Hide and Seek: The Top 4 Hidden Sources of Sugar


Countless clients of mine have raved about the ways in which their lives have completely transformed after having cut sugar from their diets.  It’s a simple switch, but removing sugar from one’s diet can save individuals from developing harmful diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease and the list just goes on and on.  Giving up the sweet stuff is a preventative measure for your health and the health of your loved ones, and it will make lasting, noticeable changes in your current health. Once you ditch sugar, you’ll quickly notice less digestive issues, more energy, less cravings, a healthier sleep cycle, a faster metabolism, weight stabilization, mood stabilization, and general health improvement. There’s so much to gain from losing the ingredient that sneaks its way into several processed items you’ll find in the aisles of your local grocery store.

Ridding your diet of sugar is the first step. You’ll notice endless benefits to the overall health of your body and mind, and it won’t take long for insulin levels to balance and cravings to come to a complete halt!

So that cold pressed green juice you just guzzled or the organic lemon grass dressing you’re using on salad tonight may contain high levels of fructose or low sugar sweeteners of which you weren’t even aware! Let’s discuss where you might be consuming sugars and how to remove them from your diet for good so that you can maintain that nutrient dense, maximized lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to achieve.


Once you’ve transformed to a nutrient dense, low to no sugar diet you will become educated that most store bought condiments are filled with sugars that are harmful to your body. Let’s run through a list of condiments of which we should be aware. Ketchup is killer on the list of high sugar products. This condiment is sweetened with many sugars like fructose, glucose, dextrose, or artificial sweeteners like saccharin. It can be easily replaced with organic or low sugar ketchup that is typically sweetened with natural fruit juice: mustard ketchup

 These are some of my favourite natural, organic, sugar-free, store-brand condiments!

Other commonplace household condiments like mayonnaise or barbecue sauce are especially high in sugar. You can simply make a delicious mayonnaise dressing at home, which cuts out the sugars involved with the highly processed store bought option. Perhaps you use salt and pepper on your meals for tasting. To the lay-person, this seems as elementary as it comes in terms of condiments. However, some salts actually contain sugars.  This is shocking!


Salt is not supposed to contain sugar.  Invert Sugar is sugar.

Even stevia, which is a natural sweetener has been recently shown (in the case of some brands) to contain some sugars! 


 Stevia is not supposed to contain sugar.  Dextrose is sugar.


Of course fruits are generally a good substitute for highly processed, store bought snacks, especially amongst individuals who are looking to clean up unhealthy eating patterns. However, not all fruits are created equally. It’s important for individuals consuming a low to no sugar diet to understand the glycemic index in fruits. You see, certain fruits contain a high glycemic index while other fruits contain a low glycemic load. This is important because fruits like pineapple or mangoes, which have a high glycemic index, can deeply affect individuals with blood sugar issues.

These types of fruits are damaging to cell membranes and can spike insulin levels. Do these types of fruits cause obesity? Of course not. However, individuals looking to detox or looking to get rid of infections should avoid these fruits because of their glycemic index. Fruits like blueberries or raspberries, which contain a low glycemic load are a better option as they will keep insulin levels balanced and won’t damage cell membranes. Choose fruits with a low glycemic load and eat them earlier in the day to ensure balance in insulin levels and reduce your risk of inflammation.

For a review of the fruits allowed on the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, check out my summaries of the Core and Advanced Plans.

Healthy Drinks and Juice

Markets and health food stores cram their shelves with “healthy drinks” and new age juices that are appealing to the eye. However, these drinks contain just as much sugar as commercial store bought drinks. For example, the amount of cane or coconut sugar in some popular Kombucha drinks is enough to throw off insulin levels, which naturally leads to cravings. Other drinks like cold pressed juices or organic store bought juices also contain “natural” sugar like cane sugar or agave, which has the same affect to your body. High levels of “natural” sugars in healthy drinks like these have the same capability of spiking your insulin levels, so it’s best to avoid them all together. Instead, try lemon infused water, cucumber mint infused water, or if you’re really look for a treat try a refreshing drink sweetened with all natural stevia. Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade is always a hit!

Unhealthy Drinks

The drinks we’ll discuss here are harmful to your health, will send your insulin levels sky-rocketing, and put you at risk for serious diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.  So why are we talking about them? I thought it important to touch on the toxic drinks that are readily available on commercial shelves across North America and magnify the sugars involved. Drinks like Rockstar or Redbull are a complete anomaly.

The energy provided comes from caffeine and sugar of course, and will cause adrenal fatigue, insulin imbalance, inflammation, and serious risk for disease. It’s safe to say that these products should be completely avoided, as they are poison to your body.

Other less aggressive unhealthy drinks, like store bought fruit juices, are also a culprit on the sugar list.  Just because “fruit” is featured in the label, doesn’t mean this product is at all nutritious. In fact, commercial fruit juices contain many different types of sugars like glucose, fructose, and corn syrup.  These juices should also be completely avoided.  Instead, try lemon, raspberry or blueberry infused water with a hint of stevia … or, heaven forbid, drink water.

Removing sugar from one’s diet certainly isn’t easy. The only way to really lick the sugar habit is cold turkey, so it can be a challenging first two weeks for many individuals. However, after you’ve surpassed those initial stages of detox, your body will feel better than ever and cravings will completely subside.  Keep these hidden sources of sugar as a reference to understand where sugar might be hiding out and sabotaging your clean routine.


Dr. B.J. Hardick

About Dr. B.J. Hardick

Dr. B.J. Hardick is a Doctor of Chiropractic and internationally-recognized natural health author and speaker. His health journey began as a child — alternative medicine is the only medicine he has ever known. In 2009, he authored his first book, Maximized Living Nutrition Plans. In 2018, he authored his second book, Align Your Health. An energizing and passionate speaker, Dr. Hardick shares his lifestyle methods to numerous professional and public audiences every year in the United States and Canada. His teachings encompass the principles of ancestral nutrition, detoxification, functional fitness, mindfulness, and green living. Learn More