reblogged: 21 Days Without Sugar Experiment

In this article, Joe English does better work explaining the difficulty of cutting out sugar than I can, and since I’ve been meaning to write a similar post for a while now (though I did a year-long experiment), I will take advantage of the opportunity to have someone write the post for me.
As someone who has had (and I would argue, continues to have, despite cutting sugar out) a sweet-tooth, I will say that it is very difficult for someone like me. I think sweet-tooth is a cover-up for “sugar addiction,” and trying to cut out something I’ve been chemically and psychologically dependent on is an ongoing process that can take years.
You may ask, “is it worth it?” Joe English didn’t get into this yet, but besides feeling satisfied for much longer, and having a feeling of reliable energy, other foods (like vegetables and nuts) have much more intense tastes, and one can sense the sweetness in anything including meats, nuts, and cheeses.
Another benefit has been that other stimulants (like coffee) are no longer as necessary to get me going or keep me going, but they help when a craving comes on. The danger of cutting out sugar is that it can be replaced by another addiction (like alcohol, tobacco), but having the will-power to cut out sugar (especially if you have a sweet-tooth like me) can assure you that you’ll be able to control any other addiction as well.
I don’t want to trivialize serious addictions that result in alcohol and drug abuse, but I also don’t want the addiction to sugar trivialized either. I think if people can be more aware of how pervasive it is as an additive, and how much control it has over what we consider “tastes good,” then one step towards combating obesity and its related diseases will be taken.

Running Advice and News

running-advice-bugThere seems to be tremendous interest right now in the health effects of sugar in our diets. Many people say that it is sugar, rather than fat, that is leading people to be overweight. Documentaries like “Fed Up” talk about both the addictive nature of sugar and how the idea of “eating better and exercising more” makes little sense when the environment makes it practically impossible to eliminate sugar additives from your diet in the first place. No matter how hard you try, the deck is simply stacked against you, so the thinking goes.

SugarSo 21 days ago I set out to see if it was possible: could I eliminate sugars from my diet and what would be the impact on my behavior and general sense of well-being? I didn’t go into this trying to fix some specific problem or to lose weight. Rather in the end I learned a…

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  1. Sugar is something I have had a love/hate relationship with for years and I know that I am addicted to it, because when I attempt to go without, I have the classic symptoms of withdrawal and eventually go back. Unfortunately, in today’s culture in the U.S. sugar has become pervasive and almost impossible to get completely away from, unless you make a significant effort to do so. I don’t see me going without sugar, but I have cut way back from where I was a few years ago. More because I eat more foods in their natural/original form and when I chose to eat sugar, I know it is a part of what I am eating and try to limit my intake of those foods. I very seldom drink soda which is one of the worst culprits in the great sugar takeover of food/drinks.

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    1. Yep, those symptoms are one of the main reasons I think sugar has addictive properties. But it sounds like youve met a healthy balance and approach to it. Unfortunately, I’ve had such a hard time finding this balance (I.e. I’ll try to moderate it, and end up on a sugar rush until I get sick from it; I lose the ability to stop, always thinking that one more piece can’t hurt) that I’ve decided it’s better to just cut it out altogether.
      And yes! Soda is a bad culprit, but at least you can cut it out and have good replacements. I find the pervasive existance of sugar in staples like bread more irritating.

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      1. Yes, it is the pervasiveness of the food manufacturers feeling/believing that they have to put sugar or a sugar substitute into so much of what we eat – i.e. almost everything that is processed. So sad, so I try to stay to the outside of the food markets when I can, but ice cream does call my name too often 🙂


    1. Well, chocolate yes, but cocoa no. And since 99% chocolate has such a minimal amount of sugar, I’ll eat that too. There are chocolates that are sweetened with cocoa blossoms (92% Vivani), that I will have when I really would like a piece. Honestly though, the cocoa satisfies the chocolate cravings and I get all the benefits of chocolate (caffiene, antioxidants etc.) without the sugar. 🙂
      It’s also amazing how, when the tongue is retrained, the 99% is not too bitter.

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  2. Oh yes, I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth too! Especially for chocolate. Since my gall bladder operation, I’ve cut down my fat/sugar intake, (though I think it’s creeping up again, now I can eat what I want!) Interesting article, thanks for reblogging it.

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