My ground rules

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
      • Honey;
      • Maple syrup;
      • Rice bran syrup;
      • Stevia;
      • Sucralose;
      • Agave;
      • 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)

99 choc.jpg
1 g of sugar in the entire bar rules it out, sadly.

Dextrose but zero.jpg
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?

Published by

Anne Scott

Hi, I'm Anne! I'm passionate about sugar-free living, healthy aging, reading, writing, books, and libraries.

8 thoughts on “My ground rules

  1. I think the 0g of sugar is like the trans fat situation: If it’s under a certain percentage, the ingredient list can read “0%” instead of, for example, 0.09%.


  2. I use Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. I initially started using it because they have choices with no fluoride. Later, having to use Crest, my childhood paste, I found it unbearably sweet.
    Yuck. Who needs sugar in toothpaste?


  3. I had breast cancer last year. Took sugar out of my diet except for honey and natural fruit. Felt great then fell off the wagon at Xmas. Going to follow you although not so much paleo ( although I only go through bread 1 loaf per month) and don’t miss it. They say sugar causes cancer! 8 tablespoons of sugar in 1 can of pop! Cut that out too
    Looking forward to this!


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