Monday, January 28, 2013

quitting sugar - week 1

I survived Week 1 of my quitting sugar experiment and I’m keen to continue.

My aim for last week was to avoid sweet treats like cakes and lollies. My main problem was snacking on lollies and cakes after lunch – either picking up something on the way back to the office, a sneaky trip to the vending machine or sometimes, for a special indulgence, a visit to the bakery for a peppermint slice with my afternoon coffee.

This was a habit that had crept up on me recently and last time I let it continue for any length of time, I ended up being the heaviest I’d ever been, this time 12 months ago. So, regardless of anything else, this was a habit that had to be brought under control.

Week 1 wasn’t too bad. Some of the things I noticed were:

  • my morning berry and banana smoothie tasted incredibly sweet, which I’d not noticed before. I’ve cut out the banana and am experimenting with substitutes. This will be important if I get to the stage where all fruit is cut out.
  • not having a sweet snack in the afternoon made no difference to my post-lunch afternoon energy slumps. I need to investigate this more and possibly tweak what I have for lunch.
  • I got more frequent headaches, mostly in the afternoon and evening. Yesterday’s was the worst and the longest lasting.

Although there were times I felt miserable, I didn’t always feel like I needed to cheer myself up with something sweet and when I did, I didn't have anything. I also avoided eating cakes and lollies that people offered me, TWICE! without making a fuss about it, which I was particularly happy with.

Juniordwarf had got some lollies from a trip to the lolly shop with his grandmother (I have to start working on her now . . . ) and he offered to share them with me. I was delighted at his sharing attitude but had to decline, telling him that I didn’t eat lollies any more. He seemed to accept that as something people do. 

Week 2 is going to be more of the same. I’m also going to start paying more attention to food with added sugar and start to cut that out as much as possible.

One thing I noticed when reading food labels is that the food that contains a lot of sugar also includes other highly processed ingredients that I don’t really want to be eating, like hydrogenated oils. So this sugar-free thing is also going to be a big step towards my goal of making sure my diet consists, as far as possible, of unprocessed or minimally processed food.

At this stage I don’t know if complete elimination of sugar (or for the purpose of this experiment, fructose) is necessary. There are arguments and counter-arguments and more counter-arguments, and there is a lot of information out there and a lot of questions. Is it the elimination of sugar that has improved people’s health, or is it the general improvement in diet due to removing a lot of highly processed foods? Do those people who benefit most from a completely sugar-free diet have an intolerance to fructose that the people who don’t benefit don’t have? 

What I’m doing is trying to find out how my body reacts to elimination of sugar (fructose) and then re-introduce small amounts of sugar in its natural state (fruit, for example) and see what happens. (As I understand it complete elimination is virtually impossible, but that foods with a higher proportion of fructose to glucose that can cause problems.)

It’s early days and, as I said last week, I’m keeping an open mind and trying it to see if it has any effect on me. 

So far, the effects have been headaches and, if my bathroom scales can be relied on, one kilo lost.


  1. Well done on the kilo lost! The headaches will soon go too. I'd say it's the general improvement in diet that's made the difference to people's health. By eating non-processed foods there will be more fibre intake too and that is a big help in improving health. That is one reason why I eat fruit, the fibre content. I don't understand making juice and throwing away the all important fibre part of the fruits and veggies. Eat the fruit and drink some water, I say.
    I'm not giving up sugar entirely, just cutting back. I've had no chocolate for almost two weeks.

    1. I agree, apparently there is just as much sugar in fruit juice as there is in soft drink - and you get none of the good stuff to dilute the effect of the sugar.
      Well done on the chocolate. I'm hoping to get to the point where I don't miss it. I've done it in the past, so I think I should be able to do it again.

  2. I'm confused about the sucrose-glucose-fructose. I grew up learning that cane sugar was the sucrose or glucose and FRUit sugar was the FRUctose. Lactose is milk sugar, that is the natural sugar that occurs in milk. Not milk with sugar added.

    1. I think that sucrose is a compound sugar and is made up of glucose + fructose.
      So according to the people who are in favour of the totally giving up sugar, it is the fructose component of sugar that is the baddie. Apparently glucose by itself does not have the same effect as it is metabolised the same way that everything else is in the body, whereas fructose is metabolised in a different way that bypasses a lot of the body's triggers that stop you overeating & is processed in the liver in the same way alcohol is & converted directly into fat.
      Other people say there is no difference between the different sugars and sugar is sugar is sugar.
      There is a lot of writing about it!

  3. Oh good on you! I have dramitcally reduced my sugar too and noticed some good changes. You are welcome to pop over to see my thoughts and results. I have been losing weight steadily, but am amazed on the tummy disappearing. I'll be interested in seeing how you go.

    1. Thanks Melissa. I just read about your challenge last year - that's a great result. I hope I can see a similar improvement in my health :)


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