I always laugh when people tell me they’re doing the ketogenic diet, yet they’re drinking milk and eating nuts and aren’t counting the grams of sugar foods like this have on their daily carb (and sugar) count.
A true ketogenic diet means eating around 10 percent carbohydrates only. So if you’re eating 100 grams of carbs a day or more, chance you’re not actually really following the ketogenic diet.
This isn’t to say I’m pushing a ketogenic diet on you; It’s just to say some foods have carbs, and especially grams of sugar, you might be forgetting to track if you’re counting your macros, or are just trying to eat a low or no-sugar diet.
Let’s take a look at some of the unexpected sugar culprits:
All these years you thought it was better to put milk in your coffee or tea instead of heavy cream to avoid the fat…
If you’re trying to avoid sugar, this is the wrong approach.
A quick sugar glimpse:
- 8 oz. of skim milk, 1 percent milk and 2 percent milk have approximately 12 grams of sugar
- 8 oz. of half-and-half has 0.2 grams of sugar
- 8 oz. of heavy cream has 0.1 grams of sugar (most brands list this as 0 g of sugar)
Thus, if you’re trying to avoid sugar and not fat, stick to cream over milk. Try 33 or 36 percent cream: It’s delicious and sugar-free.
Another place the sinfully sneaky sugar is found are in nuts. Here’s a lit of various nuts, along with how much sugar each type contains per 100 grams.
Almonds: 3.9 g
Brazil nuts: 2.3 g
Pecans: 4 g
Walnuts: 2.6 g
Peanuts (I know, not a real nut): 4 g
Cashews: 6 g
Macademia: 4.6 g
Hazelnuts (also known as filberts): 4.3 g
Pistachio: 8 g
So by this standard, it’s best to avoid pistachio nuts and stick with walnuts and brazil nuts.
Another tip, if you’re buying nut butters, check the ingredients list and make sure there’s no added sugar.
Sauces, sauces, sauces:
You have probably heard this one before, but from store-bought salad dressings to canned tomatoes and tomato paste, you’re probably getting way more sugar than you realize.
A simple option for a salad dressing that takes three minutes to make and is sugar-free: Olive oil, balsamic vinegar (not a balsamic reduction: those have a ton of sugar), lime or lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano. Boom.
Here’s another big one: Tomato sauce! Usually the store-bought ones have a surprising amount of sugar. Believe it or not, it’s pretty easy to make your own.
Homemade tomato sauce: Saute onions and garlic until super soft (10-15 minutes). Add tomatoes and some water (or sugar-free broth) and let simmer. Then go nuts on spices like salt, pepper, dried or fresh basil and/or oregano, parsley, chilli powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper, if you’re into spice. Cook on medium heat for a good 20 minutes and then throw it all in a food processor and puree until smooth. If you want a creamy tomato sauce, just dump in half a cup or so of heavy cream once it’s all pureed. Or if it needs thinning out, add some water or broth. It will taste better than any store-bought tomato sauce and is, of course, sugar-free.
We all know booze has sugar, but let’s take a look at the better and worse ones in terms of sugar content:
Wine: Obviously it depends on the type of wine, but even some dry white wines can contain as much as 10 grams of sugar per 5 oz. glass, and most people drink more than 5 ounces. The sweeter reds and whites go up from there in terms of sugar content. Some dry reds and whites, however, do contain as little as 1 gram of sugar, so do your research and select those with less sugar.
Bubbly: Again, it depends on the type, but most champagne and proseccos have around 5 g of sugar per glass.
Fortified wines: These are the ones to avoid (think port or sherry or marsala). They can have as much as 150 g of sugar per litre. Something else to avoid: Mulled wine! Sometimes it has as much as 11 tsp. of sugar per glass.
Beer: While beer doesn’t contain much, if any sugar, it does has a lot of carbohydrate grams, usually in the 10 to 15 g of carbohydrates per 12 ounces of beer.
Cider: Let’s just go ahead and ban cider right now. Many ciders have as much as 20 grams of sugar per 500 mL of cider. That’s around 6 tsp. of sugar! And it’s pretty easy to guzzle 500 mL of delicious and refreshing apple cider.
Whiskey/Scotch: Better choice than beer and cider. Whiskey has little to no carbs or sugar. Things are looking up!
Gin: Winner, winner chicken dinner. Gin has 0 grams of sugar. It’s best to mix it with club soda and lime instead of tonic, though, as tonic water does have sugar, often 9 grams every 100 grams of tonic!
Vodka: Another winner! 0 grams of sugar. Once again, if you’re mixing it, don’t turn your sugar-free drink into a sugar-filled one. Lime, mint leaves, or cucumber are great things to add to your vodka-soda to make it a little more flavorful.
Tequila: Winner number 3: No sugar, no carbs! Tequila shot to your heart’s delight this Christmas season. Just kidding…
Here’s a good resource into the best “keto-friendly” boozy drinks: (https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto/alcohol-guide).
Yes, being sugar-free, or as low of sugar as possible, takes a bit more work, but it’s worth it: Your body (and happiness levels) will thank you or it.