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The Aisles Of Diet: Where To Find The Best Stores for Sugar Free Foods
Making it easier for dieters and diabetics to find stores with sugar free food
It all started when I discovered the mother-load of sugar-free cookies. That was five different varieties all on the same shelf at my favorite grocery store. I had never really noticed before until my sweet (toothed) husband was diagnosed with adult diabetes, how scattered and sometimes, unavailable sugar-free items were. And shame on Oreo, or maybe it was just my store, that got us hooked on sugar-free Oreos, only to have them disappear several weeks later! Since that time, I spent an unfair share of my shopping time reading labels as I walked aisle after aisle looking for the elusive 'sugar-free'. At which time I was ready to grab a bunch of rice cakes and call it a day--I'd deal with the divorce papers later!
Snack Tracking & Availability: which stores have the most sugar free products
This review focuses only on large food product distributors because each of these larger stores will have more comprehensive vendor lists, and therefore, we'll have a good chance at viewing the majority of sugar free products available in general. Additionally, to make this survey as universal and helpful as possible, these stores are large retail chain stores, either world predominant, or U.S. predominant. Their products are either available across North America, or around the world, and many are available on-line.
The stores represent a nice cross-section of shopping environments, from your basic grocery store to bulk shopping at a warehouse clubs and also, the newer grocery-included discount stores. The following grocery distributors will be surveyed.
- Kmart Super Center, 1,221 discount stores, 3rd largest discount store chain in the world.
- Safeway Inc., 1,458 grocery stores, 2nd largest supermarket chain in North America.
- Sam's Club, 612 warehouse clubs, 8th largest U.S. retailer; 2nd largest U.S. warehouse club.
- Walmart Supercenters, 3,016 plus discount stores, world's 2nd largest public corporation.
The products inventoried will be groceries that are sugar-free only; this does not necessarily include low-calorie or diet foods, unless they specifically say 'sugar free'. Also, because these inventories are from large chain outlets, not every location will necessarily carry every product at every given time. However, if you go to the store web site first, most of them will have a field where you can use your zip code to bring up your local store's site to see what products are available in the location nearest you, at that point in time.
Finding The Right Aisle
Depending on the size of the retail grocery story, the aisles and food types can be grouped and sub-grouped into many, many categories. For the sake of efficiency, the sugar free foods covered here, will be divided among 10 grocery groups. Below you will find a chart that shows the largest four of the 10 groups, along with the corresponding number of items in each category at each store.
As you can see, of the sugar free types of groceries available, most of the foods available fall into the following three categories: 1) Candy, 2) Beverages, and, 3) Baking Products.
Top Sugar Free Food Categories and Stores
Per the following Sugar Free food lists, the product names will include brand and item name, i.e., Coke Soda, Splenda Granulated Sweetener; so you can determine what shelf it will be on in your store. For example, Soy Milk and Coke are both in beverages, but you would know where to find the soda and milk in your store.
The 10 grocery categories include: Bakery & Bread, Baking, Beverages, Breakfast & Cereal, Candy, Canned Goods & Soups, Coffee & Tea, Condiments Sauces & Spices, Frozen, and Snacks Cookies & Chips.
After each item name, the store(s) that carry the item will be referenced within parentheses by the following code: K=Kmart, S=Safeway, SC=Sam's Club, W=Walmart
The products included in these categories are either tagged 'sugar free' on the label, or 'diet' with sugar free information in the ingredients. Any product that is asterisked* was labeled 'no sugar added,' and these products may contain natural sugars, for example the natural sugar a fruit brings to a jam product.
Sugar Free Baking Products (39)
Bisquit Mix: Namaste* (W)
Brownie Mix: Pillsbury (S,W), Sans Sucre (W)
Cake Mix: Pillsbury (W), Sweet 'N Low (W)
Cappuccino Mouse Mix: Sans Sucre (W)
Chocolate Chips: Hershey's (W)
Coffe Cake Mix: San Sucre* (W)
Cookie Mix: Betty Crocker (K,W), Cherrybrook Kitchens (W)
Cool Whip: Kraft (W)
Frosting: Pillsbury (W)
Frosting Mix: Sweet 'N Low (W)
Gelatin Dessert: Great Value (W), Jello (K,S,W)
Graham Cracker Pie Crust: Fifty 50 (W)
Granulated Sweetener: Granulated No Calorie Sweetener (W), Great Value (W), Splenda (S,W), Stevia (S,W), Fifty 50 (W)
Liquid Sweetener: Fasweet (W), Safeway Kitchens Stevia (S)
Muffin Mix: Namaste* (W), Pillsbury (W)
Onion Ring Mix: Don's Chuck Wagon (K)
Pie Filling*: Great Value Cherry (W), Great Value Blueberry (W)
Powdered Sweetener: Epic Dental (W), Equal (S,SC,W), Great Value (W), Member's Mark (SC), Splenda (K,S,SC,W), Stevia (W,S,SC), Sweet 'N Low (S,SC,W)
Pudding Mix: Great Value (W), Jello (K,S,W)
Raw Agave Liquid Sweetener: Sohgave (SC)
Rice Vinegar: Marukan (K,W)
*No sugar added
How To Bake Sugar-Free Cookies
What Are YOU looking for?
