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Habits for the New Year and Beyond – #2 Develop a Distaste for Refined Sugar

I hope you enjoyed the first habit to start in the new year and beyond – I am imagining lemons being squeezed all over the world on January 1st morning.

However, you don’t need to wait until then – go out, buy some lemons and get going already! Life is short. You can experience wellness now!

On to Habit #2….

#2 Develop a Distaste for Refined Sugar

Asking you to eliminate every type of “sugar” from your diet is just crazy – any person trying to do this will fail in the long run. The key here is to still include sugar in your diet but get it in forms that your body can easily assimilate and sources that also provide nutrients, minerals and vitamins your body will use. Avoiding man-made sugars made from cane, beet and corn but still enjoying naturally occurring sugar in moderation is one of the keys to ultimate balance in life.

The problem with eating refined sugar from cane, corn or beets vs. other sources of  sugar, is that refined sugar is acid forming in the body because it has been chemically stripped of its minerals. The natural minerals in whole food are important for our bodies ability to process nutrients in food and to ultimately keep our bodies alkaline. Remember – a body in an alkaline state is primed to avoid disease and a myriad of other aliments.

So how do you develop a distaste for refined sugar?

Step 1 – Don’t buy, consume or keep products in your house with the following ingredients in them:

barley malt, beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered syrup, caramel, carob syrup, corn syrup, corn-syrup solids, dextran. dextrose, diastase, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, fructose, glucose, glucose solids, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, malitol, raw sugar, refiner’s syrup, sorbitol, sorghum syrup. sucrose, turbinado sugar, yellow sugar

This doesn’t mean you can replace these sugars with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. Those are off limits too! They are just as bad for the body and even worse because some of them have been proven to be carcinogenic.  (Note:  If you are diabetic, stevia and xylitol are your best and safest options.)

Step 2 – Continuously train your palate for natural sweetness….

Before you decide on a dessert or something sweet to eat – think about the natural options you have available that will satisfy your sweet tooth – The satisfaction you will get from natural and unaltered foods will go far beyond their processed counterparts. Overtime, your distaste for refined sugar will come naturally and it will become innate. I am a living example in this change of mindset – my friends and family who know me understand this very well watching me grow into who I am today.  My mother can’t stand the look I make when I find out something has refined sugar or other chemicals in it – she said if I don’t stop making this face – my face will permanently start to look like a frown. (BTW Mom – I’m trying to work on this… ) Nonetheless – this might happen to you if you develop this habit in the new year – be warned! 🙂

Here are some satisfying trades I make when I crave something sweet –

When I crave chocolate – I go for a piece of a Righteously Raw Bar that is comprised of 90% raw cacao and sweetened with goji berries and agave nectar. These chocolate peppermint patties made with honey are just fantastic too!

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When I crave something fruity – I eat a couple of “sulfur dioxide” free dried organic fruits mixed – like apricots, prunes, cherries, golden berries, dates, goji berries and figs mixed with coconut. Dried coconut for some reason has a natural sweetness to it – but has less than one gram of sugar per serving.  Sometimes, I drink cranberry or fruity herbal teas. Making a quick apple cobbler with just apples, cinnamon, oats and a little sprinkle of maple syrup in a ramekin also does the trick.

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When I crave something chewy, warm and comforting – I make cookies made with Food Babe’s Sugar Blend or coconut palm sugar. Also – I like to make warm brown rice pudding with unsweetened almond milk with a little honey or maple syrup.

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When I want some ice cream or something cold – I eat Luna and Larry’s coconut ice-cream or a bowl of frozen grapes.

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When I crave something salty and sweet – I make kettle corn with stevia or eat pieces of sprouted wheat pretzels dipped in raw cacao chocolate.

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Get the gist? See how easy that is?

If you develop this habit and practice it on a regular basis, you’ll be less likely to go overboard when presented and tempted with refined sugar desserts. Even more, you’ll naturally eat less sugar in the long run because your body is getting real nutrition from the food that hasn’t been chemically altered. Eventually…you’ll get that distaste for refined sugar and your desire for ultimate nutrition will become intuitive. What a wonderful habit to develop and keep for life, no?

