• Monika

What happens when you cut out added sugar for a week?

Let me tell you about my latest dietary experiment.

A good friend of mine approached me to be her support buddy - she wanted to challenge herself and try to cut out all soda and candy consumption for a week.

I accepted her invitation and said that on my end, I will cut out all added sugar during that time.

So here's a recap of what happened.

My challenge: no added sugar (including zero calorie sweeteners) for a week

My average added sugar intake before the challenge: nightly chocolate (1-2 oz), protein bars (1-2 a week), protein shakes (2-3 a week), desserts at parties (1-2 a month), ice cream (1-2 a week).

This is what happened when I cut out sugar for a week:

  • First day was the worst.

My brain was totally freaking out going "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M NOT GOING TO HAVE MY CHOCOLATE TONIGHT".

Additionally, all of a sudden I started to crave anything with sugar in it, natural or not.

Have you ever heard about the "white bear effect"?

Whenever study subjects were told to think about everything BUT white bears, all they could think of was white bears. As random as it sounds, when you try to suppress a certain thought, it tends to come back at you stronger than ever.

  • I started to read labels very carefully.

Everything could potentially be off limits. Sugar is hidden in everything these days. All my protein supplements (bars, shakes and powder) were out since they all have some combo of sugar and/or stevia. Crackers, popcorn, brioche buns, dressings, tomato sauce are some other unsuspecting sources.

  • I had less wine overall.

Now I know that the more chocolate I have, the more wine I drink at night.

  • I didn't break out once during the week.

My face stayed clear and bright looking.

  • I didn't take any naps.

Not on my day off, not on my early morning work days.

  • However, at night I didn't sleep as well as I hoped.

I was hoping to get some more deep sleep but when I compared my sleep tracker stats from this week and a week prior I averaged 2.5hrs of deep sleep during both. Bummer there. I did feel like I fell asleep easier though.

  • Day 2-6 were really easy.

I had no cravings, no obsessive thoughts - felt really good and in control.

  • Day 7 I got invited into an Easter Dinner.

I knew there was going to be delicious desserts and I SOOOO wanted to have them. Especially one of my favorite chocolate cakes with ice cream. Ohhh....

So I contacted my friend hoping she caved in on her last day as well, trying to come up with some lame excuses that it may not be able to say "no".

But she didn't cave, although she had a pretty challenging day as well.

Long story short, I didn't have any dessert - it was also a lot easier than I thought. But I did take a slice of the cake home for day 8 HAHA!!

Now, onto my friend's recollection.

My friend's challenge: NO CANDY OR SODA/JUICE FOR A WEEK

This is her stash at work (above)

My friend's candy and soda intake before the challenge:

Soda: 2 cokes per day, fruit juices daily

Sweets: everyday anywhere from 4 Fruittellas to up to a bag of Maltesers, Jelly Beans (full bag of 500g) or M&Ms (big bag).

Every Friday and Saturday a big bag of Walkers potato chips.

This is happened to my friend when she cut out all candy and soda for a week:

  • At the beginning I was a bit obsessed with the idea that I can't eat candy anymore.

  • First two days I felt like I had no energy.

But I motivated myself and exercised anyway. After 3 days I was back on track with energy, hitting my fastest 3 km run (in 12 minutes) on the 4th day.

  • I felt lighter and slimmer.

My belly didn't feel bloated anymore.

  • I stopped sweating as bad as I used to.

  • I had no more craving for sugar after meals, however I felt that I needed a bit bigger meal portions.

  • I felt happier and more focused.

  • I started to appreciate the taste of fruits, which I ate whenever a craving was kicking in.

  • I fell asleep faster at bedtime.

In case you are wondering what happened after the experiment, my friend happily decided she will no longer drink soda, and have occasional candy (in moderation). I'm going to continue having my chocolate with wine at night, but I'm hoping to have some days in between where I don't have any dessert.

Are you ready to challenge yourself???

Finding a friend to do it with can be extremely helpful in breaking some stubborn habits.

I highly recommend trying something out even for a week. You will be surprised with the amount of freedom you get after you realize that you can indeed break negative dietary habits.

Give me a shout if you need help getting started.