In what food category is it hardest for you to find sugar-free products?
Sugar Free Bakery (4)
Cake: Walmart Bakery Lemon Creme Cake (W), Walmart Bakery Sponge Cake (W)
Pie: Specialty Bakers Key Lime Pie (W), Walmart Bakery Lemon Pie (W)
Sugar Free Beverages (51)
Apple Cider Drink Mix: Alpine (W,S,K,SC)
Apple Juice: Apple & Eve* (SC,W), Tummy Tickler* (K,W)
Bottled Beverage: Crystal Light (K,S), Lipton Orangeade Juice Drink (W)
Coconut Milk: Turtle Mountain (W)
Crystalized Lemon Drink Powder: True Lemon (SC,W)
Drink Mix: Crystal Light (W,S,K,SC), Kool-Aid (K,W), Crush (K,W), Hansen's Natural Fruit Stix (W), Hansen's Natureal Tea Stix (W), Refreshe (S), VitaSquenchers (W), Zipfizz (SC)
Drink Pouch: Hawaiian Punch (W,S,K)
Energy Drink: AMP (SC,W), Chaser (K,S), Go Girl (W), Monster (W,S,K,SC), NOS (W), Red Bull (W,S,SC), Rock Star (S,W), Smart Sense Loop (K), Xyience (W)
Fruit Smoothie Concentrate: Cruisin* (SC)
Hot Chocolate Mix: Swiss MIss* (K,S,SC)
Iced Tea: Arizona Arnold Palmer Zero (S), Great Value Sweet (W), Milos' Tea (SC), Red Diamond (W)
Instant Iced Tea: Arizona (W)
Juice: Izze* (W,S,SC), Plum Smart*(K,S)
Juice Smoothie: Naked Juice*(W,S,K,SC)
Lemonade: Wylers (K,W)
Lemonade Mix: Arizona (W), Crystal Light (S,SC)
Liquid Mix: Crystal Light (W,S,K)
Soda: 7-Up (W,K,SC), Coke (W,S,K,SC), Dr. Pepper (W,S,K,SC), Fresca (W,S,SC), Hansen's Black Cherry (S), Mountain Dew (W,S,SC), Pepsi (W,S,K,SC), Zenia Cola (W)
Vegetable Juice: V8 Original* (W,S,K,SC)
Vodka: Crystal Head (SC)
Water Beverage: Aquafina (K), Propel (W,S,K,SC)
*No sugar added
Sugar Free Breakfast & Cereal (3)
Granola: Grandy Oats, (W)
Muesli Cereal: Alpen* (K), Familia (K,W)
*No sugar added
Sugar Free Canned Goods (7)
Applesauce: Motts* (K,W), Safeway Unsweeted Applesauce* (S), Treetop* (SC,W)
Mixed Fruit Cups: Del Monte* (K,S,SC,W), Great Value* (W)
Fruit: Great Value Mixed Fruit* (W), Great Value Pears* (W)
*No sugar added
Sugar Free Coffee & Tea (21)
Chai Tea Latte: Oregon Trail (S,W)
Coffee Syrup: Coffee Mate (W), Da Vinci (SC,W), International Delight (W,S), Torani (W,S)
Green Tea Mix: Diabetics Choice Breezy Morning (W), Diabetics Delight Uncle Lee's Tea (W), Lipton (W,K), Good Earth Original Blend* (S,W), Smart Sense (K)
Iced Green Tea: Lipton (K,SC,W)
Instant Coffee: Cafe D'vita Cappuccino (W), Coffee Specialists Cappuccino (SC), HIlls Bros Cappuccino (K,W), International Café-Style (K,W)
Powdered Coffee Creamer: Coffee Mate (K,S,W), Coffee Mate Flavored (S), Lucerne (S)
Tea: Lipton Green (W), Smart Sense Green (K), Superfruit Tea (W)
*No sugar added
Sugar Free Candy (43)
Butterscotch: Fifty 50 (W), Sweet 'N Low (W)
Caramels: BestHealth (W), Nips (K,W)
Chocolate Bars: Fifty 50 (W)
Chocolates: Dove (K,W), Hershey's (K,W), Russell Stover (K,S,W), Turtles (W), Whitmans (K,W)
Fruit Chews: GoLightly (W), BestHealth (W)
Gum: Dentyne (K,S,SC,W), Eclipse (K,SC,W), Extra (S,SC,W), Ice Breakers (K,S,SC,W), ID (S,W), Juicy Fruit (W), Mentos (S,SC,W), Office Snax (W,SC), Orbit (K,S,SC,W), Pur (W), Quench (W), Stride (K,S,SC,W), Trident (K,S,SC,W), Wrigley's 5 (K,S,SC,W)