Ahhh…I can hear your response now when someone asks you if you want that double stuffed oreo – “that’s just a little too sweet for me, no thanks!”

Anybody have other swaps they’d like to share? I’d love to here them! Leave a comment here or visit my Facebook Fan Page and share your inspiration!

Want more info and ideas on sugar?

Here’s to enjoying the sweet life all year long!!

Food Babe

P.S. Next Up – The best restorative thing you can do for your body in the New Year and for the rest of your life!

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69 responses to “Habits for the New Year and Beyond – #2 Develop a Distaste for Refined Sugar

    1. Definitely not prunes, bananas and dates 🙂 I wonder if they use evaporated cane juice or straight up refined sugar – I should call and ask 🙂

  1. What are the suggested alternatives to satisfy a craving for, say… an original glazed krispy kreme donut?

    Also, how much might a bag of date sugar or organic coconut palm sugar cost in comparison to corn syrup or white sugar or any of the other more readily available sweeteners that have apparently been belched up from hell to poison the earth?

    1. I’ll have to give that some thought – luckily I don’t crave doughnuts. They are tasty though. Have you seen my recreation of “Chick-Fil-A”?

      Coconut Palm Sugar can be surprisingly close to cost of sugar – check out this 16 ounce bag from iHerb for only 3 dollars and some change. Not bad…considering you aren’t using loads and loads of sugar in your food or baking all the time…

      1. Going to give up my 10 oz. bag of Pyure Stevia Sweetener Bakeabe Blend since someone sent me your August 2013 article on Stevia. My bags Ingredients: Maltodextrin, Organi c Reb A (Stevia extract) and Natural Flavor.

        Now, the 1 lb. bag of Organic Coconut Palm Sugar is $5.14 plus shipping ($4.00 to me) unless you have a coupon. Got any coupons? Or should I order 4 bags to get free shipping from iHerb?

      2. i am so confused. i started using splenda then got off of splenda went back to white sugar now i should try and get off of white sugar. i only use sugar in my coffee. so i should use coconut sugar? is that better then the other.
        thank you in advance

    2. I’ve been a Krispy Kreme fan for as long as I can remember. Fortunately, there isn’t one close by our home. Had some recently on a trip, and my goodness, they were sickeningly sweet. Yuck. You’ll get over that craving. It takes time. The more your body gets that stuff, the more you want it. The opposite is true as well.

  2. You say not to eat anything containing fructose. Yet fructose is found in nearly all fruits. So are you suggesting not to eat fruit? I also hope you aren’t advocating for the use agave nectar. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know that agave nectar has a surprisingly similar molecular structure/composition to that of high fructose corn syrup.
    I’m a nutritional biochemist, and have been preparing for some research projects looking at agave nectar. It is not as good as we initially thought it was.

    I also find it strange that you rail against refined sugar yet rave about coconut palm sugar, which undergoes heavy refinement. Coconut palm sugar is just as “refined” as table sugar, but clever marketing would lead you to think otherwise.

    Your research seems to be a bit off on many fronts.

    1. Hi Jesse – Thanks for stopping by and allowing me the chance to clarify my thoughts above. When I listed the ingredients to avoid…I listed the names you would typically see on a ingredient list in processed foods. When you buy an apple – it doesn’t say _% fructose or when you buy a date it doesn’t say _% glucose… As a general guideline – if you see the words listed on an ingredient list the sugars in the form of glucose or sucrose have been “extracted” from one or more natural sources and probably denatured in some form or fashion. You also don’t know where it is coming from – which is one of the issues with our food supply.

