Giving Up Sugar: What Happened When I Tried for 30 Days


As a dietitian, I’ve heard of each crazy diet. No dairy, no carbs, no sugar, no tomatoes, no gluten, no fats—you identify it, I’ve heard of it (and have most likely rolled my eyes at it). The drawback with these restrictive diets is that they aren’t sustainable and sometimes trigger you to crave no matter you gave up. But regardless of what number of instances I inform my shoppers this, I am met with resistance. So I made a decision to strive it for myself, and I ended (correction: I tried to cease) consuming all added sugar for 30 days. Spoiler alert—it sucked! Here’s how the 30 days performed out.


I’ve at all times loved salty meals greater than sweets, so I actually thought omitting added sugar for 30 days wouldn’t be all that troublesome. First, added sugar refers to sugar that’s added to a meals, not sugar naturally present in fruits, greens, grains, or dairy. Cutting out all these meals teams would simply be cray cray. Regardless of my lack of want for sugar, I nonetheless add a little bit of brown sugar to my oatmeal, get pleasure from a pre-workout granola bar, and prime my spoonful of peanut butter with mini chocolate chips. But that’s the extent of my sugar behavior, so I figured I might be fantastic. Reality hurts.

Day 1

While consuming whole-wheat crackers with my super-healthy salad (feeling nice about my meals selections), I take a look at the crackers’ elements label. WTF? Cane sugar! Day 1=fail.

Day 2

My oatmeal undoubtedly tastes slightly bland with out a scoop of brown sugar, so I head to the shop and choose up some naturally candy meals, resembling dates, bananas, purple grapes, and papaya. Problem solved.

Or so I assumed… till lunchtime, after I add Sriracha to my rainbow grain bowl. Surprise—Sriracha has sugar. I suppose I have to read EVERY single food label.

Day 5

I’m getting the hold of this no-sugar factor, however I’ve a dilemma. Today I’m operating the Brooklyn Half. Since that is my 10th half-marathon, I’ve a reasonably commonplace fueling routine that consists of water for the primary six to seven miles, adopted by a sports activities drink for the 2d half of of the race and a CLIF Shot Blok round mile eight or 9. In different phrases, my traditional fueling plan is loaded with sugar as a result of sugar (a.okay.a. glucose) powers muscle tissue throughout endurance exercise. [Sugar and exercise: its importance in athletes]. Peinado AB, Rojo-Tirado MA, Benito PJ. Nutricion hospitalaria, 2014, Sep.;28 Suppl 4():1699-5198. Luckily, one other dietitian (and marathoner) informed me to strive dates, filled with peanut butter and sprinkled with sea salt, for the right combination of sugar and sodium. Although I don’t wish to strive something new on race day, I make an exception and go for the dates as an alternative of the Shot Bloks. They labored fairly nicely. The solely drawback was I received an annoying cramp round mile seven that wouldn’t go away, so I gave in and reached for a sports activities drink.

Day 7

All in all, I really feel like the primary week was a lot tougher than I anticipated. #fail. Between the added sugar in my crackers and Sriracha and my sports activities drink throughout the half-marathon, I’m starting to know how extremely troublesome it’s to omit a whole ingredient out of your eating regimen.

Day 12

I began this journey midweek, so day 12 is the start of my 2d weekend. Since I cook dinner most of my meals throughout the week, I’m capable of management what goes into my meals. But on the weekends I get pleasure from an occasional brunch or dinner out.

Do you understand how annoying it’s to ask a waiter if there may be any sugar within the meals? They take a look at you want you’re the worst individual ever. Needless to say, I’m not capable of inform if there may be added sugar in a few of the meals I don’t put together myself, however I do attempt to follow the meals I anticipate have much less.

Day 15

Halfway there, and it’s lastly beginning to really feel simpler. I’ve grow to be accustomed to sweetening my morning oatmeal with bananas and consuming pre-workout snacks with pure sugar (dates and peanut butter, anybody?). I can undoubtedly do that for 2 extra weeks.

Day 16

Googles, “Does wine have added sugar in it?”
Can’t discover a definitive reply.
Pours glass of wine.

Days 17-22

Status quo. Omitting added sugar from my eating regimen has made my already nutritious diet even more healthy. I’ve no selection however to eat loads of recent fruits, veggies, and entire grains. But tomorrow I’m touring to California for trip. My boyfriend appears at me and says, “You aren’t going to do this on our trip, are you?” I feel he doesn’t wish to hearken to me complain.

Day 23

All self-control goes out the window after I’m drained. We arrived in California final evening, and I’m tremendous jet-lagged. I would like a day cookie to make me really feel higher. And let me inform you… it labored.

Day 26

I’ve completed this lengthy sufficient, and I quit! Being on trip and making an attempt to “eating regimen” isn’t enjoyable. It’s really actually horrible. So I minimize this little experiment quick and ordered an espresso shot in a chocolate-rimmed ice cream cone. And I’m not unhappy about it.

The Big Takeaways

  • This confirmed my proper to roll my eyes at diets that get rid of complete meals teams, as a result of it’s almost unattainable to maintain that change for the long run. I’m a dietitian, and I wasn’t capable of do it for longer than per week with out a slipup. And the issue with slipups is that they breed emotions of discouragement and kill your motivation to proceed.
  • To fully perceive what you’re consuming, you will need to actually dig into food labels. Sugar has many aliases, and it hides in foods you wouldn’t usually take into account, resembling tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, pickled veggies, and multigrain crackers. Look for elements resembling high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, dextrose, glucose, malt syrup, corn syrup, or caramel on the label, and run from them for those who’re avoiding added sugar.
  • It’s almost unattainable to know what’s in meals you don’t cook dinner, so bear in mind whenever you’re going out to eat. And good luck asking your waiter in the event that they use sugar of their marinara sauce.
  • Cutting out 1 meals group made me crave it extra. By the top of the 30 (or, nicely, 26) days, I used to be dying to eat a bit of chocolate (or a cone stuffed with espresso).
  • Rather than making extremely troublesome adjustments to your eating regimen, it’s a lot simpler to make small adjustments, like including extra fruits and veggies to what you already eat. A bunch of small adjustments add as much as 1 massive change over time.

(Editor references)

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