Getting Off the Sugar

February 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm , by

Chocolate and raspberry cupcakesIt’s Day 3 of my battle against sugar and, frankly, I feel like crap. I want the cupcakes in the photo I just placed in this blog! I want a slice of pizza! (Yep, that crust just turns to sugar, too.) But I’m not going to eat them because, one, the weight is practically falling off me and two, all the latest research says cutting back on the sweet stuff may be the healthiest thing I can do for myself.

Two different health stories I’ve worked on recently for the magazine motivated me to do this. One was our “All About Cholesterol” story in the February issue (which showed that reducing sugar can whittle your belly fat and lower that dangerous LDL cholesterol). The other was a fun article about sugar addiction that’s running in our May issue (you won’t want to miss it!). Here’s a preview:

“My kick in the (slightly too tight) pants: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that the average American eats about 21 teaspoons of added sugar a day (meaning sugar that’s not naturally occurring, as in fruit, or lactose, a sugar in milk). The American Heart Association recommends a max of just six teaspoons a day for women. According to the JAMA study, those who eat lots of added sugar are much more likely to have risk factors for heart disease. Gummy bears could lead to a heart attack? Yikes!”

The writer, Stephanie Dolgoff, decided to cut back for 30 days. How’d she fare? You’ll have to read it for yourself. Let’s just say that it’s a hilarious, painful and ultimately rewarding journey. It’ll inspire you, I swear! It did me!

Also (don’t hate me), I’m going on a little vacation to Italy next week. Yes, the land of life-changing pasta, pizza and gelato is beckoning. So it makes sense to downscale before I indulge a bit. But I know how Europe operates. It’s also the land of sensible portion sizes, fresh, unprocessed whole foods and lots of walking. I’m not worried.

Meanwhile, though, it’s clear that cutting way back on simple carbs and sugar can cause some weird side effects, such as feeling woozy, fatigued, headachy–and some people even experience flu-like symptoms. One doctor told me that can happen when an overgrowth of yeast in your body starts to die off due to starvation (they thrive on those cupcakes). You have to detox. Drinking lots of water and sticking with it are the keys. Experts say you feel great once your body adjusts. (Don’t forget, you need some carbs for energy, but it’s best to get them from unsweetened whole grains, veggies and a little fresh fruit.)

So, anyone want to join me on this sugar-lowering journey? Be sure to post your comments if you’ve tried it and tell us how you feel.

Cupcake photo copyright Ruth Black,

8 Responses to “Getting Off the Sugar”

  1. I’m crying to go a week without sugar, too, and I’m shocked by how much sugar is hidden in foods I’d never think had any at all! I planned to have a can of tomato soup for lunch today and it had 36 GRAMS in 2 servings!! More than an entire daily allotment in one lousy can!

  2. I’m still more or less off the junk. I won’t spoil the story for you, but I will say that once you’re off or way back on the sugar intake, it gets much, much easier to say no thanks. Steph

  3. I couldn’t do it! I live for the sweet stuff!

    But I do wish they would separate added sugars from naturally occurring sugars on food labels. I’m always confused about that when I am trying to be good. (aka trying to rationalize my sugar problem with “ohhh this isn’t the bad kind of sugar” thinking)

  4. [...] Monday I reported here that I was on Day 3 of cutting way back on sugar and simple carbs—and I was feeling weak, [...]

  5. I just got a phone call from my dr. Dr. says my cholesterol is extremely high! i just told her at my last appt. that I’m a sugar addict!! cant do without bread,cookies,candybars. i LOVE sugar. I just went grocery shopping,and went down the candy aisle,kept repeating to myself “POISON,ITS ALL POISON”.I actually left without candies,or cookies. Yea, to me! i bought whole grain bread too! so, wish me luck! I WANT TO BE SUGARFREE TOO!! I think this is going to be a hard journey! but, I really need to do this !!

  6. would love to read entire article…how can i? I just recommitted to the old food plan that used to work well for me. No refined sugar, white flour, fried food, nuts or nut butters all week. ONE weekend night I get ONE “treat meal”…i.e. lasagna and garlic bread…and ONE “real” dessert (as in not lowfat or sugar free…i.e. a cupcake from Crumbs (which are out of this world.)

  7. Between us speaking, I would go another by.

    By the way, what do you think about this icons site?

  8. I have had major surgery and have been on lots of meds that raised my sugar extremely high. After Thanksgiving I started to detox myself of sugar. I am weak can not eat a lot and nothing taste right and have flu like symptoms. I wonder how long this will last. I love my sweets but I like life even more. Anyone know how long it will take?