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…