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13 Aug Tuesdays With Jeff: Insights Into Your Health: Identifying Hidden Sources of Salt/Sodium, Oil/Fat & Sugars/Sweeteners

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Is Your SOS Free Diet Really SOS Free? Identifying Hidden Sources of Salt/Sodium, Oil/Fat & Sugars/Sweeteners
©Jeff Novick, MS, RD

Many people today are choosing to follow diets today that are called low (or no) SOS.  The term SOS refers to added Salt/Sodium, Oil/Fats and Sugar/Sweeteners.  To be more specific, it refers to any and all added sources of salt/sodium and not just table salt, any and all added sources of oil/fat and any and all added sugar and/or caloric sweeteners.  It is not referring to those that are naturally occurring in whole plant foods that are still in their whole natural form.

There are two main reasons why people are avoiding these:

1) Health – Excess added salt, oil and sugar can contribute to health problems.

2) The Pleasure Trap – Many people find that these items trigger the pleasure trap for them and as a result, have a hard time limiting them.

There are many recipes available today that are being promoted as being SOS free but they contain ingredients that are either directly SOS by another name or ingredients that are sources of added SOS.  Therefore, I thought I would help clear this up by listing some of these hidden sources.


The Following Items are high in salt/sodium and/or contribute added salt/sodium:

– Gourmet Salts (French Clay, Sea Salt, Himalayan Pink, Hawaiian Black, etc)
– Miso
– Baking powder
– Baking soda
– Bragg’s liquid aminos (&/or) any other amino’s (i.e., coconut)
– Tamari
– Soy Sauce
– Nama shoyu

In addition the following items, which are often used in recipes, can be high in salt.  Always look for varieties with no added salt.
– Condiments (ie, salsas, hot sauces, mustard, etc)
– Spices that are not salt free


The Following Items count as added fat/oil
– Diglycerides
– Monoglycerides
– Lecithin
– All Oils (Including Coconut Oil)


The Following Items are high in sugar and/or count as added sugar
– “Natural” sweeteners – Agave, Maple syrup

– Fruit Juice***
– Fruit Juice concentrates
– Sugar alcohols (xylitol, erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol)
– Barley Malt
– Beet Sugar
– Brown Sugar
– Cane-Juice Crystals
– Carob Syrup
– Coconut Water*** (50% sugar)

– Corn Syrup
– Corn Syrup Solids
– Dextran
– Dextrose
– Diatase
– Diastatic Malt
– Ethyl Maltol
– Evaporate Cane Juice
– Fructose
– Glucose
– Glucose Solids
– Golden Sugar
– Golden Syrup
– Grape Sugar
– Honey
– Invert Sugar
– Lactose
– Malt Syrup
– Maltodextrin
– Maltose
– Molasses
– Raw Sugar
– Refiner’s Syrup
– Sorghum Syrup
– Sucrose
– Sugar
– Turbinado Sugar
– Yellow Sugar

– Date sugar
– Coconut sugar
– Date paste, even if home made
– Date Syrup (date crack)

In addition the following items, which are often used, can be high in added sugar.  Always look for varieties with no added sugar.
– Condiments (ie, salsas, hot sauces, ketchup, etc)

Refined Flours

In addition, the following items are either refined flour or contribute refined flour, which should be avoided.
Refined &/or Processed flour
– Cornstarch
– Baking powder
– Egg substitutes (ie, Ener-G Egg Replacer)

Most important, do not take anything for granted, especially if you are trying to recover your health. Instead, always check the ingredients of any item you may be using.

I will be expanding on this list in the future and adding in more items and the actual amounts of salt, sugar and oil/fat that appears in examples of these items.

For those following a “low SOS” diet, you can review the acceptable guidelines for salt, sugar and fat in my note, “Understanding Food Labels. ”


For those wanting to know more about the Pleasure Trap and how these items can trigger it, you can read my article, “A Date With Disaster:The Pleasure Trap of Whole Natural Foods.”

