I officially started my Sugar Experiment on Day 59 of my quinoa diet. I read Rick Foster’s blog post about his year away from sugar and even more importantly, I read the sobering NY Times Magazine article about possible adverse effects of sugar that inspired Foster’s decision. I had been trying to find a way to kick my quinoa diet up a notch with a new derailment anyway, so I thought, why not give it a shot for a month?
Actually, I had been thinking about giving up sugar for awhile. I read Sarah Kay Hoffman’s public announcement of her sugar fast in February, and I was moved to hold myself accountable on my blog for my quinoa diet. At that time, I was not ready to join her and give up sugar completely.
Who Can Live Without Sugar?
Having given up sugar before, I know it can be done. The cravings do go away after a few days. I even have some advantages in that I do not drink alcohol, I like my coffee black, and I take my iced tea unsweetened.
I will feel one pain.
I have been a Diet Coke addict for years, ever since the first time I tried one back in 1983.
I bet I have gone without Diet Coke fewer than one percent of the days that have passed since then. Basic training–over twenty years ago–was probably the last time I went weeks without it. However, my relationship with Diet Coke is at an end.
Several times in the past two months, I have noticed that my sugar cravings spike when I drink Diet Coke. If I abstain for a few days, I feel fine and my diet seems to fit my life. Then, when I have a Diet Coke, I’m suddenly salivating for my next piece of fruit and wondering if I ought to bake brownies. I can go insane craving a honey bun.
Bye-Bye Diet Coke
Yes, I am breaking up with you on my blog. It’s been a long run, but we’re done.
I have to face the fact that drinking you to soothe a sweet tooth is like drinking salt water to slake a thirst. If anything, you make my cravings worse.
My Sugar Experiment Rules
This sugar experiment will not be an exercise in replacing sugar with low-calorie sweeteners. I believe when we eat sweet foods, our brains amp up our digestive systems to prepare for the sugar, and when the sugars do not show up, we crave sugar even more. Whether this is eventually proven true or not, that would be my experience as that is my belief.
My sugar experiment will therefore test my ability to forgo sweets in general, except for those sugars found naturally in foods like milk and fruit. I have some stevia on hand, but I will only use it as a last resort.
A Little Apple Juice, Sweetie?
I started out this week with a bottle of apple juice because I was afraid I would need some sweetener for my yogurt and salad dressings. I realize the danger that I might just start sweetening everything with apple juice, so I may decide to eliminate it next week. For now, I will allow myself no more than a half of cup of juice per day.
I eat a couple of pieces of fruit per day. Other than that, I will not have any sweets. I am eliminating the cookies, cakes, brownies, etc. that made it so hard to stick to my calorie counts anyway. After a few days, regular food will taste a lot sweeter and I will not crave sugar as much. In fact, last night I was savoring the parsnips in my stir fry and wondering why I do not add them to everything.
How Is the Sugar Experiment So Far?
The first day, I had a powerful sugar crash. I actually nodded off at my desk at about 3:30 pm, and wound up packing it in and taking a nap. I worried I had overdone my morning workout. Then, I thought I was coming down with something. Finally, I realized the lack of sugar probably had something to do with it.
Today, my fourth without sugar, I found that I have lost another pound. Yippee! That is exactly the kind of result I was hoping to create for myself. Foster said twenty-five pounds melted off in five months time. If I see similar results, I will be tempted to stay off sugar for good.
What about you? Have you ever tried a sugar experiment? I would love to read about it in the comments.
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photo courtesy of www.chocolate-dessert-recipes.com. Chocolate cake recipe.