A week of no added sugar

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I have resisted the temptation to quit sugar until now. Curiosity now has the better of me. I have heard countless reports of how good people feel when they don’t eat sugar. I am well aware though, that my usual intake of added sugar is far less than the Australian average. Still, I am interested to see if I have any challenges during the week, and whether I feel any different for giving up my six or so teaspoons of added sugar a day. I am starting my week of no added sugar in one week’s time, so you have time to join me. In fact, you can start it at any time.

Lemon cake topped with icing and blueberries

Image credit: Brina Blum, Unsplash Photos

Anticipated challenges

The obvious added sugar for me is the honey I add to my chai and my occasional breakfast cereal. I also eat a few commercially prepared sauces. I have never checked the labels on my sauce bottles, but I will report back on the sugar content. Other sources of added sugar for me are home baked muffins, homemade jam, relish and passata and chocolate.

I will also uncover and report on other sources of hidden sugar in my usual foods. My challenge during the week will be to identify usual sources of sugar and the amount of added sugar in them. I am also keen to see how difficult it is to replace these foods during the week—what no added sugar alternatives will I find?

Reported benefits

The reported health and wellbeing benefits by authors and fans of no sugar diets are numerous, from sustained energy to the ceasing of joint pain. Some report of sugar withdrawals prior to experiencing the benefits, such as headaches and irritability. The fact that I will retain two serves of fruit and four to six serves of whole grains may spare me from any withdrawal symptoms. I am going to keep a 24 hour log of what I eat and how I am feeling, as outlined in an earlier post about diets.

Join my week of no added sugar

The aims of the week of no added sugar are to:

  1. Identify sources of added sugar and how to replace these,
  2. Estimate your usual number of teaspoons of added sugar and
  3. Monitor how you feel after removing added sugar from you foods and drinks.

The guidelines

The guidelines I will be following for my week of no added sugar are:

  • No free sugars, such as table sugar, honey or syrups, added to my drinks or foods, including baking;
  • No pre-prepared foods with added sugar e.g. cakes, biscuits, chocolate, sauces and jams;
  • No fruit juice;
  • No added sweeteners of any sorts including stevia and artificial sweeteners.

I will also:

  • Identify foods that I usually eat that have added sugar and how I replace them during the week e.g. using herbs, spices or fruits for flavouring or purchasing a no added sugar product instead;
  • Record the amount of sugar that I would usually have from foods with added sugar by reading the food labels on these products;
  • Record the number of teaspoons of added sugar that I usually add to my drinks and foods;
  • Compare my usual added sugar intake to the World Health Organisation Guidelines.

Added sugar is found in a number of obvious foods, such as honey, biscuits and confectionary, but it is also hidden in sauces and cereal products. By monitoring how much sugar I usually eat during the week and finding ways to substitute foods with added sugar I am curious to see if I could eat no added sugar at all. Will I still enjoy my food? Will it affect my physical or mental health? I will report back in two weeks time on my week without added sugar.

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