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If it says ‘KETO’ on the label, run like hell. Or at least read the nutritional label.
If it says, ‘Keto’ on the label, run like hell. Last weekend my wife and I went to Costco. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts in the keto groups on social media about some new keto products so I was intrigued.
I ended up with a large bag of bacon crumbles, avocado powder, and mixed nuts. Then I spotted something exciting – Keto Trail Mix! It sounded delicious! I could imagine the taste and texture so well. Salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy, all at once, my mouth may have watered a bit. It didn’t help that I was hungry at the time. I visualized myself devouring a handful or two of the trail mix on my way out the door. I reasoned that the trail mix would help to take my mind off of cheap Costco hotdogs and pizza which are definitely NOT keto.
I grabbed a container and turned it around to see the nutritional label. Even though it said ‘KETO’ in bold letters on the front label, I knew I had to take a closer look. It did say 6 net carbs right on the front too so I was happy to see that disclosure. On the back, we find that it contains nine total carbs with three grams of fiber resulting in 6 net carbs. In case you don’t know, some people doing keto count total carbs while others count net carbs. (I’ve seen several of the experts recommend that those with diabetes should count total carbs.) Either way, six or nine doesn’t seem like a lot but when you’re aiming for 20 or 25 for an entire day, that’s significant. It is however less than normal trail mix which may contain slightly more carbs or up to 3 or 4 times as many.
The really frustrating thing I found reading the ingredients (see photo) was that it contains SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, BROWN SUGAR, CANE SUGAR, AND DEXTROSE (a form of sugar). This is especially frustrating because it’s labeled as ‘Keto’ and sugar is not on the list for folks adhering to the ketogenic lifestyle. Sugar, in fact, should probably be avoided by most, if not everyone. It’s a pretty harmful substance in many ways.
I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe they were unaware, but it’s easy to research the appropriate food for the ketogenic way of eating and a large company like that is not likely to have made such a mistake.
It’s a shame because they could have used a keto-approved sweetener like stevia or monk fruit. (Monk fruit sweetener is my favorite!) I get this one from Lakanto and it tastes exactly like brown sugar. I love using it for my keto mug brownie/cake. You can take a look at it and pick up a bag if you like by tapping the photo of it below. (I do make a very small percentage when you do but it doesn’t cost you any more money.) This one tastes just like regular table sugar.
I will say that I try to avoid ALL sweet things because it can keep us hooked on sweets. But sometimes, I want my cake! For more information about various low-carb and keto sweeteners here is an article from ‘The Diet Doctor’, a resource I frequently turn to – https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/sweeteners
Now be fair to the manufacturer, those that adhere to ‘dirty keto’ (as opposed to ‘strict or clean keto’) could get away with this trail mix as long as their carbohydrate counts came in where they intend them to be. With dirty keto, the ingredients don’t matter, only the macro nutrients – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
It was easy to remember to check the label this time because I’ve had a lot of experience with misleading and inaccurate labeling. I was recently reminded of the need to check labels though even if they don’t say ‘KETO’, and even if you ‘know’ that they are low-carb.
One of my favorite keto/low-carb foods is salami. I love salami. I mean LOVE it! I can remember loving it from as far back as I can remember. My Grandma would buy great big salami sticks that felt like clubs. Or a sword. I think they were mostly for me. God bless her!
The salami was hefty and I’d sometimes swing it around like a sword until Grandma would admonish me for ‘playing with my food. It came coated in this white papery material and encased in some type of plasticy material that was no fun to bite into but was a lot of fun to peel the salami out of. Sometimes Grandma would slice some pieces and put them on Ritz crackers. Wow, the crisp buttery crackers coupled with the salty, savory, squishy salami were heavenly. I can almost taste that combo right now. I need some keto, Ritz crackers!
Other times she’d give me some slices alone and once in a great while she’d chop me off a big ol’ hunk of it and I would bite right into it like a pirate. I liked to imagine I was a pirate and I figured that that was the way they ate salami. ‘Aye matey’, I’d bellow as I bit into the savory stick, ripping off a chunk and hurriedly chewing. ‘Shiver me timbers’, biting, gnawing, and chewing it up. ‘Pipe down in there’, Grandma would bellow back. ‘I’m trying to watch my stories’. Grandma loved her stories.
I don’t remember ever having salami at home. Maybe I was the only one that liked it or perhaps it was too expensive. We were a ham, tuna, and bologna family. And occasionally spam. Bologna more often than not.
