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Benefits of Giving Up Sugar

I Gave Up Sugar to Cure Belly Bloat, but These 2 Surprising Things Happened

Giving up sugar for an addict like myself was one of the hardest things I ever had to do — and I've been through two natural childbirths! Yep, I am comparing not eating chocolate, cupcakes, and ice cream to pushing a 7-pound, 11-ounce baby out of my vagina. It was almost that painful, but after hours of labor, I got a baby out of it. All I got from not eating brownies was sad.

But I did it. I gave up sugar for an entire month, not only to get a handle on my sugar addiction, but to cure the extreme bloating I had been suffering from for six months that a slew of doctors couldn't figure out.

I cut out all white sugar, so no more baked goods, cereal, sweetened soy milk, or dairy-free ice cream. I even cut out natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, agave, and coconut sugar. It was pretty miserable those first couple of weeks, but I soon found that sweetening my foods with fresh or frozen fruit and dried fruit was enough sweetness for me.

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And what was even sweeter? My belly bloat disappeared, and that wasn't all — two other surprising things happened. The first I noticed was that my acne cleared up. Since high school, I haven't gone a day without a few blemishes on my skin, especially my chin. I tried every acne medication I could find at the drug store, and even tried some prescription meds — they only irritated my skin. But after two weeks of ditching sugar, I noticed a huge difference in my face. I know sugar was the cause because when I started eating cookies and chocolate once my month-long experiment was over, boom — I broke out. What I wouldn't give to have known this 20 years ago when I was dealing with horrible skin. Such a simple solution! Why didn't anyone ever tell me this before?!

Aside from embarrassing acne, I also suffered from extreme sinus congestion in college. I was on heavy doses of antibiotics for over a year to cure my chronic sinusitis, and an ear, nose, and throat specialist even recommended sinus surgery. I wasn't about to cut open my face, so I just dealt with it, knowing allergy season and cold and flu season would be brutal. But after a month of no sugar, I could breathe! Even after catching a little cold, it didn't turn into a sinus infection like it always did. Spring allergies are starting and I haven't had to take any medication! This is seriously a miracle.

I'll add that the first thing I did that helped with all three of these issues — belly bloat, acne, and congestion — was giving up dairy. I noticed a huge difference in how my belly felt, what my skin looked like, and how many boxes of tissues I went through. But it wasn't until I gave up sugar that I felt like a completely new person.

I'm grateful I figured this out, but man, it definitely sucks a little. I'm off sugar 98 percent of the time, but I do allow myself a few bites here and there. I love baking, so I'm not going stop making (and devouring) cookies with my kids. I'm just more aware of how much sugar I'm eating, and make sure when I do eat it, it's something really worth it, which has made me appreciate and enjoy those treats more. And I'll take feeling healthy over a slice of cake any day.

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