Here's the funny thing about added sugar — it's in everything. OK, not literally everything, but it's in a lot of things. While I've always been pretty good at keeping my sweet tooth at bay, having a baby nearly depleted my energy levels for the several months and, as a result, I found myself reaching for more caffeine and sugar than normal.
In fact, I'd go as far as to say I was developing a sugar addiction. I craved it to an unhealthy degree. To break this cycle, I decided to go on a self-prescribed detox. For five days, I cut my added sugar intake by swapping foods like dairy and refined carbs for a diet of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats. I was hoping this personal experiment would rid me of my sugar demons. But it did so much more! Here's what happened.
I Lost Weight
In just five days, I lost three pounds. Granted, I'm sure some of this was water weight. But whatever it was, I felt amazing. It's pretty incredible how once you cut out crackers, pretzels, pastas, and pretty much all desserts, you may actually have a difficult time meeting your daily caloric need. I was glad I kept track of my calories because there were, in fact, several days I had to have an extra bowl of fruit or a bit more protein in the evening just to make sure I was still getting a healthy number of calories.
I Had More Energy
Even during the early days (which were tough!), I had way more energy. This tracks with what we know about refined sugars: that the energy they provide is short-lived and usually leads to a precipitous crash. I felt reinvigorated during this experiment — so much so that, after my five days were up, I still continued eating way less sugar. I did end up reintroducing dairy to my diet (What is life without cheese?), but I have yet to touch a chip or cracker since. It's just not worth it!
I Craved Sugar Less
As mentioned, even after my self-prescribed detox was over, I continued to choose healthy, natural, and sugar-free options over processed, refined carbs. My sweet tooth was cured! When I did finally help myself to an added sugar goodie (hello, ice cream), I was surprised by how sweet it seemed. It honestly didn't taste as good as it once had.
Now, I'll be honest. Even with all of the amazing positives, this sugar-free, dairy-free, pasta-free experiment was just that — an experiment. It's not a diet that I'm looking to make a lifelong commitment to. It was definitely effective in helping me cut my sugar addiction off at the knees, but it is not (in my opinion) a healthy diet that should be followed all the time. Instead, I look forward to trying this detox any time I want to cut back my sugar intake and refocus my efforts on healthy eating.