The Low-Sugar Lifestyle–Rules of the Game

cupcake with frosting on the frostingI’ve written quite a bit about my periodic attempts to cut out sugar from my diet and have also posted reviews of several books about the dangers of sugar. The most recent material I posted was of an interview that Gretchen Rubin did with Gary Taubes, who has now written yet a third book on this dangerous aspect of the Western diet, The Case Against Sugar. I’m including the link again here; be advised that you have to give up your e-mail address in order to gain access to the PDF. It’s about 23 pages and very worthwhile reading.

Other than the annual chocolate tasting that my sister-in-law leads each year (well, this was the second year), a few sips of pink eggnog and some cookies,, mostly barely-sweet biscotti, I stayed off sweets for the holidays. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I’ll go in and get my A1C checked—a reading that gives a three-month average of your blood sugar load.

Last time it was 6.1, which is too high. Once you get to 6.5 you’re considered to have full-blown Type 2 diabetes. I desperately need to get it back to at least below 6.0, which used to be the threshold for pre-diabetes. As with so many health indicators, however, they keep moving the goalposts. So now the pre-diabetes threshold is considered to be 5.7. I would love to see myself meet that new criterion.

Even without the risk of diabetes, however, cutting down drastically on sugar is a good thing to do. So I’m going to be writing posts on this subject on some kind of regular basis, perhaps once a week. I find that when I’m in my sugar-abstainer mode I feel much better and have more energy, so, as I say, I would be well advised to follow that eating habit even without the looming threat of having to go on medication. But since I’m such an Obliger, always needing an outer nudge to stick to a resolution, that threat is very useful to me.

Taubes’ weakness is that he doesn’t give much information about exactly what to eat, although he says in a LinkedIn interview with Rubin that he doesn’t eat “sweets, baked goods, or starchy vegetables.” So dinner parties, and going out to eat, are always a challenge. I wouldn’t go as far as he does, to be honest. In this first post I’m listing the three cardinal rules that I’ve developed. If you were to follow these rules you’d have a pretty low-sugar diet:

1. Don’t drink sugar. So no soda (or pop), no fruit juice, no sweetened beverages of any kind. Confine yourself to water and unsweetened tea and coffee. Look for items that you like. For instance, “Good Earth Original Sweet and Spicy Herbal Tea” has a strong cinnamon flavor that gives the impression of sweetness. It’s good hot or cold, and I buy it in bulk at Costco when they have it in stock. Come to think of it, I’d better check the next time I’m there, as I’m down to four boxes. I’m making myself a cup right now!

2. Don’t eat sugar. So no desserts or candy. Just say “No thank you” without big explanations. And throw that bowl of M&M’s you have sitting on your coffee table in the trash.

3. Don’t add sugar. Yes, this overlaps somewhat with the previous two points, but its main point is to get you to take the sugarbowl off the table and out of your life. When I think of how I used to eat bananas! I’d slice one up and put it in a bowl with some milk or cream, and then add brown sugar to the point that when I finished the banana I’d still have this brown-sugar sludge at the bottom of the bowl, which, of course, I’d also eat.

Oh man!

Well, that’s enough for today.


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1 thought on “The Low-Sugar Lifestyle–Rules of the Game

  1. Thanks Debi for your blog post about sugar. Any tips about kids and sugar? There are so many occasions where I feel almost obligated to provide my children with the stuff..Easter, Christmas, birthday parties etc etc. We are drowning in sugar!

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