Life is a little sweeter without the sweetener: It’s never too late for a new year’s resolution.
It started off as a simple challenge: “I don’t think it’s possible for someone to go one year without sugar.” It turned into one of the best triggers for my life.
My sister issued the challenge at our 2016 New Years party and I am often the kind of a person that will try to prove others wrong, so I had to accept the feat. Soon after my daring resolution, I found out everything has sugar in it!
So I had to modify the challenge slightly; products that sugar was past the 6th ingredient were allowed. So really I had no sugar most of time, unless it had small trace amounts in some products.
Initially, I started making more of my own food and eating less because there was not food that I could eat available. I realized very quickly that I was an instant gratification eater. Usually, resorting to the fastest way to put food in my body, no matter the consequence.
I also realized in fast order that this was really going to be tough. Going through the withdrawals for the first several weeks, was somewhat torturous…kind of like staring at the sun everyday for weeks, but a couple months later after the agony, something magical happened.
Life got a little bit sweeter.
You know when you have those 10 p.m. urges to eat something or binge eat while you binge watch TV?
Sidenote: I swear the microwavable popcorn industry has exploded with the rise of online tv like Hulu, Amazon Video, and Netflix. (kettle corn was my go-to, we would buy large cases of it)…
Instead of eating and/or watching tv, because now that had to go hand-in-hand, I had some fruit and/or some water and less tv.
Water was the biggest shocker for me.
At first I was stunned. What?! Water tastes like this? It’s like I never had water before! It began to taste amazing to me. Fruit became the sweet nectar from the Gods; like it was intended. Nutritious food actually tasted good! I more enjoyed the time I took to cook too.
Sugar must be the great desensitizer, along with alcohol, drugs, and pornography. But is sugar really in the same category?
Watch FED UP the documentary and you’ll think that sugar is the devil in crystallized form, one lump or screwed. But everyone knows that documentaries over-exaggerate, right? So I put on my research hat and wanted to see for myself.
All I knew, even thought it was early into my ‘prove you wrong challenge’, was that I felt better, had more energy, looked better, had more radiant skin, didn’t break out as much, slept better, food tasted better, and I drank A LOT more water on top of thinking clearer, and seemingly being more desirable to my wife.
Okay, I didn’t realize all these things right away, but I was starting to have inklings that this sugar fast for the year might turn into the best thing I’ve done in many years. Oh, and all those things are proven results of a reduced sugar diet, even the last point since you will be trimming down those belly buds, naturally increasing desire from your spouse. Right?!
Here’s what I learned:
- Added sugar is very unhealthy.
- Studies show that it has uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health.
- Sugar is half glucose, half fructose, and fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in any Significant amount.
- When you eat a lot of refined sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose, and is forced to turn it all into fat. Numerous studies have shown that excess sugar, mostly due to the large amounts of fructose, can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the belly. Some believe that this is the primary mechanism behind sugar’s harmful effects on health. It increases belly fat and liver fat, which leads to insulin resistance and a host of metabolic problems.
- Liquid sugar is even worse in this regard. Liquid calories don’t get “registered” by the brain in the same way as solid calories, so when you drink sugar-sweetened beverages, you end up eating more total calories. Studies show that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children, per each daily serving. This includes sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices and various high-sugar sports drinks.
- Keep in mind that none of this applies to whole fruit, which are extremely healthy and have plenty of fiber that mitigates the negative effects of fructose. The amount of fructose you get from fruit is negligible compared to what you get from a diet high in refined sugar.
The ‘s’ Word’s Haiku
Sweet taste temptress,
Seducing and counterfeit,
You can not resist.
But you can resist! Back to my sugar free challenge! I was surprised that Christmas was not as hard as I thought it was going to be, then came January 1st, 2017, my reward day. I had some Haagen-dasz cookie dough ice cream and the first couple bites were delicious.
But soon started feeling sick. Literally, at bite five.
Finished it in hope that it would get better; with no avail. Later that day I tried some soda pop thinking my body had to just get used to it, again very dissatisfied. As the day was going along I thought to myself: “do I just keep doing this no sugar thing?”
But I really wanted cookie dough, it’s my favorite so I made this:
7 one-bite brownies, 3 large scoops of cookie dough, one large scoop of Vanilla ice cream, and caramel sauce.
Sounds and looks amazing right?
Before this year this type of dish would have been polished off in record time and It would have been heaven sent. Last chance for my body to snap out of it. Nope… Couldn’t even finish it….
Sugar foods are now officially gross to my body. That killed further desire to eat them. Thank goodness. beyond the obvious health benefits and a wife who wants to snuggle more, it has added a stone to the wall of self discipline which only makes me stronger to be more successful in other areas of my life.
Though I may have some cookie dough from time to time.
So what is the next step?
Life is sweet when you are in control. Look at your life. Take courage to start with one of your addictions. Yes, be honest with yourself. Well all have them.
Don’t worry, it’ll be worth it…
You will feel it from your heart to your fingertips
- One republic
Coming soon: The Super Human Genome Project -
The endless pursuit of the best accelerators of human potential.
Photo by anthonyz.
Quotes from One Republic and my own mind, free for the world to use.