** Amber's Belly Fat Cure Shopping List - Download or Print HERE **

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sneaky Foods

Just last night I was at the grocery store shopping for Apple Juice for my boys. They don't normally drink apple juice, but honestly they are looking mighty skinny to me lately. I figured apple juice is better than milk or sodas, they both like it and I can cut it with water to control the sugar content. I was THRILLED to find a "Low Sugar" option and put it in my cart. But as I started to walk away, I thought "Hmmm, HOW does it only have 6 grams of sugar and carbs when all the others have like 28?". And boom! right there on the label I see the Splenda logo. I'm a serious label checker, read the labels like my life depends on it (it does, actually) and I missed it! Aargh!

When this happens to me I feel tricked and misled to by the product. At least that juice had the Splenda logo on the front, but usually you have to read the fine print label to figure this out. And that is a huge pet peeve to me. I'd say 99.9% of all the products that people suggest to me on the Belly Fat Cure have artificial sweeteners in them, and the person didn't realize it.

Why, WHY, do some breads, tortillas, cereal and yogurts have artificial sweeteners in them? Shouldn't only candy have it? Surprisingly it is very common in these products and the first tip off is the word "Sugar Free". If the the nutritional label looks too good to be true... it most likely is. Another big tip off is very high fiber, yet it is low in carbs. These items have the artificial sweeteners like Splenda/Sucralose, Aspartame, Saccharin.

Are you annoyed that Jorge Cruise seems to be in cahoots with certain products that he recommends? Why does he only recommend a handful of products and not others? I thought that too, in the beginning. But then I realized there truly are so few products that have less than 5 grams of sugar AND are free of artificial sweeteners. I am now thankful that he points us in the right direction and that is why I take the time review products I find too.

These are my hall of shame products that fooled me once and taught me to read every single label:

Admittedly, it is hard to figure out what is in these products. Some of the ingredients lists are HUGE! Others, like the pudding, have allowed sugar alcohols listed first and then have an artificial sweetener listed also. Don't stop reading when you see the allowed sugar... keep on reading! For instance I wanted to include a Sara Lee Bread (other than the obvious Sugar Free bread they have) on the list that I knew had artificial sweeteners, but had trouble figuring which of their breads did or didn't have them.

I understand these sweeteners are FDA approved, of course. But I would like clearer labeling where we can see artificial ingredients quickly and easily. I truly believe that eliminating artificial sweeteners from my diet has been a key to getting all my weight off, and keeping it off for a year now. (Read more on my thoughts on this HERE)

Do you have a product that tricked you too? One you really thought would work on the Belly Fat Cure, read the label and thought it was all good? Please share!


  1. Hi Amber, I have learned so much be being on the BFC about artificial sweeteners. I used to eat all that stuff too and now realize that is was keeping me fat.
    Reading labels is half the time I spend in the store now. I do know some who eat those mission tortillas, and some people you just can't get thru to.
    Well - have a great day :-)

  2. It makes me darn mad that some kind of sweetener, whether it's sucralose, HFCS, sugar, aspartame, whatever is in nearly everything now! Why can't they just leave it out?!? Bread doesn't need 5 grams of sugar in it. *sigh* I read my labels too - it is what takes up most of my time in the store, too. I go by myself and have to consider it 'me time.' Heh. I don't have any shining examples right now, as it just seems like everything has some kind of sweetener in it. It's no wonder we have the obesity problem we do in the US these days.

  3. Amber thanks for your comments on my blog! I was using those mission WW carb balance tortillas. I thought they tasted better than the smart and delicious. I was thinking someone said they did not have sucralose in them. Yikes! They could have been the culprit in my not losing this week. I will cross them off my list. And here I thought I was becoming quite the label reader too! Thanks for a good post!

  4. Rosie is talking about me and the mission tortilla's! (I don't take it personal:) They have helped me IMMENSELY in my intake of fiber. The first pack I got did not have sucralose on the label, this pack does. ??? I still have diet soda once in awhile, I still eat white rolls once in awhile, I still eat high sugar fruits once in awhile. I think the amount of fiber overcomes the amount of sucralose in 1 single tortilla. Just my humble opinion which has gotten me in trouble before.

  5. Why in the world would there be artificial sweeteners in breads and tortillas? I really don't understand why foods would even need that.

