Lesson #: Breakfast Without Sugar Is The Most Challenging Meal
My first attempt to eliminate sugar from my diet was breakfast, and it proved to be harder than I anticipated. My go-tos: yogurt with granola, avocado toast, or cereal all contained sugar. Luckily, I drink my coffee black, so I didn’t have to alter my morning infusion of caffeine too-that would have been unbearable. I knew bagel day at the weekly office meeting-which fell on day eight- would be a big test. Bagels have both sugar and gluten, and in my mind, there is no acceptable substitute. Resisting this temptation was the toughest ordeal of the two weeks, but I held strong.
Sugar-free breakfast was an eye-opening experience. Before I even left my apartment, I was consuming more sugar than I even realized. Gluten-free oatmeal made with unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, and apple slices became my challenge breakfast of choice-by the end, I didn’t even miss adding brown sugar! The challenge forced me to pre-plan to avoid a breakfast of convenience, but I ended up finding one that tastes good and is good for me. Another bonus: It kept me full until lunch, yet I didn’t feel bloated like, ahem, a bagel tends to do.
Sugar Calories Add Up
A tablespoon of granulated sugar has 49 calories. That’s not a shocking number. However, the foods and beverages that contain sugar often include way more than a tablespoon, and they also contain other high-calorie, low-nutrient ingredients.
For example, a candy bar provides 20 grams of sugar in a 1.4-ounce serving, per USDA data. That’s almost double the number in 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. A soda has 52 grams of sugar in one can more than 4 tablespoons of sugar. Do the math, and you’ll see that the candy bar and the soda have 100 to over 200 calories from sugar alone.
What I Learned In The First Week Without Sugar
While cravings surprisingly werent much of a problem, the biggest thing I struggled with in the first few days of cutting out sugar was hunger. I felt hungry ALL THE TIME. It felt like no matter what I ate, I would get the hunger rumbles an hour later.
At first, I didnt understand why I was so hungry when I was basically eating my normal diet minus sugar. What I think was happening was that back when my normal routine was to finish most days with a dessert after dinner, I was unconsciously saving calories for dessert. Knowing I would be eating a couple hundred calories of dessert later, I made sure there was room, so that I would have enough appetite and hunger left by the time dessert came around.
Red flag! This is exactly the kind of insight that makes a No Sugar challenge so beneficial. I was basically cutting myself short of nutritional calories in order to make room for empty, sugar-based calories. I believed that I was eating a healthy diet because I minimized the sugar content of the food I ate throughout the day, even though I would more than max out my daily sugar quota on a larger dessert after dinner. Thats totally backwards. We should be eating our fill of nutritious food before we even start considering dessert, not working backwards from dessert as a given to make sure we save enough room for it. I was making dessert a priority, when it should be a special treat.
Read Also: What To Do To Get Your Sugar Level Down
Sugar Is In Everything
No, seriously. I thought I knew this when I read this article on deceptively sweet health food. Hidden sugars blah, blah. But no, really. Sugar is in everything. I learned to read nutrition labels even closer than I had been, which helped me make healthier choices. And thats a habit I can take with me beyond this month-long experiment.
Foods To Avoid On A No
- breakfast pastries
- baked goods
- any other sugar-sweetened beverage
As you can see, no-sugar diet is not overly restrictive and can help you significantly reduce your calorie intake and lose those extra pounds. Keep in mind, however, that you can consume extra calories even on a no-sugar diet. The recommended daily calorie intake is about 2000 calories for adult women, and about 2500 calories for men. However the number of calories burned per day varies for each person. You can calculate how many calories you burn and, accordingly, which calorie limit is right for you, by using this calories burned calculator. Dont fall into the trap of extreme calorie restriction those diets work against you, depriving you of essential nutrients and decreasing metabolism, so that you literally tend to gain weight instead of losing it.
Recommended Reading: What Helps High Blood Sugar
You Could Miss Out On Some Essential Nutrients
Before you swap out your 1% for almond milk, it’s important to remember that dairy products can be part of a healthy diet. After all, there’s a reason why the USDA recommends adults have three cups of dairy per day milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich sources of vitamin D, protein, and calcium, a critical nutrient for bone health. “It’s important to know how to replace them ,” Sass says.
If you’ve decided to eliminate dairy, work with a nutritionist to create a diet plan that still includes plenty of these nutrients. “It’s not to say that someone who gives up dairy can’t get enough vitamin D and calcium, but it’s not as easy,” says Gans.
