The World Health World health organization suggests a diet of less than 60 g of sugar per day or less. Generally speaking, us humans can consume approx 200g of total carbs per day, so about 25% of them could be sugars, according to this model.
Some folks, especially sugar junkies trying to recover, ought to consider 100 – 150g of carbs per day or less, and make sure those carbs are from fiber containing sources.
So, how can we do it? I ask myself this question everyday. While I don’t go about my day counting carbs or sugar, I certainly keep these numbers in mind, mainly in the form of the concept of low sugar eating.
Through the years, here is what I have learned. I have to make my sugar grams count, otherwise I’m going to be upset that I have nothing sweet and special to look forward to. Here’s how I live on 60g of sugar per day (including the sugars in fruits):
Focus on lower sugar fruits like green apples, berries, cantaloupe, plums, peaches.
Avoid juice, flavored water or using sweetener in my tea at home.
Have Stevia in my purse to use for sweetening beverages when I go out.
Use unsweetened applesauce. The difference here is 5g sugar/serving
Mix oats with fruit and spices, like cinnamon, for flavor. I typically don’t add sweetener.
Use only plain yogurt. I don’t do much yogurt, due to the dairy thing, but I will go plain when I do!
Watch the sugar in pasta sauces. On average, a serving of jarred sauce has 10-12g of sugar. I look for something with about 8g.
I avoid boxed cereals altogether. They are high in total carbs, usually wheat or corn based, and don’t do a good job of watching portions. For me, its just best NOT to go there.
Unsweetened almond milk ROCKS! We are talking 3-5g of sugar as compared with 12-15g for even rice milk. Add some stevia if you need more sweet.
Skip the ketchup and bbq sauce, unless it “really” goes with the meal (like a BBQ house, which I do like once every 3 yrs)
Tell the important people in my life I’m not eating a lot of sugar. It helps keep me accountable. I’m a sugar junkie, always looking for her fix, so I’m gonna take a mile when I’m presented with an inch!
Lay off of the dried fruit. I found myself over-indulging in raisins, dates, and dried apples a lot when I started to avoid traditional sugar. The challenge for me is that 1/4 cup of raisins is about 25g of sugar, and I can shovel in 2-3 handfuls mighty fast….. I still eat dried fruit, but I try and add them to salads or eat them in front of someone where I’m less likely to pig out.
Be very, very humble. My sugar desires are monsterous at times. I must be honest with myself about them, and respect the food I am eating as having an effect on me. Every time I make a good choice for my body, I feel sooooo grateful.
These same guidelines apply to white flour, which is not too much different from white sugar. I tend to avoid wheat in general, which makes that one an easy choice. I always skip the crackers, cereals, muffins (unless I know they are wheat-free, but even then quite often I just pass – they set me up for cravings), pastas, and a lot of breads. Ezekiel bread is a treat in our house, and I choose to enjoy 1 slice per day when its around. I use a lot of lettuce leaves as bread and whole grains in place of pastas, which helps avoid the interference of white or wheat flour.
Sometimes it gets me down to have to think so much about sugar….and then sometimes I just don’t think about it. Unforutunately for me, however, not being conscious of it typically makes me end up eating a lot more of it that I’d prefer, as the sugar addict in me will always find a way to get her fix unless she’s kept in check.