Recently, I cut sugar out of my diet. Funny thing is, I'm not a crazy health nut... Of course, after this post, you may disagree. Basically I think sugar acts more like a toxic narcotic than a nutrient. This is a NY times article written by the guy who wrote the book I read that started me on my change in diet and thought processes that have caused me to lose weight, stop being lactose intolerant and eliminated my acid reflux. I don't want to sound like an infomercial, but I don't miss sugar with everything I've gained from cutting it out. Also, it likely causes cancer.
Definitely a moderation thing. I've cut out all sugar with processed fructose (High Fructose Corn Sirup is the main culprit). I've also heavily decreased my carbohydrate intake trying to avoid or limit white flour, starches, and other simple sugars. I have a whole wheat tortilla with whatever leftovers are in the fridge from dinner and cheese for lunch, so I'm still eating carbs, just not as many simple sugars. These tortillas cook a little differently, but only have 6 net carbs because of the amount of fiber. I try to stick to anything low on the glicemic index. I eat a lot more fruits and vegetables now. I haven't increased the amount of meat I eat, instead I've replaced the breads and sugars with larger portions of fruits, vegetables and nuts. If I'm in the mood for a desert, I'll make a fruit smoothie with Agave sirup (great natural sweetener), almonds, spinach, etc or a couple apples with Adams Peanut Butter. I can't say how much I love natural peanut butter enough... ingredients: peanuts and less than 1% salt. I will occasionally have a dessert (try to keep it to once a month) and I never have soda. Soda, btw, is the absolute worst thing out there as a simple sugar. The sugar hits your liver faster and in higher quantities than anything else causing all kinds of problems. Beer is a close second.
Since sugar acts like a narcotic rather than a nutrient in your body, it took about a month to stop craving sugar like a junkie. Sugar releases the same chemicals in your brain that heroine and crack do (dopamine and serotonin) causing a very real addiction for some people (like myself). I no longer crave candy or sweets and don't miss them at all. The way I eat now allows me to eat as much quantity as I like. I don't feel like I'm starving myself and thus it takes very little "will power" to do so. Its been a surprisingly easy transition since I can pretty much eat how ever much I want whenever I want. Having said that, I already cut out corroborated drinks years ago. People have a very strong addiction to those, so that can be tough. I don't believe in the "caloric deficit" weight loss point of view for two main reasons: 1. I don't think semi-starvation diets are sustainable, thus have no lasting results. 2. Hunger is not a matter of will power or a personality flaw, but it is a natural result of the cells in your body communicating that they need energy. I don't think starving yourself is a good idea. Given all of this, it becomes necessary to understand what happens with WHAT we eat in our bodies rather than HOW MUCH because if you're eating the right things, then your body will manage the hunger signals appropriately for your system automatically.
I have cut out all condiments since most BBQ sauces, catchup, etc have corn sirup as a first or second ingredient. I do miss BBQ sauce and I'm expirementing with recipes.
I think the Paleo diet, atkins diet, and other low/no carb, high protien diets are way too extreme to be sustainable or good for you either. Complex sugars are the way to go in the sugar department if you have to have sugars at all.
The first book I've read on the subject
The cancer thing makes logical sense to me. Insulin is a growth hormone, sugar spikes insulin. More insulin, more risk of cellular mutation and growth...
You won't miss the sugar once you're finally off of it.