cause you more harm than good.  Let’s look at what happens when a food manufacturer converts a recipe to a sugar free version or a good faith friend brings a “sugar-free” dessert to a family get together.

Questions to always ask yourself:

  • If sugar was taken out, what was put back in to make it sweet?
    • Typically, it is a modified food starch which is a carbohydrate
    • If it is a fruit or fruit-based paste – it has natural carbohydrate
    • If a sugar substituted is used, more than likely extra fat is added to keep it all mixed together
  • Compare the food label to the original product
    • Focus on the portion size
    • Compare total carbohydrate
    • Review fat content
  • Compare cost
    • Sugar free items are generally more expensive and the portion size is smaller

The bottom line is enjoy snacking during the holiday season but be smart about what you are eating.  Don’t let words lead you to believe you are eating “free” or can eat more of it because it is sugar free.

Join us for a Fun & Interactive…
Surviving the Holidays Grocery Store Tour at Jim’s Market!
Thursday, December 20th, 5:30 PM
Jim’s Market in Slayton

Grocery Store Tour OverviewSurviving the Holidays Grocery Store Tour

  • Explain grocery store layout and how it can affect buying choices
  • Reading and understanding labels
  • Comparing labels to make the best choices for heart health
  • Understand how to use a food label to count carbohydrates

Tour Areas/Stopping Points

  1. Impulse buying at the front of the store
    1. How higher fat/treats are sold right as you walk in
  2. Fresh fruits and vegetables
    1. Tips for choosing
  3. Meat Counter
    1. Selecting leaner cuts of meat, identifying healthy choices
  4. Dairy Section
    1. Reviewing choices of milk, butter, margarine
  5. Cereal/Breakfast
    1. Identifying those that are better choices than others
  6. Bread/whole grain
    1. How to know you are getting whole grains not just “brown” bread
  7. Fruit juice/beverages
    1. How to distinguish between beverages
  8. Frozen section
    1. Compare sugar free items to non-sugar free items

Benefits of participating in the Grocery Store Tour

  • Manufacturer’s coupons
  • 5% store discount at Jim’s Market – Slayton
  • Aisle-by-aisle guided tour by Registered Dietitian
  • Door Prize
  • Handouts for healthy holiday eating
  • Carbohydrate counting booklet

Hope to see you Thursday!



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