Tips for Newbies: This information is no substitute for reading the book, Sugar Busters!® Cut Sugar to Trim Fat. The information contained herein is copyrighted by Sugar Busters LLC and may not be copied or distributed. It was summarized from comments on the Sweetalk Message Board and information in Sugar Busters! Cut Sugar to Trim Fat®. Thanks to Kim Harding and Linda Davis for preparing this summary.


Sugar Busters!® is a LOW sugar, not a NO sugar way of eating (WOE). With that said, you should avoid sugars as much as possible. This includes honey, molasses, corn syrup, cornstarch, modified food starch, dextrose, polydextrose, maltodextrin, etc. The more you avoid, the better off you will be. It is very difficult to avoid some of these items, especially dextrose, modified food starch and maltodextrin, so if you do want to eat something that contains these ingredients, make sure they are far down on the ingredients list AND...

Contain 3 grams of sugar or less per serving. Fruit products (including tomatoes) are an exception here if the only sugars come from the fruit, not added sugar. Check the ingredients list to see if there is any added sugar. Anything ending in -ose is usually a sugar, as well as honey, corn syrup, etc., as stated above. Dairy is also an exception if the sugars come from lactose, and are not added sugars; but be wary of dairy, especially milk, as it does cause some people to stall. If you are not losing, try cutting back on dairy products.


Legal Sweeteners:


You may use artificial sweeteners such as Sweet n’ Low, Splenda and Nutrasweet. Acceptable natural sweeteners are stevia, trutina dulcem (kiwi sweetener) and agave nectar. Sugar-free pancake syrup can also be used as a sweetener. Corn based fructose is not allowed.

Starchy Carbohydrates:


Starchy carbohydrates are breads, crackers, grains, cereals, sweet potatoes and yams, and pasta. On this plan you can have 2-3 servings of starchy carbs per day. A serving is:


1 slice of bread

½ cup of cereal, oatmeal, grains, rice, pasta

½ of a small sweet potato or yam


Eat no white flour, enriched, flours, refined flours, bleached flours, etc. Try to consume only 100% whole wheat, 100% whole grain and/or stone-ground whole-wheat products, the latter being preferred. Sprouted grain products are allowed provided they don't contain enriched flour as well. Whole-grain pastry flour, whole-grain soy, whole-grain rye, and whole-grain oat flours are also acceptable. Corn flours and meals are not acceptable.


Breads must meet the flour standards above and also the 3 grams of sugar or less rule outlined in the “Sugars” section. Some of the more commonly acceptable brands are:

Food-for-Life’s Ezekiel Bread (orange or green wrapper only)

Nature’s Own Sugar Free 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Pepperidge Farm Natural Whole Grain, 100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat

Safeway brand 100% stone ground whole wheat bread

Sara Lee 100% whole wheat

Southern Country All Whole Grain 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Sugarbusters’ brand breads – available online


Whole grain crackers are acceptable. Remember to include them in your daily starchy carb allotment. Some acceptable brands are:

Finn Crisp

Kavli Crispbread

Manischewitz whole-wheat matzos

Ryvita rye


Wasa rye

Wasa multigrain


Acceptable rice is brown rice, brown basmati rice, white basmati rice, wild rice and Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (not the instant kind; but be aware that this rice contains little to no fiber so it’s not your best choice). Do not eat white rice unless it’s white basmati rice.


Acceptable cereals are any whole grain or whole bran cereal (legal grains only) that contains 3 grams of sugar or less. Some examples are:

Kashi pilaf

Kellogg’s All-Bran Extra Fiber Cereal

Nabisco or Post 100% Bran

Nabisco or Post Shredded Wheat n’ Bran

Oatmeal (only Old-fashioned, 5-minute, rolled or steel-cut oats are acceptable. Instant oatmeal is not.)

Post Bran Flakes

Puffed Kashi

Uncle Sam’s Cereal


Acceptable pastas are whole-wheat pasta and 100% hard durum semolina pasta. Pasta should be cooked al dente. Pastas made with non-wheat flours are acceptable provided they are whole-grain.


Corn and white flour tortillas are not acceptable. Whole-wheat tortillas are ok as long as they don’t also contain enriched flour and they also fall within the 3 grams of sugar rule.



Vegetables are you best friend on this plan. You can eat just about all the vegetables you want, with the exception of potatoes (sweet potatoes and yams are acceptable), corn or corn products, beets, turnips, parsnips, or rutabagas. Try to incorporate as many legal vegetables as possible into your diet. Vegetables can be fresh, frozen or canned, but fresh is best. Pickled vegetables and olives are allowed provided they don’t contain more than 3 grams of sugar per serving. Sweet pickles and sweet pickle relish are not.


Beans: Sugar Busters!® regards beans as vegetables although they are a good source of protein and are high in starchy carbohydrates. If you are eating beans plus 3 servings of starchy carbs per day and not losing, you may want to reduce your starchy carb intake on the days you eat beans to account for the amount of carbohydrates in the beans.


Carrots: The Sugar Busters!® books state that carrots are not acceptable. Since the books were published, new testing has revealed that the results of the original glycemic testing weren’t accurate and the glycemic value for carrots is much lower than originally thought. Raw carrots can now be eaten freely and cooked carrots may be consumed in moderation.




