I want to go sugar-free, and to make it “stick”, I decided to kick-start my efforts by taking it to an extreme, intentionally going above and beyond by avoiding all added sweeteners, natural or artificial.
[Note added four months in: My initial goal was to do this for one calendar year, but I feel so great I might just keep on going!]
These are the rules I’ve been following since January 1, 2017:
- I won’t knowingly eat added sugar in any form, natural or artificial, including
- Maple syrup;
- Rice bran syrup;
- Regular ol’ table sugar;
- Etc. (see the full list)
- I’ll exercise all possible vigilance (reading labels, asking servers, etc.). Dinner hosts and hostesses, my apologies in advance!
- If an ingredient list shows any of the forms of the sugar, even if the nutrition label says the sugar content is negligible or zero, I won’t eat it. Yes! This happens! Sugar in the ingredient list, but not on the nutrition label — bizarre. I’ve found three examples of this already among my favourite foods (sob):
- Freybe cornmeal back bacon (contains dextrose).
- Cappola brand soppressata salami (contains dextrose).
- Lindt 99% chocolate (big sob)
1 g of sugar in the entire bar rules it out, sadly.
Nutrition label says 0 g sugar, but ingredients list includes dextrose.
- I won’t use any vitamins, supplements, medicines (over-the-counter or prescription), or other products that contain sugar. This means I’ll have to make my own toothpaste – haha, this is insane! Also, what about fluoride treatments, and minty-flavoured floss? (It’s interesting that some of the potential roadblocks are so dental.)
- Exception: If I’m truly ill and the only available medicine is sweetened, I’ll use it.
- Fruit is OK, but dried fruit and fruit juice aren’t. I know from experience that these are simply too concentrated for me and will trigger my sugar addiction.
- Honest mistakes are allowed. If I take a mouthful of something sugary by accident, I won’t spit it out unless I can do so without offending anyone, but I won’t eat any more of it, either.
- There will be NO cheating
- This may require going hungry sometimes if the only choices are sweetened, but my current low-carb diet definitely makes that easier.
But overall — eek! What have I let myself in for?
I’m excited to see if I can do this, though. Sugar is so embedded into our lives that completely avoiding it is an interesting challenge — is it even possible? I say, “Yes!”
What do you think? Does a sugar-free year appeal to you?