Dark leafy veggies like kale and collard greens, and fatty fish like sardines and canned salmon are good non-dairy calcium sources. Certain brands of plant-based milk and orange juice are also fortified with calcium and vitamin D, Sass notes, although “they’re low in protein, so you may need to bump up your intake of foods like eggs, pulses, or salmon to maintain your total protein intake.”
If you’ve eliminated dairy and are having trouble finding calcium and vitamin D alternatives that you enjoy, meet with a nutritionist to discuss whether or not you should start taking a supplement.
The Symptoms Of Sugar Withdrawal
Making drastic dietary changes can cause unpleasant symptoms. Sugar detox is not an exception. The symptoms may vary from person to person as it depends on how much sugar you used to consume.
Sugar withdrawal symptoms can last up to two weeks. However, an important point often overlooked is that the longer your body goes without sugar, the easier the adaptation period will be. Make sure to consult with your doctor before starting a diet. Especially in case of any underlying health conditions. Here is the list of possible sugar detox symptoms:
- sugar and junk food cravings
You May Like: Where To Buy Russell Stover Sugar Free Candy
How Cutting Back On Added Sugar Helped Her Drop The Unwanted Weight
To lose weight, Fantocone decided to home in on a specific problem area of her diet: added sugar, an ingredient commonly found in American fare and one that features in the nearly 60 percent of calories that come from Americans ultra-processed food consumption, according to a study published in November 2015 in the journal BMJ Open.
Primarily for me, definitely is true that sugar is probably one of the most addictive things that you can possibly put into your body, Fantocone says. Even to this day, if I eat sugar consistently or a couple of times throughout a week, Ill notice that Ill want more again. I had to build that awareness in myself that was what was happening.
Fantocone started to read ingredient labels, pay attention to the amount of sugar in foods, and make smart substitutions, such as olive oil and fresh vegetables instead of packaged pasta sauce, which commonly contains added sugar.
For snacks, Fantocone ate berries or a handful of nuts and she made it a point to drink 100 ounces of water every day. She planted a vegetable garden in her backyard and cooked all of her meals ahead of time to make sure she always had healthy fare on hand. The pressure cooker is a lifesaver, she says.
So Here Is How I Did It
I didnt go on a diet. I didnt calorie count or track my macronutrient ratios. I ate oil and high-fat ingredients. I was eating as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was doing a 20-minute walk most days, not spending hours at the gym.
Two things onlyI stopped eating grains. This immediately for me eliminated all the junk food, hamburgers, doughnuts, cakes and other naughties. As I had out of control sugar cravings, I decided to go cold turkey and I stopped eating sugar. I knew that sugar and grains were my crack cocaine and I had to avoid them completely.
Over the course of the day, this is what this meant
I swapped jam on toast forPaleo bread, toasted and topped with avocado, a free range poached egg from our chickens, lashings of pepper and a black coffee from our freshly roasted beans. And Im happy. This will last me for hours.
I swapped absolute total rubbish for I am usually in a hurry, juggling children or otherwise rushed. I usually grab either leftover meat from the fridge or a small tin of tuna. I add a chopped cucumber and a chopped carrot. I throw on some good oil like olive oil and lemon juice. It takes about 30 seconds to prepare and fills me up. If I am more organised or have more time, I will make a big salad and grill some chicken or lamb to throw on top.
Also Check: What Is The Best Time To Check Sugar Levels
Avoid Packaged Foods And Reach For More Whole Foods
One of the best ways to cut sugar from your diet is to focus on noshing whole foods instead of packaged, processed foods, like cookies, cake, candy, granola bars, and cereals. Whole foods include fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Although your body may by now be primed to crave sugar, the more whole foods you eat, the more youll come to enjoy them. Your taste buds will adapt, Lemond says.
I Gave Up Sugar For 30 Days
I’ve had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember. Giving up sugar felt a lot like giving up oxygen some days, but I came away with a completely new understanding of cravings and bad habits.
Birthdays aren’t celebrated around broccoli casserole. Christmas carrots are for the reindeer. The main event at a wedding isn’t cutting the roast beef.
Some of the happiest and grandest events in our lives are celebrated with sugar-the tongue-tingling ingredient that’s also in everything from bread and yogurt to ketchup and cereal.
Sugar, in short, is everywhere. Indeed, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, say manufacturers add sugar to 74 percent of the processed foods they make. And, as I discovered, they add it to foods you’d never consider “sweet” by any stretch of the sugary imagination.
Sugar isn’t just a threat to dental health, though dentists everywhere would remind you it’s a leading culprit in cavities. Eating too much sugar also contributes to heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, all conditions that can lead to chronic health problems and even premature death.
