My Attempt At Cutting Out Refined Sugar

May 11, 2015

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On a whim I decided to cut out refined sugar from my diet.

For me, this meant, no chocolate and no wine or cider at the weekend. Something I look forward to as I try to be as healthy as possible all week. Because I work from home, I cook all of my meals and I don’t buy junk food when I go grocery shopping, just chocolate…

I also don’t drink fizzy drinks like Coke, etc. That stuff is poison, see this infographic. I stick to water or pure, non-concentrated fruit juices. In fact I bought a glass drink dispenser with a tap and I fill it with filtered water and a sliced up lime and just drink that.

As a life-long sugar addict, I have eaten chocolate almost every day my entire life. In high school as a junior we had to raise money for something by selling chocolates. I just ate all of my own stock…

My sugar addiction is a habit that gets triggered after dinner or when I’m stressed, or feeling lonely.

I’m not very big on sweets, but I did buy a big bag of sour worms over the weekend and perhaps that’s what made me decide to try giving up sugar, for just a week, to see…

On Sunday, I threw away the half eaten bag of sour worms, not allowing my “waste not want not” strictness to stop me, ate the tube of jaffa cakes on the counter and hid away the coffee so I wouldn’t be reminded that I like to start my day with a coffee.

Day 1 went well. I started my day with my favourite smoothie of coconut milk, frozen berries, a banana, a handful of spinach, some chia seeds and a spoonful of maca powder. Yum.

I met up with a fellow blogger at a coffee shop and instead of having my usual vanilla latte, I opted for their frozen berry juice. It was very sweet, so I’m guessing it probably had a bunch of sugar in it…

It’s ok, it was my first day.

Day 2 didn’t go as well… I remembered I was on a self-imposed sugar ban while eating a soft serve with a flake as a reward for sitting through a bunch of meetings I had to attend.

But that was my only fail of the day and I told myself it needed to happen so I would be more thoughtful next time.

Day 3, well, I woke up to a cloudy day which always triggers my want for a coffee. I take mine with (coconut) milk and two sugars. I had completely forgotten again. It’s ok I have the rest of the day to remember!

The rest of the week went ahead with me sticking to my usual coffee in the morning but now I have it with one brown sugar. Brown sugar is less refined.

Come Sunday however, I was positively gagging for chocolate so I allowed myself to buy a couple slabs of Fair Trade dark chocolate which I don’t tend to gorge on and can make last a couple days.

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There is much evidence that sugar is a killer. Cancer and disease thrive on sugar. Sugar makes us fat, it turns to carbohydrates in the body and if we don’t burn carbs off, it turns into fat. It messes with our brain function. It’s just not good to consume and it’s. in. every. thing.

I personally don’t agree with cutting out fruit or honey. They are natural foods that you can forage so I don’t believe they should be avoided. Our bodies know what to do with them. But when it comes to food that has been manipulated by man, I try to avoid that, well I did, for a week.

I would honestly like to break my unthinking habit of loving sweet things. See a cupcake, eat a cupcake. I would love to know if I would drop 10kgs by cutting out refined sugar and exercising. I studied holistic nutrition after all, I know what’s possible and what makes a healthy diet and lifestyle. I love to eat healthy but I have a sweet tooth like no other.

I’m going to continue to try to avoid refined sugar, try to break this habit of reaching for sweet things and forgetting that it’s full of sugar. I’ve already cut out yoghurt because if you check the ingredients, there’s usually around 25 grams of sugar in a little pot! Yoghurt is one of the biggest culprits of hidden sugar and it’s sold as an aid to weightloss, what a joke! And a lie.

This exercise in cutting out refined sugar helped me realise just when and how much I crave a sugar hit and that my diet is in fact mostly whole foods (I cook all of my meals from fresh produce), however, I do enjoy chocolate almost every day.

Will I ever give it up? Do I even want to? At this point, I’m not so sure. Is that the sign of a true addict?

If you’re battling with an addiction to sugary things, one of the best lessons I learned when I studied to be a holistic health coach was the practice of crowding out instead of cutting out.

We find it very hard to stick to a new regime or habit if we go cold turkey. It’s far easier to drink more water and slowly phase out your Coke addiction than to try and stop drinking Coke altogether. Eating more whole, unprocessed foods and cooking or making more of your own meals crowds out the boxed, man-made “phood” that is causing havoc on your mental and physical health.

Have you ever considered giving up sugar? Did you do it and did you succeed? Jessica is also making the attempt.

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  • I am totally going to try it for a week and see what happens, maybe its what I am missing in my regime! Too much Tea (with sweeteners) probably! 😉

  • I needed this post! I hold my hands up, i’m a great big sugar addict. I get headaches when I don’t have enough sugar…not good I know. I get moody if I can’t have a hit of chocolate every now and again, also not good. I’m going to set a date for myself and then say goodbye to sugar..for a little while anyway. I’m at a point where my body needs a kick start and i’m feeling a little more uncomfortable then normal in my clothes. x

  • I hear you hun, remember to crowd out the sugar by adding in the good stuff or the headaches and cravings will win. It’s a slow progress, but your health is most important xx

  • Ooh let me know how it goes! Also, I would consider going back to brown sugar instead of sweeteners, they are poisonous to the body whereas real sugar your body knows what to do with xx

  • JD

    I successfully gave up sugar for about two weeks. I find the more i have the more i want it and the same goes for the less i have, the less i want it. I didn’t crave it after a few days, i ate Naked fruit bars and other fruit when i needed a snack and was fine, but also much more alert and had more energy which i then didn’t know what to do with, at the time i was a bit depressed and kind of liked how tired the sugar made me, made the day go quicker! Would like to try again though, i know how much better i can feel and found that working out with no sugar in my diet made my muscles get stronger quicker than usual!