Gummi Candy: Gummi Candy (W)
Hard Candy: BestHealth (W), Crystal Light (K,W), Golightly (W), International Coffee Flavors (W), Jolly Rancher (K,W), Life Savers (K,S,W), Office Snax (W), Rusell Stover (K,W), Sweethearts (W), Werthers (K,S,W)
Licorice: Licorice Bears (W)
Mints: Bobs Starlight (W), Gem Tin (K), Mint Asure (W), Ricochet (W)
Peanut Butter: Reeses (K,W)
Sugar Free Frozen Food (7)
Ice Pops: Blue Bell (W), Budget Saver (W), Popsicle (S,W)
Ice Cream: Blue Bunny* (S,F), Breyers* (S), Edy's* (W), Perry's* (W)
Frozen Blueberries: Great Value* (W)
*No sugar added
Sugar Free Condiments & Sauces (29)
Apple Butter: Da Dutchman (W)
BBQ Sauce: Guys (W)
Chocolate Syrup: Hershey's (S,W)
Grilling Marinade: Salamida (SC)
Imitation Honey: HoneyTree's (W)
Jam: Bylers* (W), Dickinson's (W), Great Value (W), Polaner (W), Smucker's (S,W)
Marinade: Walden Farms (W)
Marmalade: Fifty 50 (W), Smucker's (W)
Mayonnaise: Dukes (K,S,SC,W), Walden Farms (W)
Pancake Syrup: Cary's (K,S,SC,W), Great Value (W), Joseph's (W), Log Cabin (W), Maple Grove Farms (S), Mrs. Butterworths (W), Safeway Sugar-free Syrup (S), Vermont (W)
Preserves: Smucker's (K,S,W), Purely Fruit (W)
Salad Dressing: Walden Farms (W)
Salsa: My Brother's* (SC)
Snow Cone Syrup: Sno Kone Syrup (SC)
Sundae Syrup: Smucker's (S,W)
*No sugar added
A Few Tips From Me To You
- Shop The Perimeter. Here's a tip I remember from an Educational Health class I took years ago. Shop the perimeter of the store. For healthier eating, try to pack your cart with fresh meats, vegetables and dairy, all found around the perimeter of the store.
- "BRING A LIST. And stick to it! Healthy decisions start at home. Planning ahead can improve your health while saving you time and money. Before shopping, decide which foods you need, and the quantity that will last until your next shopping trip." From USDA site Nutrition.gov
- Don't Shop Hungry. And finally, this oldie but goodie; never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Everything will look good, and you'll probably stuff more into your cart than you need.
Found the Oreos!
Hopefully this overview gives a good idea on what sugar free foods are out there and how to find them. Many local grocery stores carry many of these products; with this information, you'll be able to ask your grocer if they carry your favorites. I find it surprising that there aren't more sugar free frozen foods and desserts, however, it may be that they're not labelled up front with the words 'sugar free' and a closer look at diet and low calorie items in the grocery might turn up a few more selections.
By the way, I have solved the mystery of the missing cookies. As you can see, Safeway is the go-to store for sugar free Oreos!
Discover Your Personal Yin Yang Diet
Did you know that Ancient Chinese Medicine is very much like today's Macrobiotic Diet? Now you can find out what your unique Yin Yang nature says about the foods that are good for you. Click here for your personal Ying Yang nature survey, and a list of corresponding foods.