Tips on Quitting Processed Sugar

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For those of you new to my blog, I am a huge believer in quitting processed sugar.  Before switching to a whole food diet, I was a HUGE sugar addict.  I dumped tons in my coffee, loved cookies and cakes and even had a little stash of jellybeans in the car.  I never had a weight problem, but I always had that extra 5-7 lbs that I just couldn’t seem to loose.  When I quit processed foods and sugars, I lost weight without even trying!  Since then, I never count calories and stay at 122 lbs.  I haven’t been this thin since before I had my babies! Sugar is an awful drug that makes you want more and more. Once you kick it, you will no longer crave it.  I promise.  Here are some tips that may help you.

1.  Start reading labels.  Most all processed foods contain high fructose corn syrup or some other form of processed sugar.  To see a list of additives found in processed foods, click here.

2.  Take it out of your coffee.  This was the first step I took.  The first few days were a bit rough, but then I got used to it and actually like my coffee better with just some milk.

3.  Swap out your flavored yogurt for plain, whole fat yogurt.  Most fat free or low fat yogurts contain extra sugar to make them taste as good as their full fat equivalents.  Not to mention the chemical process that takes place to remove the fat.  Once you are eating plain yogurt, you can add in your own raw honey or fresh fruit to sweeten it a bit.

4.  Look at your milk.  Milk, especially the flavored kind, can contain a high amount sugar.  This goes for dairy and non dairy.  I know for non dairy, you can buy the plain or unsweetened version.  If you need a little flavoring, you can add a bit of vanilla extract to it.

5.  When baking, swap out processed sugars for less processed sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar.  Beware of so-called healthy sweeteners like agave.  You can read this post to find out why it’s not as healthy as it seems.   These three sugars are mostly processed in nature. You can even cut the sugar in most recipes and the dish will still be plenty sweet. To read my full breakdown on sweeteners, click here.

6.  If you are a soda drinker, slowly cut down your consumption until you have quit for good.  Don’t replace soda for diet soda either.  In my opinion, diet soda is even worse.  Stay away from Vitamin Water as well.  It contains almost as much sugar as a can of coke!  You can read more about that here.

7.  Catch up on your reading.  There are several books that can explain the dangers of sugar.  One I recommend is The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout That Is Making You Fat and Sick. Another book that explains the dangers of artificial sweeteners is called Sweet Deception: Why Splenda, NutraSweet, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health.

8.  Start using spices and some foods to make your food seem sweeter without adding any sugar.  Some of those include: cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, applesauce and avocado.  I swear this is true and I can personally tell you that this vanilla powder is worth every penny.  I add it to everything and it really does make a difference!

9.  When looking at nutrition facts, try to keep your sugar grams under 5 per serving.  4 grams of sugar = 1 tsp.  It’s good to keep that in mind when looking at labels.

10.  If you get a craving for something sweet, try drinking a glass of water or brushing your teeth.  You might notice it disappear afterward.

Even baby steps that you take can make a big difference.  Maybe you can pick just one of these at a time and start.  I will leave you with this picture that explains what sugar does when you eat it.


124 thoughts on “Tips on Quitting Processed Sugar

  1. I am giving up processed sugar for Lent. I’m usually pretty good at avoiding sweets, but the amount of hidden sugars is shocking! This is going to be a tough road, but I know it will be totally rewarding! Thanks for the post!

  2. Hi Melissa!

    I just found your blog and so far am loving it and will be doing a lot of reading :) I just wanted to share our story with you regarding the processed sugar. My daughter suffers with migraines and after many years we were able to link her migraines to… processed sugars! Yes, anything that contains glucose-fructose and corn syrup are taboo products for us. As a result, we have had to cut down bringing many of our favourite processed foods in the house and changing how we eat. Blogs, like yours are a wonderful resource for me – I find we’re always on the hunt now for ideas and recipes that use whole foods!


  3. I’m good with all of these – my trouble is when I am not controlling my food – baked goods in the office kitchen and “working lunches” – or parties and social situations when I don’t feel like I have control over my food. I could use some tips for managing when you don’t have control of your food (and I know the first tip would be “always make sure you can control your food.”

    1. For working lunches, can’t you order something healthy? Like a salad with the dressing on the side? When I got to parties, I normally always bring a dish everyone can enjoy and I eat that. There is always the fruit and veggie trays too. Being vegan helps because I usually cannot eat any of the baked goods at parties.

  4. Can really identify with this post, as it reinforces what I have been doing.
    In April I made a conscious decision to cut out most processed sugars (two candy bars a day, potato chips, jelly beans, all sodas, cakes and muffins, etc) from my diet.
    Have lost 25 pounds, and 12cm from my waist, in the eight months and one week since that date.
    That might not sounds like a big weight loss, but partly it is because I have been going to gym three times a week for 90mins a session and have packed on muscle in shoulders, biceps, triceps, etc. at the same time.
    I drink my coffee black, have increased my daily water intake to two litres, and allow myself the odd whiskey or two, and eat plenty of fruit. Every morning and most evenings I take a glass of whey protein supplement.
    Have not been as fit or healthy in 25 years.
    Keep up the good work. xx

  5. or, just slice some ginger and lemon then put them in a cup add water and drink it during the day. In few days sugar cravings would be gone. Don’t forget to check out the sugar withdrawal symptoms, though.

  6. Do you have any other suggestions on books to read for Clean Eating and getting rid of processed food? Your cookbook is amazing!

  7. I just reviewed your delicious smokey roasted chickpea recipe and thought I’d just mention here that I find eating something savoury when craving something sweet, like your chickpeas, surprisingly cuts down my sweet craving. Maybe this is just me, but maybe someone else out there is the same. And the beauty of the chickpeas is that I find that I eat only one at a time and find that I am satisfied just after a small handful, and I love to eat – lots, so I find it’s like eating pop corn but probably better for me.

  8. I have only just found this blog, i trulyvdo find that people like you makee a huge amount of difference to anyone with problems, but i was wondering how long it took you to loose weight? Was it a long process? Did you exersize along with it? ☺

    1. I didn’t have too much weight to lose. Just about 5-7lbs of leftover baby weight. It took about a month to lose it. I did exercise.

  9. I have only just found this blog, i truly do find that people like you makee a huge amount of difference to anyone with problems, but i was wondering how long it took you to loose weight? Was it a long process? Did you exersize along with it? ☺

  10. This is really inspirational! It’s terrifying knowing just how much sugar we’re consuming without realising. I’ve recently taken-up the ‘no processed sugar’ challenge – wish me luck! For those wanting more info, I’d check out an American documentary called ‘Fed Up’ – it has a lot of info relating to processed sugars and some scary scatistics! Thanks for the recipes Melissa – please keep them coming :)! Good luck all! xx

    1. Thanks Sarah! Good luck! You got this. If I can quit, anyone can. :) I did see Fed Up and it made me mad that eating healthy is such an uphill battle in this country.

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