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jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Have you had success in removing or significantly decreasing sugar from your diet? Any tips to share?

Asked by jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities (19692points) October 25th, 2010

I’ve been reading more and more about the negative effects sugar has on a person’s health, and I’ve decided to do my best to remove sugar (and all artificial sweeteners) from my diet. I’ve been more active recently in reading nutritional labels, and am shocked at the number of foods that have sugar (in one form or another) in them. This is going to be difficult!

So, have any of you jellies had success in significantly decreasing your sugar intake? I’ve done pretty well on limiting the typical sugary items (candy, pop, pastries, etc.) from my diet, but would be more interested in hearing ways on avoiding more common types of food surprisingly high in sugar, like some types of bread, condiments, yogurt, etc. I’d love to hear any tips/experiences/suggestions.

The lack of coffee creamer is going to be particularly difficult for me. :(

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22 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t add sugar or any other sweetener to anything. I try to limit prepared foods as much as possible. I use fresh vegetables and fruits most of the time, and I don’t drink more than one or two glasses of soda a week.

Blackberry's avatar

I pretty much stopped eating dessert foods. It seems to just be a waste, does cake, ice cream, and candy bars have any real nutritional value? I don’t really think so. I don’t get how people can eat the 1 inch layer of frosting on cake…wtf?

marinelife's avatar

Keep reading those labels! The American food industry began putting sugar in a lot of foods to replace the fat they were taking out.

For your coffee: how about half and half?

I would not cut fruit out of your diet. Although it does contain sugar, it also has a lot of very healthy anti oxidants and fiber. Just don’t eat it processed.

It is really processed sugar that is the problem.

Trillian's avatar

Hah! I knew a dietician in Portsmouth who swore that white flour and white sugar were from Satan!
I drink diet Barq’s Root Beer which is so good that if you didn’t know it was diet, you wouldn’t know it was diet. I also buy Splenda in big bags and have that in a jar rather than sugar, which I don’t keep in the house anymore. Splenda also has a brown sugar substitute.
Unless you process your own food, you can’t completely get aay from it, so you just have to read labels and try to opt for the lowest amount. asically, the fewer processing steps a food has, the less sugar and sodium it will have.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I gave up soda several years ago, including diet and sweetened versions. I can probably count on one hand the number of soft drinks I have in a year now; it’s an ‘event’ when I do. I’ve liked iced tea for most of my life, so that’s what I drink about 95% of the time, always unsweetened. (Or I ‘sweeten’ it with cranberry juice, which is a nice combination with the lemon that I also use.) I never developed the coffee habit, so I’m glad I don’t have to think about unsweetened vs. sweetened coffee; that would have been tough.

I don’t do doughnuts and pastry in the mornings, either. For breakfast most days I have a nice piece of extra-sharp cheddar cheese and an apple, about a half-hour after a big glass of V8.

I also don’t eat a lot of processed foods now. I do most of my own cooking, more or less from scratch (plus a lot of sandwiches), and my cooking is pretty ‘basic’. (It gets a lot of compliments, because I do care about it when I do it, but I’m not big on sauces—other than spaghetti—and other things where sugar might be used much, and I never cook desserts.)

I haven’t given up the habit completely, because I still do eat ice cream on occasion, but that’s in strict moderation, and infrequent, besides.

I recommend what you’re doing. I haven’t felt this healthy in many years, and I’m in no way starving myself.

FutureMemory's avatar

When I gave up soda my blood sugar dropped hundreds of points and I lost a butt-load of weight. It had a snowball effect in the sense that once I gave up soda I became more sensitive to sugar on the whole, so the occasional candy bar tasted like I was eating straight spoonfuls of sugar – yuck!

I invented a replacement drink consisting of Crystal Light and fresh squeezed lemons. This replacement was rather expensive, but it did the trick of satisfying my sweet tooth as well as being far less dense, calorie-wise.

drClaw's avatar

Smoking less pot is a big help, not that you do that ;-)

Seriously though, I have huge sweet tooth which is my biggest weakness when I’m in training. I’ve found that most my cravings happen at certain times during the day or in specific situations. I just have to A) avoid those situations or B) find a suitable, yet edible, substitute to replace any sugary goodness. It’s all about the habits, or at least in my experience.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I’ve given up processed foods and soft drinks. My doctor recommended Beating the Sugar Blues but I have yet to pick it up.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@marinelife Now that I’ve started looking closely, I can’t not read a nutritional label. I was really shocked to find out how many items that were labeled as low fat alternatives to regular food items have added sugar to make up for the lower fat content. Low fat vs. regular peanut butter was a big shock!

free_fallin's avatar

The suggestions above are great. One thing to remember with fresh fruit is that you can actually eat too much of it. It’s still full of sugar and will make you gain weight if you eat too much. The key with everything is do it in moderation.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Go for the KISS method.
Fruits,veggies,meats.Avoid processed foods.I use stevia as a sweetner and cut way back on artificially sweetened foods and drinks as I have read some pretty nasty things about them.

