I Went on A Sugar-Free Diet for a Week & It Taught Me a Valuable Lesson

When I asked my Insta-friends for suggestions for my next challenge, after completing my 30-day meditation challenge, I didn’t anticipate them to be outright sadists. The first suggestion in my inbox turned out to be a sugar-free diet. I thought my friends liked me, but it turns out they actually hate my guts.

So, begrudgingly, I added the suggestion to the list. After meditating on it for about a week, and eating about 7000 calories (not exaggerating) worth of pastries over the holiday break, I decided that maybe it’d be good for me to step away from the sugar a bit. I had no idea where to even start with it though. Do I shun everything with sugar? Or just refined sugar? I can’t possibly avoid every type of sugar, otherwise, I risked a murderous rampage, so I decided to stick to cutting out added/refined sugars.

I turned to Google and found a handy guide on a sugar detox, which essentially advised I stay away from refined sugar and refined carbs. I already eat a low-carb diet and focus on protein and healthy fats, so that shouldn’t be too difficult. The article suggested I stay away from diet soda, however, and I am not ready for that. I also drink my tea sweetened with Truvia, so I decided to continue doing so.

I Gave Up Sugar & This Is What Happened

Day 1

Started off the day great. Two hours in and absolutely no cravings. I made sure to eat a box of chocolates last night to front-load. I’m not sure if that’s how it works but we’ll see what the day brings.

9:01 PM: I’ve been awake for nearly 12 hours and I would like to salt my chicken dinner with sugar at the moment. I decided to grab an organic apricot snack pack for the sweet craving. It did the trick.

12:03 AM: I had another apricot snack pack and went to sleep. I only have one more snack pack left, so if I get a sweet craving, I’m doomed.

Day 2

Tracking weight isn’t my goal here, but I did miraculously lose 3 lbs overnight. Of course, that’s not really “weight” and it’s more a combination of water weight, healthy eating, and my period being over. I’m always amazed at how the smallest changes have the most drastic effects on the scale.

10:50 AM: Having my coffee and no sugar cravings. I don’t typically crave anything in the mornings. I’m the night-time pantry raider type.

3:00 PM: Went thrifting today with my husband and wound up at the Habitat for Humanity store. How did I never come here before?? Managed to snag a brand new marble top vanity for the bathroom from Restoration Hardware for $300! Original price? $2,650. Amazing! Anyway, after this amazing deal-high, he took me to a local discovery of his. Basically, a mom and pop dining shop/establishment that reminded me way too much of Bob’s Burgers. Not much in the way of healthy dining, I opted for a tuna melt, so I ended up eating some white bread. Not exactly sugar but refined carbs are on my list to avoid. Can’t be completely perfect I guess.

6:47 PM: Holy crap I am SO fatigued. Insane exhaustion hit me shortly after 4 PM today and I can’t seem to do anything. Everything is an enormous chore. I don’t think it’s due to not eating refined sugar for a day, because that would be insane. Maybe I got sick?

Day 3

10:48 AM: I slept nearly 10 hours last night! I woke up with an insane headache and feeling like I could sleep another 10. Maybe it’s because I didn’t drink a lot of soda yesterday. I typically drink a bottle of 20oz Diet Dr. Pepper every 2-3 hours. I know it’s a lot, but I start around 1 pm and don’t drink it past 8 PM. So, that’s roughly 3-4 bottles a day. Ok, it’s a lot. Anyway, although it wasn’t on my list to cut out, I ended up not consuming any yesterday. That might explain the intense fatigue and headache. That coupled with no refined sugar, maybe?

Day 4

9:47 PM: I absolutely thought about eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich tonight and pretending like I’m still sugar-free. What the hell is going on? I’m having this craving for sweets all of a sudden. Like, just a little piece of something good will hold me over and then I’ll be good, ok? I ended up making myself a cup of tea and eating a few whole wheat Triscuits.

Day 5

8:04 PM: I took out a snack pack (a “healthy” pop tart) my husband bought and was about to consume it with my tea but then I put it away after a back and forth tennis match in my head between “have it” and “put it away.” I chose to continue without sugar.

What I noticed is in the last five days, I was dead tired by 8 PM. Typically, I survive the day and then some, but a similar wave of exhaustion I experienced in day two hit me today again. This can’t be a coincidence. My husband said it’s probably because I’m running out of energy much sooner in the day because I’m not giving myself the small sugar bursts I get at night from my little treats with tea. That’s probably correct.

Aside from the exhaustion, I’m not feeling any other effects of not consuming sugar. I’m tired earlier and fall asleep a bit faster at night. My skin isn’t looking any different, although I don’t feel bloated at all and I’m looking very lean every single day. My weight fluctuation isn’t as crazy as it is usually.

Day 6

12:46 PM: I’m sorry world, for I have sinned. Today, I consumed sugar. Lots of it. I made beignets with my husband as part of our date and consumed about 6 of them.

3:20 PM: I feel high. All that sugar hit me and I’m kind of buzzing. I vacuumed the house and felt a bit sick. I don’t think I like this feeling.

6:31 PM: I hate myself right now. I’ve bloated to the size of a balloon and my stomach is SORE! I don’t want ANY food. I tried eating a bit of my zucchini noodle bolognese mix I made yesterday, and couldn’t even make a dent. I think this is the biggest sugar difference I’ve noticed so far aside from the dead exhaustion and then an intense sugar buzz.

The Case for a Sugar-Free Life

Although I didn’t enjoy the exhaustion, I would much rather not feel intense nausea and this sugar buzz. I notice more of a difference in consuming sugar after not eating any for a while. I would like to do this experiment for a month next time to see the long-term effects on my skin and energy levels. In the meantime, I think the best route is compromise.

I’m looking forward to a small treat here and there, but not big sugar buzzes like this. I didn’t realize what a big effect the added sugar had! I wasn’t eating a lot to begin with, but I guess the treat here and there gave me a tolerance I didn’t notice. This little experiment made me very aware of the fact that I should stay conscious of the little treats. Instead of having a small one every day with my tea, I might start doing every other day.

I didn't anticipate the effects sugar had on my body after only a short break on my sugar-free diet. Who knew 6 days could have such drastic effects! #sugarfree #diet

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Nataliya Ogle

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Nataliya Ogle likes making sure others live to their full potential. She publishes articles on her primary website styletomes.com and works as a freelance writer for other women's interest sites. Her physical body is in New York but her presence can almost always be found online. The internet is her first love.

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