Day 124-2 (R, 120503) — Sugar

Do You Taste It?  Years ago when we were addicted to television, Mrs. NJ and I really enjoyed watching Iron Chef; not the bastardized versions hosted by William Shatner and Alton Brown (love ya, Bill and Alton, but Iron Chef USA and Iron Chef America sucked) but the original one from Japan.

One of our favorite memes in the show was that practically every tasting had one reviewer or another gushing about how “ABC brought out the natural sweetness of [secret ingredient] XYZ.”  As in, “I’m amazed at how these scorpion peppers bring out the delicate, natural sweetness of the harvested-by-virgins-under-a-full-moon-on-a-leap-day sea salt in this dish.”

Sweet?  The hottests peppers in the world


The comments were often ridiculous and we eagerly awaited the moment in each new battle — fish, seaweed, bamboo, lobster, ostrich, what have you — just so we could laugh at whichever impressed panelist made the infamous comment.

How is this relevant to anything?  Well, you see . . . when I’m conscientiously following my low-carb plan, avoiding sugars and starches of all types, I am much more attuned to the taste of sugars in the things I eat, especially when I have some a nibble of something I’m not supposed to.*

It’s In Everything.  A few years back, I read an article called 20 Secrets Your Waiter Won’t Tell You.  One of the tips was :

What You Don’t Want to Know — We put sugar in our kids’ meals so kids will like them more. Seriously. We even put extra sugar in the dough for the kids’ pizzas. – Waitress at a well-known pizza chain

It doesn’t stop at kid’s meals, folks.

An Anecdote.  One day as we were coming home, Mrs. NJ and I were tired and didn’t feel like cooking.  I had been good recently but was having a Free Day so we stopped at Sonic to grab some grub.  One of the things we ordered was a large order of onion rings.

As I tasted sugar more easily at the time, when I bit into the onion ring I damn near spit the thing out of my mouth.  It might as well have been glazed like a Krispy Kreme: holy CRAP was there a lot of sugar in the breading.

When I mentioned it to Mrs. NJ, who eats a fairly standard SAD, even she could taste it.  They were so sweet I didn’t want dessert and she couldn’t eat any more either.  We ended up throwing them away and haven’t tried them again.

Other Places I Taste the Sugar.  Prepared pasta sauce is a big one.  I can’t stand it anymore.  Look on most labels and you’ll see HFCS and other added sugars all over the place.

Many bread products also seem sweet to me.  Of course things like blueberry muffins are sweet — they’re supposed to be — but I can taste the sugar in things like English muffins and cornbread (and not even sweet cornbread at that).

Most condiments I don’t make myself (ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc.) are so sweet I can’t stomach them.  Even commercially produced mayo can taste like Miracle Whip [blech!] sometimes.

Genesis.  I decided to write this post after I read an article on the other day: 15 Surprising Sources of Added Sugar**

Their list includes things like coleslaw, BBQ sauce, ketchup, and flavored yogurt.  Some of these things I think would more accurately be called “sources of added sugar” since they aren’t all that surprising.   Does anyone seriously think that flavored yogurt and chocolate milk don’t include a buttload of sugar?

Given that I notice this in myself, my question to you is:

When are you surprised to taste sugar
when following a LCD?

Let me know in the comments.  I’m really interested to hear about your experience.


* Though I am not at the level of the good Dr. Harris who says half-and-half tastes like a milkshake to him.  I guess I’m not that pure.
** See also Popular Kids’ Drinks to Avoid which gives the nutrition info on lots of things people feed their kids everyday.  Even me. =(

4 responses to “Day 124-2 (R, 120503) — Sugar

  1. It’s unavoidable, unfortunately. It’s everywhere. I finally found an acceptable greek yogurt in one of my local supermarkets (and I’m located in a bustling ‘exoburb’ that has all kinds of supermarkets within a few miles of me). Most are ‘low-fat’ or ‘non-fat’ or have a big “2%”, etc. on them and still plenty of sugar.

    I know yogurt isn’t a good low-carb food but it seems to agree with me while on maintenance.

    • I eat Greek Gods Artemis Traditional Plain (full-fat, unsweetened) yogurt. It has 5 g of carbs in 4 oz. Add in a bit of Truvia or berries (if I am allowing myself extra carbs that evening) and it’s usually enough to satisfy my sweet-tooth without breaking the carb-bank. The great things is that I can pick it up at Walmart. (If Walmart offends you, more expensive stores like Whole Foods or Central Market carry it, too. ;-))

      If you know of a full-fat Greek unsweetened yogurt with fewer carbs, I’d be interested in hearing about it.


      New John

  2. I went to this Thai resturant and was horrified when I found that they washed the salad greens in a sugar mixture to compliment the sugar dressing. Needless to say there was nothing on the menu that didn’t have some sugar in it … I asked. I went home STARVING.

    • Restaurants can suck. I took my family to chili’s once (they got me with a cheap kids’ meal coupon ;-)), fully intending to be good. I ordered the ribs, dry, to avoid the too-sweet-I’m-sure BBQ sauce.

      Little did I know that the RUB they used was half sugar as well. Ugh!

      Not wanting to waste the food, I had an impromptu Free Meal and let my disappointment fade so I could enjoy the time with my wife and kids.

      Not wanting to repeat a mistake, I haven’t gone back to Chili’s since. 😉


      New John

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