Going sugar-free for one year
Last September, mostly for personal reasons, and partly inspired by the story of the woman who decided to put her family into a sugar-free diet for a whole year, I decided to go sugar-free for a whole year. According to the woman, and the many researches and studies, your health improves. Well, I can only share what I noticed.
In 2013, I had a routine check-up and a blood test, that gave me results I could compare to, with slight inaccuracy, because when I had my test again after end of diet, I was not fasting, so the sugar might be higher than it should be.
White sugar, come out, come out
The first few months, I really had no side effects. I was however blown away by the amount of white sugar present in our food. I knew mayonnaise and Ketchup had sugar, but I did not know that commercial chicken stock had sugar! I replaced it with organic stock, I found in a small shop in a remote location in Abunsair! All coffee whiteners, even light versions, have sugar. All coffee flavours and fruit juices contain sugar. When I ask for sugar-free, I get a-worse-than white sugar version: aspartame! Corporate supported medical research is not going to tell you that aspartame is not safe, so don’t get too hopeful for supporting documents, but know this, anything invented in the last 40 years, is not safe until proven so.
White sugar is added to most off-the-shelf products, and a lot of junk food, salad dressings, and ready-made meals. The reason is obvious: It is addictive. The alternative is not always nice. There are organic sugar alternatives, like Stevia, but some commercial ones are known to do more damage than good. So diet soda was off the list.
Of course, to make it an easier journey, I did not quit all kinds of sugar. I kept sugars in bread, flour, fruits, and honey. Those are much better sources of other kinds of sugar, but even those, must be taken within limit. An orange, is good. An orange juice, is not.
At first, I thought I was going to face craving, but to tell you the truth, once I set an end date (1 year later), there was no craving. I could sit with a pile of my favorite chocolate and pies sitting in my lap, and it would not break my will.
Of course, come September 1, 2015, that “will” became a pigment of my imagination!
Acne, gone! Amongst other side effects
After few months, the first thing I noticed, and probably the only noticeably side effect, is the loss of face acne. See, I get some nasty big pimples every once in a while, as a reaction to whatever it is that sets it off, but most of the time, I just get small ones covering my chin and nose. The large ones kept coming. But the small ones disappeared, and I could go on for months without any bumps on my face. I liked that a lot. The reason behind that is obvious, sugar reduces body immunity, and acne is only bacteria winning over body immunity.
Another side effect I have read about, is the stability in weight. I did not lose weight (not with the amount of food I replaced!) but I also did not gain any. My weight was sort of fixed at one number regardless of what I ate, or how much. It may be an indirect effect. When you do not eat sugar, your brain tells your body it had enough, just when it has enough. Thus you tend to eat less. Sugar is addictive, and sedating your brain with it, sends the wrong message to your body, that it needs more food.
They claim your energy gets better, there were times when I thought I could climb up flights of stairs at ease, but committed exercise is something low-sugar does not make redundant. You need to exercise to stay energetic. I did however feel better in the mornings in general (because morning sugary pies and pastries were always my favorite).
My flu immunity was always good, so I had nothing to compare to. I did get cold once, and I did embrace myself for a week of agony, but to my surprise it ended in 4 days. Thank God for that. It may or may not be a side effect, but I did not get any flu the year before, so I cannot quite compare.
My tea consumption increased, because I had nothing better to fill in the gap with. I also went on lowering down my red meat consumption for other health purposes. That explained my iron and haemoglobin readings going south, I have no one to blame but myself.
My teeth, again, were always good, so I had nothing to compare to. Except that last October, I suddenly had this bitter taste stuck in my mouth. I read on the web about it, and consulted a dentist, but I admit, I did not follow up on it. I still have that bitter taste in my mouth, I have no idea what is causing it, so I doubt white sugar has to do with it.
One thing funny though, that even though my immunity was clearly better on acne level, it wasn’t as good on the dormant herpes on the corner of my mouth. I had it errupted 5 times in my life, 2 of them only the year I quit sugar! Go figure.