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.