      On the subject of agave nectar – there is a huge discrepancy on differing kinds of it for sure! (Raw vs. heavily processed that can really wreak havoc if you eat it in excess.) I am in total agreement – however, the small amount that is in coconut ice-cream I mention is far better than HFCS or refined sugar from genetically modified sugar beets or corn IMO. Also – by eliminating processed foods that have white sugar and HFCS you will likely eliminate other harmful additives from your diet too – like transfat, preservatives and food coloring. An added bonus! I’d love to see your report on agave when it comes out! Please keep me posted.

  3. LOL, you have no idea what you are talking about! Coconut palm sugar is comprised of about 70-80% SUCROSE. And the rest is GLUCOSE and FRUCTOSE. Honey is made up of FRUCTOSE and GLUCOSE. I could go on, but I won’t.

    Yet in Step 1 you say “don’t buy, consume or keep products in your house” that contain those EXACT SAME sugars in them. WTF?

    And newsflash – no kind of sugar, refined or “natural” is a significant source of any vitamin, nutrient or mineral. Why? Because sugar is primarily used, biologically speaking, in our bodies for ENERGY. Not for nutrients. Sure, honey for instance has iron in it. But you’d have to consume about FIVE CUPS of it just to get half of your recommended daily value for iron. So your concern for the nutrient profiles of sugars is silly and misguided.

      1. It is interesting that you mentioned to the above commenter that prices can be similar, yet the second article you posted above specifically says that cost is a major drawback of using the types of sugars to endorse. That article also cites Wikipedia as a “source” – you know anyone can go in and edit that, right? For example, I could go in and change an article on nuclear biology, and I haven’t taken a biology course since high school. So that information is not necessarily accurate. I do agree most Americans can benefit from less sugar, but a life without Peeps is not one I am interested in living.

      2. Luckily – I was able to find the sugar at a reduced cost on the internet. The price of non refined sugars and organic ingredients in general are going to cost more. If you shop around you can find better prices – making the switch more reasonable if you are on a budget.

      3. Wow Alyssa your ignorance amuses me if you don’t like the wonderful advice you can click on the X on the very far right corner:) If you are not interested in your health than why and how did you even get here?? We all obviously know that its because you as well know that she’s right but maybe you are too LAZY or broke to do what is right! or better yet all the sugar from your “peeps” ate all them brain cells. GL

      4. I am pretty “lazy” and “broke”, but could you point out which part of the comment I left a year and a half ago led you to think I was ignorant? I reread it and I’m not clear what I said that would cause someone to draw that conclusion.

  4. That’s to say… you don’t eat REAL food? When REGULAR people crave chocolate, guess what?
    They eat chocolate.

    1. Well, when us ACCELERATED people care about exactly what KIND of chocolate is going into our bodies, we want to be in the know. We want REAL ingredients and products with REAL intentions. Anyone can take a piece of sh*t and cover it in chocolate…. it’s still sh*t.

  5. Hi, I am new to your site, but enjoying getting some new ideas from you. I have a question about where you get your dried fruit. I shop at Sprouts, which is like our local version of EarthFaire and they have a great variety of dried fruits both packaged and in bulk. But I cannot seem to find anything except for raisins, coconut, and apricots that don’t have sugar added. Cranberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, mango, papaya, pineapple etc all have sugar added. It is so frustrating! Do you have an internet source that you use, or are you able to find them at your local stores?

    1. Hi Stefanie – Sorry to hear you are having trouble finding good dehydrated/dried fruit… I love this brand and I get this at either Earth Fare or on Amazon – Check it out!

      Also – Eden foods sweeten their more tart fruits like cranberries with apple juice.

      Do you have a Trader Joes in your area? Sometimes they have a good selection…

  6. After reading the comments on this post I just wanted to add my two cents and say thank you for providing resources for people who do want to change their lifestyle and dietary habits and aren’t sure how to go about it. I think you are a very knowledgeable and do your best to present information in an easy to read format that can be extremely hard to convey normally.

    Keep it up I think you’re awesome!