Most fruits are acceptable with the exception of watermelon, raisins, pineapple, and bananas. One hundred percent, no-sugar added fruit juices are acceptable in moderation and count towards your fruit consumption. All-fruit and no-sugar added jams and jellies are acceptable. Avocados are a fruit and are acceptable. You may consume up to three servings of fruit a day. If you experience digestive problems from eating fruits with other foods, try eating them ½ hour before or 2 hours after a meal.



Make sure you eat enough protein. Divide your current weight by 2.2 to get the number of grams of protein you need to eat per day. If necessary, protein powder with no carbohydrates can be added to beverages or on foods to supplement protein intake. Remember that almost all foods contain some amount of protein so you need to account for them in your daily protein count as well as the obvious ones like meats, eggs, dairy, etc. It is a good idea to get hold of a good nutritional breakdown chart or find a website that gives nutritional information to determine just how much protein you are consuming. A good website to use is http://www.caloriecountercharts.com/

Choose lean protein such as white meat chicken and turkey, fish, shellfish, lean cuts of beef, pork and lamb, game, lean bacon and turkey bacon, reduced-fat sausage, eggs, egg substitutes, tofu, beans (no baked beans or pork and beans with sugar added), soy protein, nuts, seeds and nut butters (the no-sugar added variety).


Avoid sugar cured deli meats and meats high in fat.


A serving of meat should be about 3-4 ounces.


Dairy Products:


Choose low fat or fat free dairy products that are within the 3 grams of sugar per serving range. This applies to all dairy products: cheeses, cream, milk, half and half, cream cheese, sour cream, unsweetened yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. (Milk note: Milk causes insulin spikes in some people. If you find you are not losing weight, try cutting back on the amount of milk/cream/half and half you are consuming).




Healthy fats are essential for health. Use olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, walnut oil, etc. on your foods. Butter is acceptable in moderation. Avoid man-made fats such as margarine, shortening, and other hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats and oils as well as rancid fats, transfatty acids, and homogenized fats.




Water is the beverage of choice. Try to consume 8-12 eight-ounce glasses per day. Diet colas, flavored waters (the sugar free type), no-sugar added fruit juices (which are counted as portions of daily fruit allotment), tea and coffee are acceptable. (Coffee: there have been conflicting studies that indicate regular (non-decaffeinated) coffee may increase insulin production in some individuals. If you find you are consuming coffee and not losing weight, try cutting back or eliminating it from your diet for awhile and see if that helps you start losing.). Dry red and white wines are acceptable on this plan with red being the first choice. No other alcohol is allowed.




Vinegar based salad dressings are your best choice for salads because the acid in the vinegar helps lower the glycemic value of the food you are eating. The same holds true for lemon juice. Other salad dressings are acceptable, provided they comply with the 3-grams of sugar or less rule. Remember that Sugar Busters!® recommends limiting fat consumption.


Other acceptable condiments (check for sugar content) are sugar-free ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, hot sauce and salsas and sugar-free pancake syrup. If water retention is a problem, resulting in slower weight loss, check sodium content of some condiments and sauces, and reduce consumption.


Spices and Seasonings:


While most packaged seasoning mixes contain maltodextrin, they may be used in moderation as long as the sugar content follows the 3-grams or less rule. This is because the small amount of maltodextrin dispersed through the entire item you are making would not be enough to significantly raise the glycemic index of individual portions.




Cornstarch shouldn’t be used to thicken foods. Instead, try using whole grain flour, arrowroot guar gum, xanthan gum or kuzu (aka kudzu) root starch (found in health food stores). In soups and stews try adding pureed vegetables or pureed roasted garlic.


Snack Items:


These foods are acceptable in moderation. However, you risk triggering sugar cravings and potential over-eating if you rely on these treats too frequently.


Sugar-free ice cream   

Sugar-free gelatin is allowed in moderation.

Cocoa/Chocolate containing at least 60% cocoa is acceptable.

Sugar-free candies

Sweet potato chips (Terra brand)

The following are a few additional hints that have helped others incorporate this eating plan into a way of life:

- Eat fresh foods found in nature, such as eggs, fish, fowl, meats, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and fruits.

- Think fiber! Try to add low-carb, allowed vegetables to every meal, even breakfast, if desired. Try an omelet with veggies and low fat cheese. At lunch and dinner, try to have 2 vegetables (salad and cooked or raw veggie). Bulk up your 1/2-cup allowed pasta or rice servings with added veggies for a more filling meal.

- Try adding some no-sugar added jam and legal sweetener to your yogurt if you prefer the pre-sweetened types.

- Exercise! Even if it's just a walk around the block. Start out slowly and build up. Also add a light weight lifting routine when possible to help increase muscle mass and burn fat.

- Take a good, all-purpose vitamin and mineral supplement every day.

- Get enough sleep, and reduce stress whenever possible.

- Join a support group or an eGroup for extra encouragement, motivation, and assistance.

- Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up a bit. Just get right back on track with your very next meal.

- At first, if you feel hungry or experience withdrawal symptoms, go ahead and eat all you want of the legal foods. Once you're used to the program, then focus on portion control. An appropriate portion size is usually measured as food that will fit in the center of an average-sized plate, with no food on the ridges or hanging over.

- Keep cut up fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, triscuits and low fat cheese on hand for snack attacks.

- Ask questions!

- Enjoy watching your food and carbohydrate cravings stop, your appetite diminish, your tastebuds come to life, and your health, energy and stamina improve -- all while you are losing excess weight!


©Sugar Busters LLC 2002 All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized copy or distribution is strictly prohibited.