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We Survived: A Month of No Sugar

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January 1, 2015 me and a few of my favorite children dropped all added sugar from our diet. We used small amounts of honey and pure maple sugar when sweetener was required. We skipped out on any other forms of added sugar. I have read article after article about the dangers of sugar, how addicting it is and how much better people felt after dropping it.

So we did.

Overnight we dropped all added sugar. In addition, I was very careful to make sure we didn’t just replace added sugar with sugar-subsitutes…I posted my meal plans on the blog:  week 1, week 2, week 3. I never posted week 4’s plan, but it was more of the same. Jubilee made homemade whole wheat bread several times, Tilly made muffins once or twice, we had protein packed pancakes once…

What I discovered:

Eating 100% added sugar free is more expensive. Because my kids need carbs for energy and growing, I found myself buying more expensive items such as Nut Thins and sesame crackers from Trader Joe’s. Because there was no room for extras in our budget, I found myself able to buy fewer fruits and veggies…was the trade off worth it avoid a couple of grams or sugar in a cracker or slice of bread? Probably not.

A friend who took the challenge along with me posted this article on my Facebook wall: 5 Things That Happen When You Quit Eating Sugar. For simplicity, I’ll go over the list point by point.

1. Your energy will improve.

Nope, neither me nor my children found this to be true. Now my kids don’t need more energy. Me? That was a big motivator for this challenge. I struggle with fatigue daily. Do I feel more energetic? Nope, not a bit. Tucker (age 9) said, “The biggest thing I’ve learned this month is that we eat really healthy anyway.”

2.  Your weight will stabilize. 

Today I weigh 3.8 pounds lighter than when I started (according to my Fitbit). BUT, all of that weight loss has happened in the last 10 days. The first three weeks my weight remained the same. Also, as a woman I know my weight can fluctuate by several pounds depending on the time of month, how much water I have consumed, etc. I am happy the number finally moved (and in the right direction) but am not convinced it is because of dropping sugar or that it is going to stay that way.

3. You intestines and color will preform more efficiently. 

Not sure about this. It’s not really an area I have issues with.

4. You’ll stop wanting sugar.

I suppose this is true, though I wasn’t even really craving sugar in the beginning. I had two days when it was really hard, and those were days I drove to Seattle and got really hungry. I didn’t have much  portable food and knew anything I bought would have sure. I survived those days on seeds, nuts, fruit and Lara bars. I discovered these when I was dairy-free while breastfeeding Apollo. I skipped out on all sweets at our Super Bowl party yesterday. I’ll admit those Skittles smelled good…but I was afraid I would not be satisfied with only a few. And after going a month with no sugar, didn’t want to break my record today.

5. Your skin will look healthier.

I haven’t noticed a difference.

Summary:

I gave up sugar for a month. I am 3.8 pounds lighter and feel no different physically. I am proud of the fact that I have gone a full month with no sugar. I love that I can say (if I want) that I don’t eat sugar.

I don’t believe me or the kids were addicted to sugar. We all gave it up with no “withdrawals”. It was harder on the kids than me (there were more temptations) but they did amazing turning down donuts and sweets (and even store bought pizza) repeatedly. One child ate pizza at an event then came home and cried about it. I assured the child it was fine…the child was simply disappointed to have “given in”. All was good, the child continued to be sugar-free from that point on. Tilly had candy at a youth group event, but immediently went back to sugar-free once she was home. Hezekiah had one sugar-infused popsicle that I gave him to help soothe his strep-infected throat.

So there you have it. Where will I go from here? I’m not sure. I plan to remain sugar-free for a while longer. My mom, who has type II diabetes, took the challenge and has seen a drastic change in her blood sugar. This makes me happy (for her) and happy that my blood sugar is likely in a much better place as well (diabetes runs strong in my family).

I have a few more thoughts on different diets and ways of eating, but I’ll save those for another post.

How about you? Did you take the challenge? Do you feel any different?

10 Comments

  1. Melpub

    Your findings make sense to me! I have a sweet tooth, and am pretty sure that if I skipped the tablespoon of sugar in my morning coffee and the sweet red wine I like in the evening, I’d lose a few pounds. But I’m not sure I’d feel “better.”

  2. Liz

    Although I didn’t set out on doing sugar free( I was doing whole foods) by default I was eating gluten , sugar and dairy free. Although I caved and drank a few lattes. I lost 18 lbs this month. I believe focusing only on whole foods. I did not consume honey or maple syrup. I’m also vegetarian. My fiend just started whole foods and does eat meat. She lost 7 lbs the first week!!!
    Like you I do not ” feel ” any different. I am excited for the weight loss though

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      What exactly do you mean by “whole foods”? I am going to have a follow-up post about my thoughts on different “diets”…I didn’t want to make this post novel-length.

  3. Kara

    I think Tucker said it perfectly. You didn’t really notice any major changes because you already eat a healthy diet. The big problem with sugar is it’s over use. Most people aren’t even aware of all the things that have sugars in them.

  4. Aurora

    I have Diabetes as well and I avoid sugar – but “only” in sweets. From time to time I eat a bread with honey or something with ketchup and don´t count this as “cheating”. I feel much better when I don´t eat sugar, my mood swings are not so… swingy (if there is such a word) but I avoid carbs as well. They make me tired, especially in the evenings.
    Hurray for a sugar-free month, your family did great! And yes, if you are eating healthy already you deserve a treat now and then.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Thanks for your input. I agree for weight loss watching my carbs is probably a much better choice…I just wanted to see how I’d feel with no sugar.

  5. Jennifer Hoge

    I’m so interested in this because of the science. I definitely believe it is over consumption of sugar that causes issues. If you exercise AND keep sugar under 40 grams a day, I think you are in good shape. My killer is pop and fruit juices. My family really complains when it’s only water, milk, coffee/tea. I try to serve lots of fresh fruit with water. Great blog. Thanks for sharing this.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Thankfully I don’t drink pop, juicy or put sugar in my coffee. I drink strictly water and coffee (with cream).

  6. Teresa

    I often would give up sugar for Lent. It was hard, but totally doable. When our family went on the GAPS diet, that was when it started to hurt. Take away pasta, bread, oatmeal, potatoes, -thats when your yeasty beasties start to scream at you :)- But that’s also when the healing begins…

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      I get that. Because I have no reason to think I have a yeast overgrowth, I also don’t feel the need to give up healthy foods such as oatmeal and the occasional potato. I just know for me that it is hard to control my appetite and snacking if I am eating wheat.

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