  7. Hi, I am so shocked people are so mean to you about sugar! WOW. But I am really confused, I just last night decided i have to stop using sugar when I bake and bought agave nectar and was going to try to figure out how to bake with that. Ive been learning little by little this year from you and the 100 days of real food lady….Changing to whole wheat flour, no processed anything, lots of fruits and veggies and cutting down sugar I use when baking. What do you suggest and can you explain a little more about whats wrong with that agave stuff? I heard it was good because its not sugar and also doesn’t mess up your body because its low glycemic….. If you have time.. thanks so much. Could you email the response to me? I really appreciate you doing all this to help people like me learn more about food. It is so obvious that you have NO personal gain or agenda besides honesty in food and health, Im so sorry people are so rude and mean! Please be encouraged that you are making a difference and helping people. Lots of whom probably dont comment, like me.

    1. Read what Kimberly Snyder says about agave. It scared me away from it for sure. She wrote The Beauty Detox Diet.

  8. I admit I am addicted to sugar. I have had a major problem with this for years, a problem that has affected many significant areas of my life. As I become more aware of how unhealthy, and/or unethical so many of our food options are its quite discouraging and depressing. I find myself tricked time and again. Thank you for the amazingly helpful list of refined sugars you provided, this will be so incredibly helpful in my personal quest to eliminate unhealthy forms of sugar from my life. This is not easy, especially for me, but with some willpower and more and more information available, I believe I can do this.

  9. I can do a LOT in the name of health but I can’t give up my sugar 🙂 but good for you for being able to! I do make everything I can from scratch though and replace sugar with honey as much as possible and I’m pretty proud of that!

  10. No fructose, sucrose, or glucose. That includes all fruits and vegetables.

    Oh and grapes are the original GMO food. Do you honestly think the typical seedless frozen grape is anything close to what nature intended. It’s been genetically cultivated by man (muahaha) over thousands of years of splicing root stock and human selection to produce what we humans desire as a table grape, a hefty, thin-skinned, cloying fruit. A wine grape is far closer to what nature intends and those are small, tight, thick-skinned, acidic, and have seeds to – you know – reproduce. Quite frankly all wine is genetically modified onto native American root stock so if you drink wine you are drinking GMOs.

    And don’t get me started on all the citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, ascorbic acid, potassium bicarbonate, copper sulfate, velcrin, ozone, sulfites, and all those other scary sounding chemicals you don’t understand used in wine production. Not to mention all the GMO yeasts you are allowed to use.

    I hope I have ruined both grapes and wine for you because someone who spouts “Post hoc ergo propter hoc” nonsense with no industry experience or food science degree should not be allowed to enjoy the finer engineered foods. But lets be honest everything you consume has been altered by man at some point in the past millenia.

    1. I believe she meant no fructose, sucrose, or glucose for foods in which those ingredients do not naturally occur.

      I also don’t believe she’s “spouting” anything without a fair amount of research. She’s just trying to help people make healthier choices. I’m not sure why it’s necessary to try and undermine her thoughts on the matter in a rude way.

    2. Ben, There is a major difference between GMOs and breeding. GMOs use a modern, technological approach to artificially manipulate the genes by inserting other species of plants and animals. Breeding, which has been around for hundreds of years, (Brother Mendel was one of the earliest practitioners to document this practice) works within one species to encourage/discourage various traits that are native to the plant or animal. Confusing the two is grossly misleading to people who may not have a scientific background.

    3. To Ben: Splicing root stock is not the same as genetically engineering a herbicide with a seed grain and creating a herbicide tolerant canola or a bt cotton, or has been done, a tomato with a fish gene. Nature cannot do that. GMOs are a new technology never seen before, ever.

    4. There’s always, organic wine, or biodynamic wine, and sustainable wine.

      I love you, food babe, for helping me sort through all the crap to feed myself and my family better!!

  11. All I can say is “rock ON Foodbabe!”. Ignore the trolls. I think it’s great you are sharing your passion. Anything can be second guessed and it’s clear to me at least that it is THEY who have the alterior motive. It shows in their tone and attitude and ironically despite their trollish efforts only underscores your points. I love how you respond with class. There are educated idiots and uneducable idiots and above we see examples of both. Keep sharing and keep up the great work!