Read Also: How Much Sugar In Fireball
Why Would Quitting Sugar Lead To Weight Loss
Changing your sugar habits will have a direct effect to the food you start to ingest. You will have to teach your body to metabolise and function on different varieties of food sources and even drinks.
If you are consuming 3 sodas a day, by simply stopping this habit and reaching for water instead you will be making a difference to your body. This may not be a dramatic weight loss such as 3 pounds, but you will notice over time that you are slimmer and less bloated, and have you seen how much sugar is in a soda, it is a lot!
Eat More Of These Foods
Try to consume more lean protein and high-fiber, non-starchy vegetables with every meal.
Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole grains can be a good source of energy and fiber, but consume these in moderation. Find a more in-depth guide to carbohydrates here.
When you need a snack and you are craving something sweet, opt for fresh fruits such as berries, apples, or grapefruit. Natural sugar will satisfy your craving and the vitamins and minerals will keep you healthy.
Be Mindful Of Sugar Substitutes
Avoiding sugar is something that adults on diets aim to do, and many switch to artificial sweeteners as an alternative. While they may be calorie-free, artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes can be up to 600 times sweeter than regular sugar, which means your brain thinks you are consuming enormous amounts of sugar at one time. This strategy often leads to you having intense sugar cravings throughout the day.
My Turning Point Was In January 201: I Was Taking The Stairs And Realized I Was Out Of Breath And Practically Dripping In Sweat
I hated the feeling of a simple activity being so strenuous on my body. For the first time, I wanted to stick to my diet and regimeto not give up on myself.
I went *all* in, cold-turkey style. I completely cut out sugar, fast food, fried foods, bread, rice, and all the sweets. Sticking to my intense approach was difficult, especially since I had given up every other time I tried to lose weight. But I watched empowering videos of weight-loss stories to stay inspired. This time, I knew I had to do something drastic to make a lifestyle change really stick.
When I started out on my weight-loss journey, veggie and fruit smoothies were my go-to meals for breakfast, and sometimes dinner. My other main meals usually consisted of vegetables and baked meat . If I needed a snack, Id reach for fruit. I also watched my salt intake, drank two to four liters of water every day, and had two or more cups of green tea as well. I also tried intermittent fasting.
What To Expect When You Quit Sugar For A Month
I get it. Youre a sugar lover. A little bit of the white stuff can make the day seem sweeter! But so many of us eat far too much. Cutting out sugar by deciding to quit sugar for a month, or at least drastically curb your intake, is a no-brainer. Its a big step towards healthy eating for weight loss and one of the top recommendations by the World Health Association.
Sugar is a high-risk factor for type 2 diabetes, especially in sugary drinks. It has zero nutritional benefits and makes you crave food. Plus most people lose weight when they decide to quit sugar.
This household decided to quit sugar for a month
- It was a big boost for losing weight.
- Quitting sugar caused headaches and cravings.
- It improved energy levels and overall fitness.
- We started cooking much healthier meals.
Read on to find out what happened
If you need some help to stop eating sugar, this is the best 28-day plan Ive found for fixing your sugar cravings.
This post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a commission if you make a purchase through my links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for more information.
You’ll Feel More Energetic
If your morning diet is dependent on bagels and pancakes, and you find yourself reaching for one too many cups of joe, it’s definitely time to rethink your eating habits. Cutting out these culprits laced with added sugar and replacing them with slow-digesting protein- and healthy fat-rich snackssuch as these best foods for energycan help balance your energy levels throughout the day.
You May Like: How High Should My Blood Sugar Be After Eating
If You Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet What Happens
Its a big deal. Some people coast through cutting out sugar from their diet, but real sugar lovers can find it hard. My guy found it tough and because he exercises a lot it was difficult to find healthy high-energy snacks to satisfy the cravings.
You dont want to switch your high sugar treats for equally unhealthy high-fat snacks such as salty chips! He got by with whole wheat toast, bananas, and small handfuls of nuts.
Before he started quitting sugar, we cleared all sugary treats and foodstuffs with added sugar out of the pantry. This was the best tip for avoiding temptation.
I found I had to be really patient and supportive. Quitting sugar was my idea so I got all the flack on bad days especially over the first week!
But he stuck at it and by week two it was a lot easier. When he got to the end of the month he felt terrific. His energy levels were up and quitting sugar made a complete change to his body shape.
Hed lost over half a stone in a month and was so chuffed! He also looked leaner. My guys a climber and just losing half a stone made a huge difference to how hard he could climb.
This was just from cutting out obvious sources of sugar sugar in his tea and sugary treats.