Here are 5 things I learned after cutting sugar from my diet
Just one man's journey after he ditched the sweet stuff
This article was originally published March 28, 2017.
I have a complicated relationship with sugar. In the not-so-distant past, I thought that it was the only thing I needed to stay motivated and focused. On any given day I would have two sugars in my coffee in the morning, a few cans of pop, candies, more sugary coffee, desserts and (depending on the day) a few mixed drinks. It doesn't sound like much but that's around 300 grams of sugar per day. The daily recommendation is about 25 grams.
So, I decided to cut out sugar from my diet. I didn't know what to expect. It was hard as hell. I nearly cracked by hour 2 (kidding). But I persevered. Here's what I learned on my fantastic voyage:
1. I lost weight
In what seemed like only a month or so people had told me that I was looking healthier and asked if I was working out or on a diet. From quitting sugar alone I've lost about 35 pounds to date. Honestly, I still eat chips and savoury junk food and I've lifted zero weights.
2. I have more energy
I used to think I needed sugar for the energy it gave me but I've learned that it was just taking my energy away. The sugar crash is real. It's perceived positive effects are fleeting and it just leaves to craving sugar even more.
3. I'm sleeping better
I actually thought I had insomnia for a long time. I went to a few doctors and they recommended a variety of pills and sleep aides. It wasn't until I saw a naturopath that I found the solution. He pressed awkwardly on my stomach, made me stick out my tongue and said matter of factly: "No more refined sugar".
4. Fruit > juice
Fruit is a great source of fiber and it can really help to curb your sugar cravings. Beware of fruit juices though, they may appear to be a healthy option but removing the fiber from the fruit makes it harder for our bodies to process the natural sugar.
5. Sugar is Everywhere
I've tried to be diligent about my sugar intake and keep it under 25 grams a day (I'm hovering around 10 give or take). But zero sugar is nearly impossible. Beer, pasta, pizza, bread. There are a few grams in each but these are things that I'm not willing to eliminate from my life. Give up pizza, are you kidding me? I know where I'm drawing the line.
I get mixed reviews about cutting out sugar. Some people are encouraging. Other people say things like "I could never give up (insert sugary thing) here". It's an extreme thing for some people to even think of, but here's how I made it work for me: I tried to consume zero sugar for one month. It was hard and I felt like a junkie kicking heroin, but it drastically retrained my taste buds. After a month I found that my sweet tooth had dissipated. I challenge you to try this experiment and share your results. See how long you can detox. Try it for a week. Then try it for a month. Then 7 months later you might find yourself writing this article.