Simple dietary rule for adults: avoid sweet flavors.
Much of the low-carb “revolution” boils down to just that. It’s easy to get caught up in complex rules, tracking, measuring, but not everyone has time and attention for all that.
A very simple rule of thumb is just to avoid sweet flavors.
The hard part is simply noticing what is sweet, especially when your sensitivity is blunted by chronic exposure to extremely sweet flavors. But that’s a homeostatic reaction that reverses easily.
Start by moving away from the most extreme sweets: liquid sweets like cola and juice. After a few weeks, you’ll find you are more sensitive to sweet flavors. Next, drop ice cream. You get more sensitive again. At each step, simply remove the sweetest thing, and your palate will get more and more sensitive.
Once you are really re-sensitized, certain foods you would never think of as sweet suddenly taste insanely so. Milk. Cereal. Bread. Fruit. Even carrots. It’s no coincidence that these foods all deliver a high glycemic load. You can taste this fact, when you are re-sensitized and paying attention.
“But what about artificial sweeteners? they’re sweet, but low-carb.”
This misses the point on a number of levels. First, it turns out that artificial sweeteners may actually make you fat by confusing your insulin response. Second, and more germane to this post, if you consume something extremely sweet, you blunt your own sensitivity to sweetness, making it harder to trust your own instincts about what is sweet, and so less able to make good choices without resorting to complex rules.
Ultimately the challenge is psychological. Do you have the wherewithal to say no to experiencing a sweet flavor? If you do, the payoff, in self-awareness and health, is huge.
Just avoid sweet flavors.