Added sugars and wheat the usual suspects that can derail healthy eating

  • Try this black bean and fresh corn salad before all the corn is gone for the season.

    Try this black bean and fresh corn salad before all the corn is gone for the season. Courtesy of Don Mauer

Posted9/25/2019 6:00 AM

It matters little which health-driven food plan anyone follows; steering clear of all sugars and artificial chemical sweeteners top most folk's: "Can't-Have-It" list, followed by wheat flour. True for me, too.

Right now, my food plan excludes all added sugars, artificial sweeteners (like those found in blue, yellow or pink packets), and wheat flour-based foods, like bread and pasta.


The reason: today, excluding those foods appears to be a path leading to being and staying healthy. I'll guess that many of you reading this are on a similar path.

For me, the only way I can hang with any food plan is for it to have both a low preparation hassle-factor and taste good. Preparing food that takes a long time to make and doesn't taste all that good, which will not help me stay the course.

Since a ketogenic diet seems to be popular and part of that food plans framework minimizes carbs, especially those coming from sugars and wheat flour, I've come up with some flavorful alternatives for myself that others following a Ketogenic plan may find useful.

Dinner salads are one of my mealtime favorites. Depending on the content, all the greens and vegetables that go into that salad can fit into just about any healthy food plan. That was even true years ago when low-fat food plans were popular.

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Back then, fat-free salad dressings for those leafy salads seemed like a good idea and, since sugars supplied no fat, many of those dressings went heavy on sugars (the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup comes to mind).

If you tried fat-free, sugar-free dressings back then, you found the ingredient list long on chemicals and artificial colors and short on flavor.

When fat-free mayonnaise appeared, I was overjoyed (as were many of you probably were) to use it to create salads (yummy potato salad comes to mind) and salad dressings (think Thousand Island, a personal favorite). At that time, a few readers pointed out that yes, there was no fat in the mayo, but, what about the sugars content? They were right to be concerned about that.

Today, it appears that the weight-loss diet world has reversed course. Healthy fats, like olive oil, are in and carbs, especially sugars, are out; way out.

Since corn is on the edge of being out-of-season I wanted to make an early Fall dinner salad with corn and black beans (another favorite) and sweet peppers without the addition of any sugars or sugar substitutes.


My first run at this salad and its nutritional information showed me that it might be a little higher in carbs than some folks would want. The next time I made it, I substituted store-bought, rotisserie organic chicken and brought the carb level down and the proteins level up.

Either way, this salad is a winner and can work for just about any healthy food plan. Give it a try.

• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at don@

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