Austinlad's avatar

I cut out most desserts these past few months, plus sodas, fast foods, meat and fried foods. Figure I cut my calorie intake at least 2–3K per day, My friends said I didn’t look heavy, but I felt heavy and I quit all that stuff cold turkey. Lost some weight, feel much better than I did.

Aster's avatar

I don’t make an effort to avoid sugar; if I want something I eat it. Saying that, I rarely drink soda. I worry much more about the caffeine. I also stopped eating steaks. Just lost the desire for them.
If I went out more I’d eat more hamburgers but not the at-home kind. They’re too big and can give me stomach aches for some reason. But at Sonic the patties are small so I like those. Fried foods don’t bother me at all. I make stir fry often.

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Neizvestnaya's avatar

I did this in 2007 and the results were fantastic. I started by cutting out soda, juice and added sugar to my coffee/tea. The first two months sucked a** and I was horribly cranky and short tempered. What cheered me up was losing about 12lbs of depression weight put on during the previous 7yrs of hell I’d lived in. After the soda then I cut out buying candy and Cheez Its from the vending machine and dropped almost another 20lbs. Getting my figure back was incentive enough to keep it up for a few years. This past year I’ve let myself eat some sweets again and feel it right away the sugar makes me irritable so my habit has become to wash it away with cups of hot water or plain tea.

deni's avatar

I would just give up junk food. LIke @marinelife said, yes fruit has sugar in it but it’s not the same type of sugar that a Snickers bar has in it. Fruit is good for you and candy is not. So no pop, candy, dessert, AKA anything that is sugary and does not have any nutritional value.

At the same time, if you’re like me and you have a sweet tooth, I think cutting out sweets ENTIRELY is a bad idea. The cravings will build up and then you binge…so if you let yourself have just a little bit every once in a while it should keep the big cravings under control.

But I really have no idea…I eat more sweets than anyone alive, except 6 year olds.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I drink diet soda now when I’ve got that kind of craving which sates the bubble and sweet but tastes yucky enough for me not to drink to much. My yogurts are now sugar free or else I buy the cup with fruit on the bottom but don’t stir the glop into the sour plain part. Sugar free jello blocks are almost a food staple of mine. Lots and lots of water helps everything.

Smashley's avatar

There really isn’t that much sugar in yogurt… oh wait… you probably mean the massive amounts of sugar in every kind of flavored or low-fat yogurt. Yeah. Just eat the real, plain, whole-milk, stuff. It’s delicious!

The best advice I can give to lower your sugar intake is to stop consuming processed foods, juices and sweetened beverages/desserts. Sounds easy, right? Yeah. Not so much for most people. Dump the juice and soda first. Bring a refillable bottle around and keep yourself hydrated (with water). This goes a long way to reduce cravings of all sorts, plus, you know, hydration, woot.

When you break down and give into cravings, don’t be too concerned. Just say, “I’m doing pretty well: I’ve only cheated on my diet once this week!” When you see yourself eying that ice cream, take just a tiny amount. (I like going to a Baskin-Robbins, asking for a sample, enjoying it, and then pretending that I forgot my wallet!) Satisfy that craving with a reduced dosage of sugar. You’ll feel better from the chemical response, and be happy with your control. Changing your diet completely isn’t going to happen overnight, but there are a million tiny victories.

Proper diet is as simple as a wise man once said: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Eat food: food is only food if your great great great grandparents could have identified it as such. (no go-gurt, Fritos, non-fat-cottage-cheese, imitation pasteurized process cheese food products, or diet-double-chocolate-flavored-malt-soda-juice)

Not too much: eat less of everything, you glutton!

Mostly plants: for reals. Mostly plants.

Take simple steps, and the larger goals will fall into place. Good luck!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Caffiene was my friend when I first cut out the sodas & juices. It gave me confidence to move on to better foods part. The very cool thing is getting cravings for “real” food instead of snacks.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Smashley Michael Pollans book In Defense of Food

mattbrowne's avatar

In case you can’t give up sweetness use artificial sweeteners in combination with eating good food that also contains complex carbohydrates.

Smashley's avatar

@YARNLADY – Yeah, I know. It just sounds better when I treat it like the ancient tome of wisdom it will one day be, rather than the notable bestseller that it currently is.

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