  12. I just want to say thank you. This information is very helpful. I’m grateful that you sojourn on in spite of the nasty commentators.

  13. Hello all, from Hidden Hills, California I want to mention, I like this post. However, it is funny how I ended up on your article. I searched for party bus rental st. louis mo on Bing and ended up on your website. I must say I do like your site and will check back soon. But I need to find the limo I was originally looking for first. Have a wonderful day! adios.

    1. I make stevia popcorn by adding a few drops of liquid stevia to the pan, then about a tablespoon of coconut oil and the popcorn kernels. Heat & pop, sprinkle with sea salt. Tastes like kettle corn. Another version that tastes like cheesy pop corn is to pop in coconut oil and sprinkle in sea salt & braggs nutritional yeast.

  14. Hi…

    You said you make brown rice pudding. What about the organic and inorganic arsenic rice contains? Especially brown rice and in organic rice too.

    1. Hi Anahi – Food Babe just makes sure she uses brands of rice that she trusts like Alter Eco, TruRoots or Lundberg. We encourage you to contacts companies too and ask lots of questions about their practices, testing etc… Good Luck!

      1. Krista (or whoever gets this message), we would like to thank you so much for mentioning the brands of rice that are acceptable because WE ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE ARSENIC IN RICE! We have really scaled back our diets ever since finding out so much information about foods…and what they have in them. THANK YOU AGAIN.

  15. I have been fortunate enough to fully feel the effects of eliminating sugar from my diet. Lost weight and felt better than I ever have. I promise, to anyone who hasn’t done it yet, you will get over your cravings. I had fresh, straight from the oven, bakery chocolate chip cookies in our house, emanating that smell everywhere I went. I didn’t even want one. Honest. Nor did I feel the need to substitute something better for me. Honest. Just wish I could get back to that healthy place (illness has sidetracked my way of eating, but I am determined to get back on track!) It is a tremendous battle to cut refined sugar from your diet, but so worth it. Going to practice what I preach right now and grab a glass of water. Thanks for these mini lifestyle changes, FoodBabe! And for keeping us on track with our health.

  16. I think these haters are hating cause they’re jealous of how hot you are! 😉 Keep up the good work Babe! 🙂

  17. Hi Food Babe,
    Just found your site. It is an education! But I’m confused about this article. You’re saying to avoid refined sugar. But in your list of sugars to avoid you list raw sugar — UNrefined sugar.

    If we’re to avoid refined sugar, isn’t unrefined sugar a good alternative when you need to use real sugar as opposed to stevia, etc.? Or is it just as evil?

    1. Hi Shelley. Raw sugar is less refined but still somewhat refined and she says to avoid sugar from cane, beet, and corn which raw sugar is. Try and use coconut palm sugar, honey, or maple syrup in place of regular sugar (refined or raw) whenever possible. I know it is a little confusing – hope that helps. 🙂

  18. Hi Food Babe,

    My goodness it pains me to see how negative people can be. I, like you, spend my time trying to educate people on healthy eating. I loved your interview on Marie TV,
    (the business babe) and I am very happy that you are doing the work you are doing. Researching and then educating on food is difficult as so many things change and it is SOOO confusing for everyone. The work you do helps us take control of what we put in our mouth and into our body. We deserve the right to know what the hell is going into our food chain so that we can make educated decisions for ourselves and our family.
    You keep on doing all your good work food babe. You and your voice are very valuable to all of us! All love and goodness going your way! Love, Jill

  19. Wait….What is wrong with raw sugar, brown sugar & turbinado sugar?
    Does organic in these items matter?

  20. Hi Food Babe!
    My wife and I really appreciate all of the information you so tirelessly post.
    It is a great help to us. It helps us to steer clear of all processed foods! As far as sugar goes, there is a book called Sugar Blues by William Dufty. My wife and I stopped eating sugar and swithed to organic stevia powder after reading his book. It is very easy to find Sugar Blues on eBay. One thing I would like to mention is the danger of foods containing gluten. I’m Italian and I grew up on pasta and pizza (your pizza article is a real eye-opener!) I had a problem with rashes, blotches and itching on my lower legs. Since eliminating gluten from my diet, my legs are like new and My blood pressure is even going down! I hope eliminating gluten will even facilitate a weight loss! I think it would be a good idea for you to research gluten in foods and the effect it has on our health!

