I Quit Sugar For 30 Days And This Is What Happened

No added sugars, no artificial sweeteners, no fake sugars, no honey, no agave, no syrup, no joy.

I honestly wish the above statement were a joke, but it’s not. For me, sugar IS a drug. When faced with my food demon, it’s as if I lose all control and rationality and can only focus on eating a cookie, or brownie, a chocolate babka from Bread’s Bakery , or whatever sugar vessel is on my mind.

Upon clicking this article, you are here, I imagine, because of one of two things:

1. You too are interested in a sugar detox and want to know if it really helps with weight management, increased energy, fewer cravings, improved skin, etc.

2. You don’t understand how a human can do such a thing, so you’re curious to see how intense this form of self-torture is.

First, here’s the lowdown on added sugar and why consuming beyond the recommended daily limit might not be the best.

I think many people associate sugar with cookies and cakes and whatnot, but what people might not realize is sugar is hidden in 74% of packaged foods. This includes breads, pasta sauces, dressings, etc. Added sugars contribute to a higher risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Women are advised by the American Heart Association to consume a max of 24 grams (or 6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day. Do you know how much sugar is in one 12-ounce can of Coke? Ten teaspoons. TEN! This is beyond the daily recommended limit — and it’s just a drink. If you’ve never calculated the amount of added sugar you consume in one day, you should try it. The results might surprise you. If you're interested in learning how to cut down your sugar intake, click here.

I think many people associate sugar with cookies and cakes and whatnot, but what people might not realize is sugar is hidden in 74% of packaged foods. This includes breads, pasta sauces, dressings, etc.

Added sugars contribute to a higher risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Women are advised by the American Heart Association to consume a max of 24 grams (or 6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day. Do you know how much sugar is in one 12-ounce can of Coke? Ten teaspoons. TEN! This is beyond the daily recommended limit — and it’s just a drink. If you’ve never calculated the amount of added sugar you consume in one day, you should try it. The results might surprise you.

So, besides the obvious, why did I decide to do this?

To give you some background here: I eat a lot of whole foods, cook most of my own meals, exercise six days a week, don’t drink, and am generally conscious about being my healthiest self — healthiest for me personally, that is. For about two years now, I’ve been doing Weight Watchers and have lost 100-plus pounds in the process.

However, being on the WW program, I tend to go for low-point foods and sugar-free substitutes. Just to give some clarity, everyone on WW fills out a personal assessment, and each individual is allotted points based on their activity level, goals, weight, and more. I am given 30 points per day, and every food has a point value. Anything with high calories, high sugar, or high saturated fat is more points. Any foods with high protein make the point value go down. It’s a good system for me, and it does encourage a lighter sugar intake, but it is also flawed.

Example: One blueberry RX Bar is 7 points (ingredients: 3 egg whites, 9 almonds, 7 blueberries, and 2 dates), and one blueberry muffin Quest Bar is 5 points (ingredients: protein blend, soluble corn fiber, almonds, water, erythritol, dried blueberries, palm kernel oil, natural flavors, cocoa butter, sea salt, cinnamon, sucralose, baking soda, cellulose gum, xanthan gum, steviol glycosides/stevia). So typically I would go for the Quest Bar because it has lower points, even though the RX Bar clearly has better ingredients. So I’m essentially flooding my body with mystery ingredients for the sake of saving points.

I figured this was a good opportunity to do a true sugar detox and train myself to stop putting so much sugar in my body, including added sugar, artificial sweeteners, fake sugars, hidden sugars, and any other random chemicals I can’t pronounce.

I also want to improve my overall relationship with sugar; as of now, I avoid it as much as I can, because I perceive it as “bad.” I think the key in this experiment will be to learn how it affects my body, and making it a point to consume sugar moderately as opposed to depriving and then bingeing.

I was hoping to learn a few things from this experiment and adopt habits that I’ll actually stick with.

 

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