Hidden sugar in our low & fat free foods.

Written by Debra Thomas, INHC


Fourteen thousand years ago we were hunters and gatherers. Our only dietary choices were whole fresh foods and wild animals. Over the last 100 years the industrial revolution has changed the quality of our food to products that has been sprayed heavily with pesticides and manipulated through GMO’s, (genetically modified organisms), offering little nutritional value. Fats and oils have been refined. Animals are fed GMO soy, corn and wheat. Trans fat, GMO soy and sugar/high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are in every processed and low/fat-free foods you find on grocery shelves.

Our Omega 3’s which we need to absorb from whole foods are being depleted, while Omega 6 oils, in processed foods, are increasing. Obesity and diabetes are now an epidemic and cancer is reported to continue to increase through 2025. Our food is meant to be our energy source and healer, but we are nutritionally starving. Let’s take a little closer look at how this all happened and ask yourself, “How’s that working for you today?”

Sugar has been around since the beginning of time in the form of fruits and some vegetables. The first sugar refinery was built in 1689, and suddenly sugar became very easy to get. Within ten years the average person consumed four pounds of sugar a year! Today, the average American eats over 130 lbs a year. (The How did things get so out of control so fast? The truth is that, it was not a fast transition, in fact it was a slow deliberate transition, and we didn’t even see it coming.

We are told our processed food is healthy. Exercising is a necessary way of life. However, diabetes, heart disease and obesity are still rising. We are told to eat non-fat/low fat foods. The food guide pyramid was introduced in 1992 by the American Heart Association and the FDA. Calories were free, we were told we could eat anything we wanted… as long as it was fat free. Carbs were at the bottom allowing us to eat 6-12 servings daily (bread, rice, pasta, cereal). At the top of the pyramid were the fats and oils which we were to use sparingly.

Fat makes our food taste good, and if the consumer is going to be consuming fat-free products, they had to come up with a solution that will still keep their pockets lined with dough, I mean, cash. So, enter added sugar and chemicals. It is a well-known fact that sugar has the same effect on our brain as dopamine, making us think we need more. The food companies were once again making lots of money!

The big food companies were winning. The consumers, not so much. Fat-free foods are processed foods with up to 10 different sugars and chemical ingredients added to each package  including those marketed as “healthy alternatives” like yogurt, protein bars, fat-free salad dressings, and even organic processed foods, (also a poor nutritional choice.)

When processed food is marketed as “healthy”, you can pretty much bet it’s not.  Food manufacturers are not as concerned with your health, as their bottom line. In fact, the FDA lacks the manpower and budget to conduct extensive testing, so they rely on testing done by food manufacturers. Not surprising, the food companies tell the FDA that all testing was within normal limits. The FDA then labels them as GRAS–generally regarded as safe, until they are challenged by a group or organization who has performed an independent research and found different results than the company’s research.

“Doctors, nutritionist, our government, scientist, and the media have brainwashed us into believing that when you eat fat – it gets turned into fat in your body or worse, it clogs your arteries. Except none of this is scientifically true. It is based on flawed science and ignores compelling evidence to the contrary. Our fear of fat has created a big fat health mess.” Mark Hyman, MD “Eat Fat Get Thin.” 

Carbohydrates are one of the 3 macronutrients in the diet; fat and protein are the other two. The carbohydrate group consist of different types of sugars, such as white sugar (sucrose), sugar from fruits (fructose), and milk and dairy products (lactose). There are over 65 different names for sugar, hidden in the ingredient list of your favorite processed foods. To complicate matters even more, carbohydrates (refined starches like white flour, rice, cereals), also turn into simple sugars for the body to convert into glucose, which turns into fuel for our body.

Our body does not need as much sugar as we feed it on an American diet, so to ensure that we have plenty of “fuel” for when the going gets lean, it stores the excess energy, (sugar), as fat around our mid-section.

“Sugar by any other name is … well … still sugar. You can find it in almost everything you eat, especially fat free foods! Yep, fat makes everything taste better. Take the fat out of a food, you have a tasteless blob of stuff nobody would ever eat. So, along comes a great marketing idea – add hidden sugar in fat free foods, no one will ever know! Except we are getting sick, obese, diabetic, heart disease, and cancers mostly because of the hidden sugar in our foods.” (Feeding the Furnace – A Nutritional Approach to Healing Thyroid Disease).

Can you locate the sugar content from various kinds of healthy, fat-free yogurt? In this yogurt example (think boxed breakfast) there are four added teaspoons of sugar alone. Divide the sugar grams by 4 to calculate the added sugars by teaspoons. (Remember carbs are also counted as sugar, but that’s for another article.)The USDA recommended daily amount is six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men.

Our body needs good healthy fat. “Good” fats are essential to our cell development, helps our body absorb oil based nutrients, like vitamins E, K, D, (the essential fatty acids), and brain development. Our body does not create essential fatty acids, so we need to get them through our foods, such as avocados, nuts (other than peanuts), olive oil, coconut, and butter from grass fed cows. Our body knows how to break down food fats and use them as energy. However, it does not know how to breakdown chemicals, MSG and sugars that are added to fool our tastes buds.

Take away messageProblem: Over the past 14,000 years, we’ve learned that sweet, salty and fatty foods can give us the energy to keep us alive. Food manufacturers capitalize on this instinctual draw and engineer profitable food products that mimic these traits without providing the nutrition that would accompany natural whole foods. (Adding sugar and chemicals.) Most Americans are still conditioned into believing we need to reduce our fat intake. Added sugar, pesticides on our food, GMO foods, along with the missing good fat, has helped in the decline of our health. Americans are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases, diabetes, obesity and heart disease at alarming rates.   Solution: Eat mindfully, chose your foods wisely, read labels, know the hidden names of sugar, eat good fats and whole foods, organic when possible.  A list of the names of 65 hidden sugars are on my web page:   www.FeedTheFurnace.com