In December, most of us go on a Tour-de-Dessert; basically, every social event we attend all month long involves trays of adorably decorated sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, fruitcakes, and yule logs, which means that opting for a low-sugar diet in January just makes a whole lotta sense. Besides, once you look into it, you realize that the average American eats way more sugar than they think — all year ’round.
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Sugar is lurking in everything you most likely love to eat, even stuff you think of as generally “healthy,” like tomato sauce—even almond butter. And when you eat out, it’s almost impossible to know what’s in the foods you don’t cook yourself unless you want to be the annoying person that every waiter hates: “Hi… could you ask the chef if he uses any of these 1,859 ingredients?”
So this month, if you choose to go on a low-sugar diet, we’re in your corner. But if you’ve started the journey, you already know it’s not as easy as just putting the cookie down. You know this is exactly what that first trip to the grocery store on a low-sugar diet is like.
1. Your new, improved, low-sugar diet is about to happen. Now you just have to hit the grocery store…
Where I’m going to make so many good choices, I’m going to have to call my mom afterward.
2. You’re feeling strong about your decision to be healthier.
I. can. do. this.
3. And you’re so knowledgeable because you’ve read all the articles on low-sugar diets.
I’m basically the perfect mix of Beyonce, Michelle Obama, and Julia Child rn.
4. You know what you can and can’t eat… easy as pie.
No, wait! Not pie! Anything but pie! I didn’t mean to think about pie!
5. You walk in and see all the pretty produce.
This is my stomping ground now.
6. But how many vegetables can one person really eat?!
I’m not a rabbit — I need substance.
7. Picking up the sweetest treat you can eat — fruit — feels so good. But you know you need to limit these because natural sugar is still sugar, after all.
Yeah, I know what the glycemic iIndex is. I’ve read like seven articles—I’m basically a dietitian at this point. ::hair flip::
8. Then you start thinking about the meals you’re going to make.
Ohhh. Maybe I should have thought about this before I got here.
9. What about a healthy-looking cereal?
Ten grams of sugar?! That is not GRRREAT! #HoneyBunchesOfSugar
10. Or low-fat yogurt?
Eighteen grams of sugar?!
11. How about salad dressing for all those veggies you picked?
And maltodextrin comes from…
12. Then you pick up a bottle of Sriracha. Surely Sriracha is safe.
I’m going to die.
13. How about BBQ sauce, red sauce, anything that has flavor?
What is even happening?
14. Could you possibly live on protein bars alone?
Twenty-three grams… I might as well eat a Mars bar.
15. Then you look at the label on a simple can of soup and… nope.
Water. Vegetables. Sugar.
16. And you realize sugar has a million names, and American diets are complete crap.
WTF is sucrose, or sorghum, or barley malt, or dextrose, or diastase, or maltose?
17. So… what are you supposed to even eat?!
I’m going to starve. I feel my blood sugar plummeting.
18. And you start feeling overwhelmed and deflated… it’s hard to do this alone.
It’s only the first day of this diet. I’m never going to last.
19. You’ve been in the grocery store looking at labels for an hour.
What’s a word for hangry + sleepy?
20. And you think, “Maybe eff it, right? Sugar can’t be that bad for you?”
I’m just going to eat whatever I want from now on. Giving up now.
21. But you accidentally pass by the bakery section, and despite the amazing scent of hot sugar and butter, you think…
I will not be tempted rn!
22. Something deep inside you has said, “Wait, stop. You can do this.”
I am capable of figuring this the hell out.
23. And you finish the job — you push through to fill at least half your cart without cheating.
I did iiiiiit.
24. You’re so hungry, but now you have all the groceries you need to make a delicious, no-sugar dinner.
Yes, taco-stuffed sweet potato, here I come!