So it’s likely that you have ended up at this post because you have read my sugar free story and you thought you might give it a shot for yourself. This post explains what it’s like to cut out refined and chemical sugars, how to do it, the weird and surprising things it’s in along with alternatives and a whole bunch of recipes. To those of you trying this out, I would love to hear your experiences or any questions you have at all about my experience
Tips for Cutting Out Sugar
In this day and age, refined sugar is in such a huge amount of food that we buy, even in ‘low fat’ or ‘diet’ pre-prepared meals which look like they are totally healthy from the outside, but actually are laden with added sugars. All this means that cutting out sugar takes time and commitment as well as dealing with the cravings.
The best advice I can give about how to fully commit yourself is to pin point exactly why you are cutting out sugar. What is your aim? Is it to try to lose weight, to become healthier, to provide more wholesome meals for your family?
Visualise yourself in that final scenario and it will really help you through the times when you are hardcore craving a chocolate bar.
Sugar is in a huge amount of prepared foods, so you will need to start reading the labels on absolutely everything before you buy it. I know it sounds like a lot and truthfully it makes your first few shops a bit longwinded but like anything, once you know it, you know it and you won’t have to read the label on that box of crackers
you were going to buy last time you went shopping. Which leads me into my next point:
Increase your Knowledge
This is a naturally occurring sugar. Some guides out there advise cutting out even natural sugars to begin with, I personally did not do this so…go eat a strawberry.
Now, onto the truly bad guys. Sugar sometimes wears a secret disguise which can be hard to detect if you don’t know what you’re looking for, sorry Sherlock. Here are the main culprits you should be avoiding:
This is your everyday, white, sparkly table sugar.
Don’t let the word ‘corn’ fool you into thinking this is the same as a natural sugar. Corn Syrup is a type of syrup which is made from corn starch with added chemicals.
Dextrose is glucoses’ cousin which is taken from starches, I know, appetizing. Often used as a preservative, it can be found in some pretzels and frozen fries.
Another chemical syrup made from corn – Oh corn, you used to be so cool man, you’ve changed – which is used as a sweetener.
Suddenly realising that its 7am, you’re about to leave for work and you don’t have anything prepared for your lunch that day is not a particularly fun experience. Gone are the days when you can easily order something in or get a pre-cooked meal so you find yourself scrambling around the kitchen trying to make a nutritious lunch in 5 mins before you have to run out the door.
The best way to avoid this situation is to plan out your meals in advance so, like the boy scouts you are always prepared.
Plus, not only does planning your meals help with being organised, it helps to keep costs down.
As much as possible, the best thing you can do is to cook from scratch. That way you know 100% what is in your food, no preservatives, no sneaky added sugar hiding under another name, just pure, natural ingredients.
For those of you who don’t find the idea of cooking particularly thrilling, all the recipes on my website aim to be easy, not too fussy and many can be cooked in batches.
Keep at It
Lastly, my advice is to stick at it!
If even me, the girl who basically used to eat the way an 8-year-old with control of the shopping list on her birthday can do it, you can do it too.
So long as you don’t cheat, the hard times, the cravings, irritability etc. will all pass after about 5 days to a week, at that point all your cravings will be gone and you will well and truly be in the swing of your new lifestyle.
If you do slip up, you will be resetting the clock back to that first day but keep going, don’t be discouraged, nobody is perfect and I promise, the results are totally worth it.
Here is a list of the food products which have refined and/or chemical sugar and some suggested alternatives. This isn’t an exhaustive list of every product known to man that contains refined/chemical sugar but I have included products which I was surprised to discover contain refined sugar.
|Food Containing Refined and/or Chemical Sugar||
Sugar Free Alternative
|Standard Peanut Butter||Standard peanut butter usually contains sugar so look out for organic brands such as Meridian and Whole Earth.|
|Breakfast or Nutrition Bars||Healthy Granola Balls
|Flavoured Yogurt||Try having organic Greek yogurt sweetened with honey and seasonal berries for flavour|
|Breakfast Muffins||Banana Muffins – Michaella’s Kitchen|
|Chain Café and Supermarket Smoothies||Spirulina Sweet Smoothie
|Iced Latte||Mocha Smoothie|
|Supermarket Sliced White Bread and some Sliced Brown Bread||Good quality sourdough bread or ciabatta loaf from your local bakers.
If you do not have easy access to a bakery, speak to the team in the bakery department of your supermarket. Many loaves which are baked or part baked in store do not have refined sugar and the staff have ingredient lists out the back.
|Store Bought Salad Dressings||Lemon Pesto Dressing|
|Frozen Fries – These usually contain Dextrose which is a sugar derived from starches.||Sweet Potato Fries|
|Cured Meats – Contains Dextrose||Not all cured meats contain dextrose so where possible, buy your meats from a butcher or deli who will be able to give you further information about the contents.|
|Canned Foods – e.g. Chickpeas – Contain Dextrose||Organic chickpeas, dry or canned organic|
|Pretzels and Savoury Chips/Crisps||Not all commercially bought crisps have added sugar, keep an eye out for brands like Kettle or Tryells.|