Lose the Sugar, Too?!!

Ah . . . the 20s were great! Eat on the run, fast food, and quite a few dinner dates. Then came the 30s with two young kids and occasional fish sticks, hot dogs or macaroni pre- game/pre-ballet dinners that were balanced out with “healthy” snacks like Goldfish or Cheerios. Next came the 40s. This is what I’ve been waiting for. The kids are out and about, meal time is less hurried and maybe, if you’re lucky, you have a few more dinner dates with the wife. The food is better and richer, with large, home-style portions, warm bread and rich desserts. I know that all reasonable adults share in my happiness – everyone, that is, except my physician.

In my forties, I finally have a chance to take my time and eat “adult” food: what I like, when I like and where I like. Gourmet four-star restaurants or places recommended by HowChow, a life free of nuggets and grilled cheese…. and my physician has the nerve to utter the words, “pre diabetic?”  Shut the refrigerator door! I already took my dining habits down a notch when you threw that whole cholesterol thing at me. I am watching sodium mgs, fat mgs, all of my mgs. But now sugar too? Who even knew sugar had mgs!

Okay. So I can nip this thing in the bud, correct? My having control does “sweeten the pot” a bit. Let’s take this step by step.

The first thing to do is get online and research. I find it hard to believe that you can actually make a meal with little or no sugar, but a quick Google search results in “Best Sugar Free Recipes.” Wow! There are hundreds of tested and approved recipes, not just recommended by doctors or nutritionists, but by real people like me.

Next comes a trip to the grocery store. After all, a sugar-free pantry just doesn’t happen on its own. Better take along the new recipes and the reading glasses. Welcome to Label Reading 101. Everything we purchase, well almost, will be sugar free or very low in sugar content; let’s go with six grams or less as a starting point. The bad news. . .  that black raspberry jelly we love so much? A thing of the past. The good news. . . there is such a thing as sugar-free ice cream and it’s made by a yummy brand-name company. This might work after all. After quite some time in the store, making comparison after comparison and spending quite a bit of money, we are done. Restocking a pantry is not a small or cheap task.

Once back in the kitchen, we toss some of the old, evil sugary foods. We will give some of the less harmful items away and keep those that aren’t too lethal. It’s time to start prepping for a healthy, low sodium, low sugar, delicious and completely homemade Chinese meal. Amazingly, it tastes fresh and pretty darn close to carry out. That helps both our health and our budget. And it really took no longer than usual. This may not be as hard as I thought.


Read more about The Toxic Truth About  Sugar in this month’s Nature magazine, or listen to this NPR interview.


Karen Sterner, Catonsville. She who can bring home the low salt turkey bacon and fry it up in a pan! Wife, mother, chef, chauffeur, planner, vet, nursemaid, and most recently, self proclaimed nutritionist, who wouldn’t trade it for the world! Oh… and Special Events Coordinator for the Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications Department.


  1. Gotta watch the artificial sweeteners. They are just as bad for you as sugar.


  1. March is National Nutrition Month! - Well and Wise | Well and Wise - [...] calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages.  Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added …

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