If You Eliminate Sugar From Your Diet, What Exactly Do You Eat?

I received an excellent question in a comment by Joy today on my post Ban The Refined Sugar Experiment. She asked “what exactly do you eat?”, because “it seems like everything has sugar in it”.

I can completely relate to this question because when I first read Sugar Blues by William Dufty, I knew even then (when I as a kid!) that I was addicted to sugar; but, how could I live without it? Doesn’t everything contain sugar?!

Update 2013: Note the date on this article, 8/29/2007. This is an old article that I wrote 6 years ago. At that time I had the thought that I had a sugar addiction and today it’s not true. Fact: 90% of your problems with food and your weight are due to your Mindset. Only 10% of your ongoing struggles are about how you eat and exercise. Your Mindset is what stops you from doing the 10% successfully!

Find out more by grabbing my FREE 5-Day E-course to discover the answer to, “Is Your Mindset Fit or F.A.T.?“. Get it while it’s still available!

Well, the answer is yes; practically everything does contain sugar, if you only eat processed foods. That sugar is listed in the ingredients of processed food in several different forms: sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn syrup, fructose, crystalline fructose, dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup solids, etc. These and other forms of sugar are almost always present in processed food.

So, you will not get away from sugar if you continue to eat processed foods. However, if you start shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store and buy whole foods, food that you need to take home and prepare yourself, then you can eliminate sugar from your diet (and feel just awesome!).

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Here is a general list of the types of food that I regularly purchase and eat:


  • Lean chicken (no added chicken broth, no hormones, fresh, not frozen)
  • Egg whites (I buy whole eggs and eat only the whites)
  • Turkey breast
  • Seafood (fish, scallops, shrimp)


  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Bananas (also a carb)
  • Apples


  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Oatmeal (regular, not the quick oats)
  • Sweet Potatoes


  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the whole foods that I eat, but these are the foods that I eat most often. Please note, that these are foods that I like. There are certainly other whole foods out there to choose from, and it’s important that you eat what you like. With that being said, I do encourage you to try whole foods that you don’t think you like, because once you get off of the processed food and sugar, your tastes truly do change. I used to always say that I couldn’t stand grapefruit, and now it’s one of my favorites!

Basically, if you just stick to the outside edge of the grocery store, you’ll find most of your whole, unprocessed foods there. Does this mean that you will need to spend some time cooking? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes!!

Speaking from experience of one who has lived a lifestyle of eating healthy, whole foods, and then going back to eating processed gunk, processed food tastes dead to me; whole foods taste alive. There is also a huge difference in my energy level, which you can read about in my progress reports of my ban on refined sugar experiment.

On a last note, if you not only want to get off of sugar, but also have some weight to lose, I highly recommend the Six Week Body Makeover. Michael Thurmond designed the program for the purpose of weight loss and fitness, however it is a sugar-free lifestyle plan. If I had not purchased this plan in January, 2004, I probably wouldn’t be writing about living a lifestyle consisting of whole foods today. The 6WBMO taught me how to eat and exercise in a healthy manner and at the same time, lose the extra pounds.

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  • http://befitandstrong.com Curtis Penner

    This last week, my wife and I cut out all sugar – including fruit, dairy…nothing. This week, we added some fruit back in. We did this mainly to kick ourselves off of a plateau.

    Having been a personal trainer, knowing what to eat, and all that, I still find it challenging to eat only natural foods.

    My recommendation is to find a good low-carb cookbook. They provide many ways to prepare veggies and meat. You can always lower the fat content by making substitutions, which will then allow you to add in some fruit without consuming a load of calories.

    But your right. When I cut out refined products, my energy soars. I can sleep less and still feel good.

  • http://www.fearlessfatloss.com JoLynn Braley

    Hi Curtis,

    Thanks for your comments, and for your recommendation on the cookbook. I’ve relied so much on the 6WBMO recipe exchange that I’ve never even checked into a low-carb cookbook before…also, because I do eat carbs 3 or 4 times a day (4 x’s if I workout), so I never considered myself to be eating “low-carb”.

    Even so, you pointed out that this type of cookbook can offer ways to prepare the veggies and meat, and I definitely need to follow recipes. 😀

    Isn’t it wonderful, how much better you feel when you cut out the processed gunk?! I also feel so much better by not eating dairy, like you and your wife…it makes me cough and sneeze, not a healthy feeling. 😉

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  • http://www.bluejar.com GnomeyNewt

    I’m so addicted to sugar, probably always will be too. Without recognizing that fact it can get pretty out of hand. It is funny though that a lot of people only think eating candy bars and ice cream makes you a sugar addict, but it is pasta, rice, fruits, bread … things you’d never know were part of your sugar addiction.

    I know I had to make everything from scratch though as you pointed out in your post. When I limited sugar to my diet 2 years ago I lost 25 pounds. I wasn’t trying to loose weight either, it just happened. I just try to watch what I eat and when possible just chug down as much veggies as possible!

  • http://www.fearlessfatloss.com JoLynn Braley

    Hi, thanks for your comments!

    I will probably always be addicted to sugar, also. However, as long as I stay off of it, I’m not driven to eat more and more and more.

    You’re exactly correct that it isn’t only sweets, but also pasta, breads, although not all fruit is extremely high is natural sugar, and as long as you eat your fruit in balance with protein, I haven’t had a problem with it. I do stay away from grapes, raisins, oranges, and sweet cherries overall.

    Congratulations on losing the 25 pounds! I bet if you returned to simple eating again, cutting out the sugar and eating whole foods that the weight would just as easily drop off. :)