As I sit writing this post I’m into Day 4 of quitting sugar. I decided to do this once again as I remember how good I felt when I broke this addiction about a year ago. Sugar is just that, it’s an addiction. I’m not going to sit here and preach to you about why you should quit sugar- in fact I don’t think you should quit sugar completely. I just want you to be informed on the effect it has on your body and maybe look at ways you can limit it from your diet. You may be feeling lethargic, suffer from headaches, mood swings or weight gain and not know exactly why. Who knows- it could be from excessive sugar in your diet.
I was never I huge sweet eater to begin with, but over the course of the last 6 months I’ve definitely noticed my defence to sugar weaken. I find myself snacking on sweet foods just because they were there- not because I really wanted them. Especially over Easter- I was hoeing into those little chocolate eggs like a crack whore on speed! It had to stop.
I have an addictive personality so I’m not the type of person who can reduce their intake slowly. I’m not that disciplined. Perhaps you are. Maybe you can begin by adding just 1 teaspoon of sugar in your tea instead of 2. For me, the only thing that works is going cold turkey. That’s pretty much how I stop all my addictions, except online shopping, that’s still a work in progress!
For me the only way I can quit sugar is to stop it completely. Which I did 4 days ago. I’m still in the relatively ok stage, but I know in a few days I’ll be feeling the side effects. It’s no different to a drug addict quitting their drug of choice. There are withdrawals and I’m ready for them. The symptoms that come with quitting sugar for me are headaches and severe mood swings. So severe in fact, that last time I quit sugar I was such a biatch that people around me were trying to force chocolate down my throat. If you can put up with that I promise you that in as little as 2 weeks you will feel amazing! Your energy levels will increase, you won’t feel any bloating, your skin will clear and you’ll lose weight!
I have people asking me exactly how strict I am. I will be honest here and say that I’m not eliminating ALL sugars from my diet. You see there are hidden sugars everywhere- bread, soy milk and alcohol just to name a few. Here are some sweet things I’m still including in my diet-
– Soy Milk. There’s pretty much nothing people can say that will make me give up my soy lattes. So I haven’t. Nor do I intent to.
–Alcohol. Let’s not get crazy here and eliminate all fun from our diet! I will still have the occasional glass of wine a few times a week.
– Sweet yoghurt. I have a habit of having just a little scoop of yoghurt every night. It’s my only sweet thing and I will not give it up. I will try and replace it though with Greek yoghurt and Rice Malt Syrup over the next few days. (Rice malt syrup is fructose free, gluten free and has no preservatives. And it tastes like honey!)
That’s pretty much my sugar intake of the day. I’m not a fruit eater so I’m eating a lot of raw veggies like carrots and celery dipped in my home made hommus.
A lot of you may be familiar with Sarah Wilson’s books I Quit Sugar and while I find there’s a lot of good information in them, for me they are very hard to follow and commit to. But that’s okay- find what works for you and your lifestyle and just go with it. You will fall off the band wagon occasionally and that’s perfectly ok and normal. Life’s too short to not have cake occasionally- just think twice about having that second piece. X
*You can follow my progress on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Good luck!
I’ve included some info below from Sarah Wilson’s Blog about what sugar does to your body. Have a read, you may be surprised-
1. Sugar is addictive.
Moderation is key, right? Impossible in the case of sugar. Two major studies have shown sugar to be as addictive as cocaine. Can you eat just one Tim Tam ? Animal studies have shown fructose causes the four criteria of addiction: binging, withdrawal, craving and sensitisation to other addictive substances (meaning after chronic exposure to sugar, it’s easier to get hooked on other drugs).
2. Sugar feeds cancer.
Sugar has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gallbladder, and stomach.
3. Sugar suppresses your immune system.
It weakens your defences against viruses and infectious disease by inhibiting the action of white blood cells so they are unable to “fight” against foreign invaders. Sugar also messes with the balance of your gut flora, which modulates your immune health and overall wellbeing.
4. Sugar contributes to the development and progression of diabetes.
New research is suggesting it is linked to Dementia and Alzeimers disease, which is being dubbed “Type 3 Diabetes”. Often touted as “safer” for diabetics as it does not raise insulin levels as much as glucose, fructose actually reduces the ability of insulin to do its job of getting glucose into the cell, where it is needed. This is termed “insulin resistance” and is a key marker of diabetes. If glucose is left hanging around in the blood, all sorts of problems can occur. This is called “hyperglycaemia” (high blood sugar) and long term can cause damage to kidneys, nerves, heart, eyes and feet.
5. Sugar elevates inflammation in the body.
And inflammation is now widely acknowledged as being at the root of all disease.
6. Sugar leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity AKA “beer belly”.
We may joke about the beer belly in our society, but this kind of fat is the most dangerous and is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. While glucose is recognised and compensated for by the hormone insulin (an appetite-control hormone) fructose is not. Fructose is metabolised in the liver to “palmitic acid” which then can travel to the brain and suppress leptin activity. Leptin is your satiety hormone which says “I’m full” when you have eaten an appropriate amount of food. No leptin – no satiety, which is why you can gorge yourself so much on fructose-rich foods.
7. Sugar contributes to behavioural problems in kids.
Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, leaving children unable to focus, hyperactive, exhausted and grumpy.
8. Sugar increases the acidity of your body.
Sugar can result in an acidic digestive tract, indigestion and malabsorption, resulting in us being over-fed, yet undernourished.
9. Sugar upsets the mineral balance in your body.
Causing chromium and copper deficiencies and interfering with absorption of calcium, iron and magnesium. Copper is required for the formation of collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin hold the body together. No collagen and elastin = mushy, malfunctioning body. Copper deficiency can also lead to bone weakness, anaemia, bone and artery defects and infertility. By interfering with the heart’s use of magnesium, copper and chromium, along with increasing triglycerides in the blood, fructose can increase the risk of irregular heart function and heart attacks.
10. Sugar speeds up the ageing process.
And encourages wrinkles! Sugar consumption produces “advanced glycation end products” (AGEs) – free radicals that promote oxidative damage and break down collagen (necessary for skin elasticity and suppleness) leading to more wrinkles younger.
11. Sugar causes mood swings.
The ingestion of sugar has been known to lead to a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness.