My Year Without Sugar

One day (nearly two years ago now) I was scrolling through a social media feed and I came across a short video on sugar and how bad it is for your health. I decided to try an experiment to see if I could stop eating sugar.

Initially I decided to try it for a couple weeks, or maybe even a month. And so I set myself some rules. Of course it isn’t possible to eliminate sugar from your diet altogether, but I wanted to do my best to cut out processed sugar. So I kept eating fruit but cut out all fruit juices and dried fruit. And the obvious cuts included fizzy drinks, sweets/candy and desserts.

If food came from a packet, I checked the label to make sure that the carbohydrates which sugar were not more than 5% of the ingredients. This ruled out a surprising amount of foods from most breakfast cereals to ketchup. Even some plain yoghurts were out. Of course the fruit ones, but even some plain low-fat ones. Greek yoghurts and other full-cream ones seemed to have the least.

One exception I decided on was that I wouldn’t refuse desserts in social settings. I didn’t want to be at someone’s house and be offered a dessert that they had made only to awkwardly refuse it. But I did have to say no to biscuits and cakes in the staff-room at work.

I read about how other people found it physically hard to cut out sugar, almost like getting over an addiction. It wasn’t really like this for me, but was rather an exercise in will-power. I’ve always had a sweet tooth so it was quite hard at first.

But as one week went by, and then two, it became easier. Physically I didn’t really feel any better or worse. And so I decided to extend my experiment.

After about 6 weeks I noticed that I had significantly lost weight, even though I had not made any other real changes in terms of diet or exercise. This stabilised after a couple of months, but I lost nearly 10 kilograms and had to buy some new jeans with a smaller waist size. I was pleasantly surprised to discover I could fit into an old suit that had become too tight over the years.

A year later I decided I had experimented for long enough, so I tried some of my favourite sweets again. Initially these made me feel sick, but I very quickly got used to eating sugar again. I still try to reduce sugar in my diet, but it has become all to easy to make exceptions and excuses. And my weight is creeping back up to near what it had been.

Weight loss was not my objective when I started the experiment, but it was significant enough to warrant going back to it, if I can muster the will power again. Now I just have to decide what to do with a fridge full of blackberries that would make a delicious crumble…

18 thoughts on “My Year Without Sugar

  1. My wife is diabetic so I get to know all about sugars in foods 🙂 Two things that I remember are, firstly non-diet fizzy drinks have a ridiculous amount of sugar in them and secondly some “low fat” foods are very high in sugar ( as you found out )

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    1. I agree, cravings is the trickiest part! I found they reduced with time though. I also ate a lot of snacks at first: nuts, cheese, sugar-free peanut butter. These helped me get through it 🙂

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  2. Drop one in to each square of an ice cube tray, fill with water and enjoy the sight of blackberry ice cubes in your gin and tonic .. as it melts, a vague taste fills the water too! I did that this summer with raspeberries and pieces of lemon.

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  3. That is amazing that you went this long because it is an addition to most people and very hard to do. i am also trying to cut out sugar and eat more natural things like fruits and vegetables but it isn’t easy especially when my daughter walks by with a coffee milkshake from Starbucks or my son starts eating Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Our whole family is addicted to sugar. I will have a banana smoothie with with frozen blueberries now instead of a regular milkshake and now my kids ask me for those instead. Sometimes big changes take small steps.

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    1. Agreed! Taking it in small steps may be the best option for some. For others going “cold turkey” might work better. I definitely crave sweet things less when I’ve not had sugar in a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been off sugar for almost 22 months now, and find it easier to do if I don’t outright refuse a dessert in a social setting. I also didn’t cut out fruits altogether, but limited it. Good to know that there are others doing the same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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