SoulGrade’s nutrition editor tamed her sweet tooth for 30 days. Here are her takeaways.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth not a single day goes by without a sweetened drink, a dessert or a quick snack. Obviously my weight gain was out of control, after the holiday season when I became too self conscious, I decided to get serious about my health. I didn’t want to restrict calories or foods, instead I banned sugars for 30 days.Here are my guidelines to ditching sugar for 30 days:
1. Natural Sugars are Fine
I did not cut out fruits and I would still be able to sweeten my tea or plain yogurt with a little bit of honey, for instance.
2. No More Than 10 Grams of Sugar a Day
I looked for items containing less than 5 grams of added sugar. I made this number up for myself to target. Finding a drink or a granola with so little sugar turned out to be very difficult so I ended up making my own snacks at home with whey protein and little bit of honey for sweetness.
3. Avoid being hardcore
My attempt was to cut back on sugar without feeling too miserable. So if some event came up (birthday or a night out with my husband without the kids), I would still go but at the same time limit myself. Instead of eating a full slice of cake, I would eat within limit while still having fun. Besides, it’s easier to form good habits if you’re not so strict with yourself.Here are the benefits I noticed after 30 days of banning sugar:
1. I Deflated
Weight loss was priority but I didn’t really expect much since my calorie intake was the same. But after cutting sugar I shed 4kg and felt so much lighter. How was it possible to cut weight? Consuming sugar causes the pancreas to release insulin, which in turn signals your kidneys to retain water and sodium. Cutting sugar allowed me to quickly shed massive water weight and look a few sizes smaller.
2. I could Focus Better
Prior to cutting sugar, I would often forget things I did earlier in the day, lose my keys around the house or forget my chores of the day. Our brain only functions on glucose, or sugar particles, but it cannot store these particles. The brain will always try to use the sugar particles and is very sensitive to the blood sugar levels. When you consume simple sugars found in desserts, pastries, drinks, and processed foods they are quickly metabolized in the gut, which causes a sudden increase in blood sugar levels. The sudden spike in blood sugar levels causes the rapid aging of our brain cells, reduced memory, and cognitive deficiencies. By cutting sugar, my brain was able to function more efficiently.
3. My Recovery Increased
Before cutting out sugar, I felt like I was 20 years older. My joints, ankles, hips, and wrists hurt all the time, especially after a workout or a hectic day I would get very sore. Sugar is an incredibly inflammatory food. By eliminating it, most of the pain associated with inflammation went away. Within 30 days, I could finally move without groaning and recovered much faster.
4. My Skin got better
My skin used to be a wreck; tons of sun spots, crazy wrinkles, dull complexion and massive circles under my eyes. Cutting sugar for only 30 days reduced my fine lines and breakouts, improved my skin tone, and reduced the amount of sun damage. Sugar bonds with proteins such as collagen and elastin by forming AGEs, and damages them. The result is duller, less firm skin; more fine lines; and saggy, dark circles under eyes.
5. I Felt Healthier
Consuming sugar everyday causes severe imbalance; raising insulin levels, which activates the sympathetic nervous system, increasing blood pressure and heart rate. Being surrounded by germ-attracting kids, I was constantly sick. Our body contains “bad” bacteria, which feeds and thrives on sugar, and “good” bacteria, which feeds on fiber. Constantly consuming sugar causes a severe imbalance, and when the “bad” bacteria take over, some of the common side effects include frequent infection, gas, bloating, reduced immune system, reduced nutrient absorption, and weight gain—and some studies even blame sugar cravings on them. By cutting out sweets, I was better able to fight off colds and had fewer infections.
6. I Felt Happier
When I cut sugar, I noticed my moods were much more stable, however anytime I’d allow myself a treat or “cheat day” the roller coaster would start up again. On days when I had sugar, I felt more anxious, I was more likely to lose my temper, and I had a difficult time managing my emotions. For the sake of my family and my sanity, I went much longer without “cheats”. Moreover, your gut produces most of your body’s serotonin, a mood stabilizer, so when there is an imbalance in the gut, such as too much bad bacteria, the result is more mood swings and anxiety. Cutting sugar helped me restore hormonal balance which made me happier overall and more pleasant to be around.
7. My Journey does not end
I have extended my 30 day journey of cutting sugar, so far its been 3 months. I read labels more carefully for added sugars and so far its been quite easy to separate added sugars from the naturally occurring, thanks to label guidelines. By keeping my blood sugar levels consistently low, I am able to realize the many benefits and become true to myself. I know it’s not easy to cut sugar, but you must give it a try.
Ready to quit sugar? Try SoulWater and say goodbye to sweetened beverages.