In Health
NOTE: *** These items (fruit juice, coconut water) may be occasionally used in small amounts to enhance the consumption of healthy, very low calorie dense foods.  For example, in people wanting to lose weight, adding a little fruit juice to a dressing/sauce that would encourage the consumption of more salad and vegetables, might be beneficial in helping them achieve their health goals.  In addition, for people wanting to gain weight, adding a little fruit juice to a dressing/sauce that would encourage the consumption of more whole grains, beans, tubers, etc. might be beneficial in helping them achieve their health goals.  The main point is to understand caloric density and how these foods may be used to enhance the consumption of healthy foods, while still keeping the amount of added sugars to a minimum as well as the overall calorie density of the diet.

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Jeff Novick
Jeff Novick

Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN is truly a unique dietitian and nutritionist. With over 24 years of experience in nutrition, health, fitness and natural living, he offers expert health advice distilled into powerful, easy-to-understand language on a variety of current topics.Novick’s insightful and humorous approach to nutrition and health has helped thousands worldwide make the transition to healthy living. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana State University in nutrition, with a minor in exercise science.Novick serves as Vice President for Executive Health Exams International and lectures at the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California and at the Engine 2 Immersion program in Austin, Texas. He is also the Director of Nutrition for the Meals for Health program, which is helping empower low-income families to achieve optimal health.For almost a decade, Novick served as the Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Center in Aventura, Florida, and as Vice President of the Board of the Directors for the National Health Association (NHA). He also served as the Director of Health Education for the NHA and as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Health Sciences for Kaplan University.Novick has taught nutrition classes at Indiana State University, Indiana University Medical School, the University of Miami Medical School and the Florida Academy of Family Physicians. He regularly lectures at medical conferences across the country. While in Indiana, he created and taught the Nutrition Education Initiative, a preventive medicine curriculum for medical doctors, residents and medical students. In recognition of this groundbreaking project, Indiana’s governor awarded Novick the Indiana State Public Health Excellence in Health Science Award and Indiana State University awarded him the Graduate-of-the-Last-Decade Award.He has been interviewed by Newsday, Parade, Men’s Health, Shape, Women’s World and has appeared on Fox News, Discovery Health, the Today Show and other media outlets nationwide. He recently appeared in the documentary Processed People and the movie Fatboy, which won the Best Documentary award at the Fort Lauderdale and Queens Film Festivals.

  • health&freedom-seeker
    Posted at 15:21h, 17 August

    another source of sugar, oil, salt is store-bought pasta/spaghetti-sauce; when used it leaves oil/greasy residue on your plate; plus they add tons of sugar.

    since i only get minimum-wage i make ‘sauce on a budget’: unsweetened tomato Paste, small amount of Stevia-extract, Basil, Oregano, (plus if i can afford it; mushrooms), a bit of water, ; cook & stir it on stove while the 100% whole grain pasta is boiling (al-dente: if package say boil it for 9 – 10 minutes; you boil it for 8 minutes)

    then drain the pasta; stir it into your sauce & serve!

    this is tasty, healthy, with no greasy residue left on your plate!

    this is convenience-cooking on a budget that tastes good!

  • health&freedom-seeker
    Posted at 15:24h, 17 August

    Long list.

    but there is a solution; fact is that i go & buy Stevia extract which does NOT raise my blood sugar or hurt me the way HFCS or table-sugar do.

    Stevia is a natural herbal supplement used for generations in Asia; that just happens to be extremely sweet. One small bottle of the extract can last me for months! this tastes better than Aspartame & Sucralose too.

    people can eat whole fresh fruits ; especially Blueberries, raspberries etc.

  • health&freedom-seeker
    Posted at 15:25h, 17 August

    i buy unsweetened creamy natural peanut butter, add Stevia & Ginger powder & Chia Seeds & Cinnamon; mix it up then refrigerate.

    When i tried this on 100% rye 100% whole grain bread; it was Delicious!

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