The “I quit sugar” posts have proven rather popular…and controversial. If you’ve been following the comments you might be marveling as to why it’s created such fired-up outrage. As David Gillespie said to me, “I don’t think you would have attracted such resistance if you’d suggested cutting out broccoli”. True.
Point being, we are addicted to sugar and someone like me puffing up and suggesting (only suggesting!) that it might be good to try not eating it for a while… just to see what happens…can be threatening.
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” – Arthur
Plus, some of the biggest companies in the world have a VERY vested interest in us eating more – not less – sugar. And so spurious “research” and suspect opponents invariably pop up.
But, mostly, I’ve been receiving questions about how I’m going and how I’m coping. Jo has pulled out a few for me to answer:
Have you lost weight?
Sort of. Maybe a kilo. But I look lighter because I’ve lost a lot of bloating and puffiness. I’ve noticed with myself and Jo and others who’ve quit… our faces look slimmer. My midriff is also much flatter. I’m guessing this is because it’s reduced strain on our livers. Tell-tale liver strain areas are the jawline and around the lower ribs. And because we’re producing less gas in our guts!
What do you eat when you get sweet cravings?
A few things: coconut water, Miessence Berry Radical drink and dairy. A chai tea gives me enough of a sweet hit. It contains lactose, which is a sugar, but one that doesn’t contain fructose. For a full explainer see this video. A chunk of cheese or a few nuts will just nip cravings in the bud. You’ll notice all these things are quite “treaty” foods. I think this is quite important…we do need pick-me-ups. But the things I mention will satisfy the need for a treat…not fuel it.
You might like to read this lo-down by Dr Mark Hyman on why some people get more intense sugar cravings…and some supplements to take.
Can you give us some lunch/dinner meal options?
Um, why are you eating sugar in your lunch and dinner…? My main point at all meals is to eat a stack of protein… this will fill you up and curb cravings. It works. Promise.
Are you drinking alcohol?
I am now that I’m off Febfast. Good news: alcohol itself doesn’t contain much fructose (the fructose is used to create the alcohol itself). So beer, wine and straight spirits are fine. Dessert wine is NOT OK, neither are liqueurs or mixers (soda is the only non-sugared mixer…tonic is as sugary as coke).
On food labels, where it says “sugars” – is this the bad SUGAR or something different?
It refers to all sugars. That is, glucose, fructose and lactose. Table sugar is half glucose, half fructose. The sugar in fruit is all fructose. The sugar in milk is lactose and contains no fructose. But remember it’s fructose that’s the problem here, not sugar per se. So you have to kinda know a bit about the ingredient list (for example, milk products contain 4-5% sugar, but it’s lactose only, which is fine). A rule of thumb: eat products that are under 4g of sugar per 100g. You’ll find this keeps you cool and will eliminate products with added fructose of any kind.
Do you have headaches? Energy slumps?
Nope. I really didn’t suffer much withdrawal stuff. Probably because a) I wasn’t eating too much sugar to start with b) I got off the stuff by eating a lot of fat. I posted on this. Everyone is different. We metabolise in different ways. I believe my body has responded well because it desperately needed to be sugar free and has rewarded me for doing the right thing by it. Also, know this: women tend to be more affected by fructose and take longer (I’ve heard) to switch our metabolisms.
How long will you stick to it?
I never say never. And I don’t believe in forever. I believe in “for now”. For now, it’s feeling better off sugar than on it. Thank God. So I’ll keep going. David Gillespie says “once a sugar addict, always a sugar addict” and he personally will never touch it again. I can see the rationale in that. But, me, I’d rather operate from a place of sturdy choice.
Overall I’ve felt clearer and calmer. I noticed it immediately. I don’t have an animalistic urge to go tear through the fridge for something sweet. My nervous impulses have settled…I guess because my adrenals are no longer being poked by sugar spikes. I like myself like this and I’m going to hold this feeling as long as I can.
Last weekend I decided to try a date and apple and coconut slice from a raw food market stall. Because I’m an adult who can make these choices. And because I resent feeling like I MUST do something. I ate it to see how I reacted. I was gently curious. It was nice, and I felt afterwards the addict’s tug to go find more. But I was able to back away from the tug and calm down again. It was a good experiment…and reminded me I’m preferring a sugar-free life. For now.
Hope that helps! And, tell me, a few more weeks in, are you find it easier?