When I grew up and had to buy my own groceries I didn’t get salami very often because it was expensive AND high in fat. Back then I thought fat was enemy #1 and tried to avoid it. Mostly unsuccessfully, but I tried.
When I discovered the Ketogenic diet a few years ago I was delighted to learn that fat was not the enemy and that I could start buying and eating salami without guilt. I still usually stuck to the ‘cheaper stuff’. Not the store brand, god forbid, but an old trusty brand I’d grown up with, Gallo. (If you think the keto diet or just eating fewer carbs might be good for you, check out this recording. It can really help.
I have from time to time splurged on some gourmet brands or had some at a party and would often be impressed. For the most part, though, I stuck to Gallo. I recently got married and my wife is always trying to feed me so she often buys me food. The other day she came home with one of the fancier brands of salami. I won’t say the brand but it’s one of the moderately priced ones that are common at my local grocery stores. Not expensive, but a few dollars more than my usual.
I opened the package and ate some. I was blown away! It was incredible. The taste was phenomenal. I didn’t think much more about it but told my wife it was delicious and that we needed to get that brand from now on. She lit up with happiness. Happy that I liked what she’d bought.
A couple of days later I made myself my version of a keto sandwich. I throw some salami (or other meat) into a plastic baggie and chow down. (The plastic baggie keeps my fingers from getting greasy. I don’t imagine myself a pirate anymore.)
The salami tasted so good I wolfed it down and went for more. I wasn’t that hungry but I couldn’t help myself – I needed more. As I was downing my 3rd or 4th serving I wondered what the difference was. Did it have more fat, different spices, something else? I grabbed the package out of the refrigerator along with the Gallo one that I still had. I wanted to compare. I immediately saw something interesting. The new brand had 2 carbs per serving versus 1 per serving in the Gallo. One extra carb isn’t that big of a deal but it is twice as much.
Worse still I looked at the ingredients and confirmed my sneaking suspicion. The new salami contained SUGAR AND CORN SYRUP, two things I do my best to avoid. I’m guessing that’s what triggered my desire to binge on it – wolfing down several servings all at once. It pained me to see that they would add sugar and corn syrup. And that I had succumbed to its power. I don’t seem to have the same reaction when I have monk fruit sweetener. But with sugar, I often find it hard to stop eating it.
Tap the photo below on the left to get the Gallo salami that I get now that I’m no longer a pirate. OR grab the big chub of salami if you are a pirate and want to wield your salami sword.
Here’s The Good Stuff! (1 carb per serving)
Now I get that even with three or four servings that’s only going to add about 3 or 4 extra cabs. My main concern is that sugar and corn syrup are two things I don’t want in my diet. And many other low-carbers feel the same way. I was annoyed with myself for once again not reading labels.
Even though I’d checked the label on my previous brand I should have checked on the new one too. Brands can vary widely in their ingredients so it’s best to give each label a good look.
In the past, I’ve made the same mistake of not checking when it comes to a ‘Keto’ coffee creamer and early on in my low-carb journey with sugar-free candy. A lot of that stuff has some pretty nasty ingredients. Just because it doesn’t have sugar doesn’t mean it’s a great choice.
A lot of the sugar-free candies have sugar alcohols which can cause some people very bad gastrointestinal distress – trust me on this one. In others, it can even cause spikes in blood sugar and/or insulin. The other day I picked up a bottle of ‘Keto Skinny Syrup’ and found it contained sucralose which may not be a great choice. I ended up getting another of their syrups that contained monk fruit sweetener instead of sucralose.
A while back I grabbed a spoonful of my wife’s peanut butter and gagged because it tasted so sweet. I’d forgotten that some manufacturers put sugar in their peanut butter. I wasn’t expecting it. Technically peanuts aren’t keto but I’ll sometimes have a spoonful or two of natural peanut butter for something quick.
As I’m writing this it occurred to me that it’s kind of odd that we don’t spend more time looking over ingredient and nutritional labels. I mean, we’re putting this stuff in our bodies. We already have to trust that they are telling us about everything that they are putting into the food we’re eating and that those ingredients are wholesome. The least we can do is review those declared ingredients. You have to be especially cautious of the trending buzzwords used in the marketing whether they say, ‘keto’, ‘paleo’, ‘healthy’, etc. For the most part they mean nothing. Read the label!
And if you don’t know what an ingredient is or are unsure about one of them, like one of the many sweeteners you may run across – google it!
Would you like to feel happier? More positive? More relaxed?
Wanna try #hypnosis? ⬇️⬇️⬇️