  6. I got fooled with those Cocoa Almonds ( can't remember the exact name). I was addicted to them, and I think it was you who might have mentioned somewhere that they had sucralose in them. I miss them! Also, I didn't know that about the tortillas. I have bought them before, and I didn't know about the sucralose

  7. I'm curious as to why you think that low sugar apple juice is healthier than milk for your kids?

    Pure apple juice is naturally sweet from the natural sugars in the fruit. To be sure, that's a lot of sugar for us low carbers. So how do you take the sugar OUT of apple juice? Either water it down (you can do that yourself at home with a bottle of pure apple juice, that's what we do when our kids want it), or use chemicals to make apple flavored water that is artificially sweetened. So I'm curious as to why you thought that low sugar apple juice was going to be something good for your kids, since, if it has the usual color of regular apple juice, it's got to be full of artificial something?

    Whole milk, on the other hand, has protein, fat, calcium, and vitamin D--all things good for your kids. True that it is high in carbs, but you can cut the carbs by mixing it with heavy cream, unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk, or just serve coconut milk or almond milk in the first place.

    Since you wanted to put a little weight on your kids, the extra carbs in milk are fewer than those in pure apple juice--it will give them some extra carbs, but also fat and protein to balance the metabolic effect--apple juice, on the other hand, goes straight to blood glucose.

    I'm a milk lover, not involved in the industry or anything, but I'm just curious about your choice. For my kids, I'd pick milk any day.

  8. Anon - One of my kids has a lactose problem and cannot have milk, and part of my household is vegan so I was looking for something organic and natural other than milk, and was totally fooled by this product. And yes, I was totally stupid too and realized all the things you are saying AFTER I put it in the cart ;-) And yes, I cut it in half with water. I dont normally buy juice so I was unfamiliar with the options, which is the point of the post.

    Pattie - I remember that! It prompted me to find a low sugar way to enjoy nuts. Argh!

    Kay - If that is working for you, then keep on truckin'!

  9. I'm with you, Amber, this makes me SO mad!

    But I learned this years ago when I realized that my food allergy, to sulfites AND sulfates, was being triggered by just about everything I ate! Bread, pasta, "sports" drinks - even Dasani Water!

    I long ago learned to scour the ingredients lists, and yup, they still get me every now and then.

    Don't trust anything "Diet", "Lite" or "Sugar Free" until you've read the ingredients list three times. And read it every time you're about to serve yourself some of it! And if that list is longer than your college thesis, look for something with words you can pronounce! The shorter the list, the more at ease I feel trusting that there's nothing hiding in there I may have missed.

    I never blamed Jorge for promoting certain products, I'd be JUST as GENUINELY excited if I had found them!

  10. I hate milk and think it's strange how people always think it is healthy. Oh well. But thanks for this post, I found those "sneaky foods" all the time at the beginning of doing the BFC. Gum with xylitol PLUS artificial sugars are the ones that ticked me for a long time.

  11. I can see why you chose the apple juice given the lactose intolerance and the veganism. You have a lot of challenges and must feel a bit like a short order cook to accomodate everyone's dietary needs!

    Not stupid at all to fall for that marketing ploy! Companies spend a lot of money on making us think exactly that way to sell product.

  12. Hey Amber! I'm far behind on reading your blog but I did catch this one. I went back to Weight Watchers. Tried doing Jorge's plan but even on Fast Track, I wasn't losing anything and his team never helped me so I'm doing WW but I'm sticking with the low sugar options and staying away from artificial sweeteners and most processed foods. That's my way of getting the best of both worlds. I was irritated just recently myself with reading labels! First of all, sugar has so many names, they make it hard to even identify them. Then I found out that my favorite cereal, Fiber One, has aspartame! I almost never eat cereal because it's usually eggs or a protein shake (Jay Robb) but once in a while, I liked having it knowing it was high in fiber and didn't have sugar. One day I thought to myself "hmmm...sugar but I can taste some sweetness so where is that coming from?" UGH! ASPARTAME! Couldn't believe it! I had literally stocked up because I had sales and coupons and put them into big containers, throwing away the packaging so I was a little perturbed. Of course, I'm staying away from light and fat free foods and still being able to stay within my points by eating real foods like butter and mayo (for my deviled eggs!). Anyway, hope you are well, Amber!! :)