Notes from a sugar-free week

I recently went off sugar for a week. Clarification: I abstained from foods that contained added sugar; naturally occurring sugar was fine. I posted a rambling preface here, and I think one line is more true than ever: “I’m going off sugar as a personal experiment, not as an indictment against sugar itself. Like with most things in life, I do not think sugar itself is bad; it just should not be used in excess.” I also went off alcohol, since I figured it was one less “bad” thing I would substitute in place of sugar. That wasn’t bad at all, but I now know that crackers and chips will magically appear as substitutes…

It was an interesting week, and I think I’m just going to list some of my observations in no particular order.

  1. Sugar is added to so many things! Pasta sauce. Mayonnaise. Taco seasoning. Jerky. Bread. Those little single-serve containers of coffee creamer. “Plain” instant oatmeal. Any peanut butter that says “no stir.” Salad dressing.
  2. Endurance exercise is hard when you can’t eat solid foods while doing it. A four-hour bike ride was just not possible; I need sports drink and gels because I can’t eat solid food on the bike without feeling dizzy and weak (something about digestion slowing my blood flow, apparently).
  3. The first day was fine. The second day, I got really angry in the afternoon — so angry that I even flipped off a driver in bad traffic.
  4. Plain oats for breakfast aren’t so bad once you just start eating them every morning. I put half a cup of quick oats in a bowl with some water, microwaved it, and added a giant spoonful of crunchy “just peanuts, please and thank you” peanut butter. It actually kept me full for awhile, and it’s now a regular breakfast-at-work for me.
  5. Sourdough bread is a lifesaver. No sugar! Smash avocado, spread it on the bread, sprinkle with salt — bam, lunch or breakfast is done and delicious.
  6. I really do not eat enough vegetables. At all.
  7. I ate at home more, and actually cooked. It was the only way to make sure I wasn’t accidentally eating sugar.
  8. My celebratory post-sugar-fast meal was a big chicken salad sandwich from Mr. Pickles. It was on a sourdough roll so the sugar content was probably quite low, but it contained mayonnaise and I had no idea what they’d done when cooking/prepping the chicken.
  9. That meal came with a chocolate chip cookie, which sounded amazing. When I actually ate it, though, it was disappointing. It seems that a week may have been enough time to wean myself off cookies.
  10. Related: Two weeks later, I’ve mostly gone back to normal life. But I have not bought cookies, candy or ice cream.
  11. I missed sugar a lot more than I missed alcohol.
  12. It seemed that I was more tired.
  13. I discovered one giant loophole that defeated the “eat healthier food” purpose: Cheez-Its and tortilla chips do not contain sugar.
  14. I think I lost two pounds. I have a feeling that number could have been higher if I hadn’t eaten so many Cheez-Its.
  15. Going to a Giants baseball game when you’re off sugar is a big disappointment. I just didn’t eat anything there, because I doubt any of the ballpark’s delicious food was sugar-free.

2 Responses to Notes from a sugar-free week

  1. LOL about the Cheez-Its.
    I do find that not having sugar for a while leads to thinking normal things are too sweet, but it doesn’t take very long after consuming a few sugary things to make you want more – at an alarming rate.

    • YES, I very quickly reverted back to wanting sugary things again — and thinking they tasted just fine. I suspect I’d need to go off sugar for 30 days in order to make it more permanent.