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!
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!).
Here is a general list of the types of food that I regularly purchase and eat:
- Green Beans
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.