I gave up eating anything with sugar added on January 23, 2014. If you think that sounds like a pain-in-the-ass rule to follow, you are right. I’ve had to amend it to “knowingly eat anything with sugar added,” as I’ve run into quite a few suspect salad dressings in restaurants, and had the horrible realization that even a plain bagel has some sweetener in the dough. I made this rule for myself to follow as a means of self-preservation, because I have no shut-off valve for sweets. In following this rule, I’m like the alcoholic who won’t eat coq au vin or a burgundy-infused beef stew. (Bananas foster would be out for both of us.)
I’m allowing myself things that are sweet but have no sugar added, like fruit and carrots and almonds. Once you go sugar-free, you start realizing how sweet things like almonds naturally are. I can’t even drink an Izze (delicious fruit juice spritzer) now without cutting it with lots more fizzy water—the fruit juice is too intense. The only sugar-added recipe I use is for broccoli crunch (raw broccoli in a dressing of soaked cashews blended with apple juice—the single best way to down some broccoli).
If you are confused about whether fruit juice is a straight-up sweetener that needs to be handled with care by the potentially sugar-debilitated, consider this illuminating graphic from Sugar Stacks, a site that depicts that amount of sugar in foods and beverages via stacks of sugar cubes. That there is 26 grams of sugar in the 8 oz. glass of juice. Dudes, that is SO MUCH sugar. The amounts shown for apple juice and Coke differ in the photos only because the amounts differ: 8 oz. juice versus 12 oz. Coke. However, apple juice has exactly as much sugar as Coke PER OUNCE. Yikes!