    1. Hi Evo ‘ n’ One! It sounds like you may have a gluten sensitivity or there is something else in your pasta (white flour? GMO wheat? other chemicals) that may have caused your rashes. (Celiac is not likely – losing weight would be easy.) It’s good your elimination diet has worked for you, but gluten free isn’t necessarily healthier – especially if you don’t bake from scratch. The premade gluten free foods are often filled with all sorts of unhealthy ingredients. I’m not celiac nor do I have a gluten sensitivity, but I know people who are. If someone can eat gluten, they should. Just be careful it’s the better glutens, not refined junk. I would still strongly urge you to get tested just to be sure you’re not celiac. It’s the only way to know for sure.

  21. Hi Vani,

    Firstly, thank you for continuously sharing your knowledge and lifestyle habits. I am an avid ingredient reader and only eat organic foods. I have greatly reduced my sugar intake however do feel that I can reduce it further. With that said, I love coffee though only do drink one cup a day – two on Sundays as a treat – and have reduced my sugar from 8 grams to 6 and soon to 4 grams. I noticed on your list you have brown sugar as a no-no of sugars. It is the only time I “add” sugar to anything that I consume. I only use organic brown sugar (currently Florida Crystals brand), is this sugar still unhealthy and what, in your educated opinion, would you advise as a comparable replacement please?

    Thank you as always!


  22. I was going along with all your insights mentioned in your website up until you mentioned to give up all sugars and use ASPARTAME!!!! Shame on you

      1. Pam, Wow! My bad. I totally misread her article above to say replace sugar with Aspartame. So sorry… Phew, my faith has been restored. Thank you for responding.

  23. I love your insight on ditching sugar! However, I have 4 kids, one who has extensive food allergies. As a mom who is already overwhelmed by what to feed him, as well as what to make that my other kids will eat, I have to admit… I dunno what to do. Do you have any grain-free, nut-free recipes that would might appeal to a child’s palate ?

  24. I made the switch to stevia about a year ago. I use it in my coffee and tea. However I recently read an article linking stevia to reproductive issues. Do you know if there is any truth to that? What do you recommend instead to add some sweetness to coffee and tea?

  25. You must be doing something right…..being attacked by trolls and haters is a sure sign that your information is beneficial! Keep up the good work and thank you!


  26. I looked and searched but didn’t see a recipe for that brown rice pudding you mentioned any chance you might pass that on? 🙂 Thanks

  27. Another healthy desert that you should include is with a Yonanas. You need a Yonana machine but I believe the benefits are worth it. Using frozen bananas and any other type of frozen fruits except citrus. No sugar added. Check the Yonana machine on line and let me know what you think. You don’t need much to satisfy your sweet craving. Hope it will be on your blog or site one day?

  28. question: is it ok to use lime rather than lemon for the morning drink with cayenne?
    Thanks! I am so proud of your work and tell many people about you! You go, girl!

  29. Thank you so much Food Babe….I decided to try the Cayene pepper for the purpose of gradual weight loss. I have faithfully been drinking warm water with Lemon Cayene pepper first thing in the morning for 3 weeks now and amazingly some changes that have happened to me would easily have gone unnoticed. I no longer have back ache, especially in the morning. My sinuses don’t not not bother me much (no more Celestamine) and best of all, I went through my menses without the super-strong painkillers I was hooked to! I will definitely pick up more habits!

  30. My organic sugar ingredients are: Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, I dont see that on the avoid list, what are your thoughts? Love your website, thanks!

  31. You have mentioned stay away from agave but on this list the chocolate you mentioned is sweetened with it?

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