The Sugar Experiment

Blog submitted by Carrie, a contributor to dustinmaherfitness.com

How did you manage the holiday food and sweet onslaught? Well, I didn’t do great, but then again I’ve done much, MUCH worse. For the most part I’ve got my meal choices back on track, but I’m having trouble with managing the sweet snacking. Since I started allowing myself the sweets again before Christmas, I am again craving them. What is it about sweets that often when I start it feels almost impossible to stop? One answer lies in another contributor’s blog.   Sugar is scarily close in composition to cocaine…makes you think about why sugar seems to be so addictive! Aside from craving sugar when you consume it regularly, it may also cause other affects in your body.

My last semester of college I took a nutrition class in which the professor had us do an interesting experiment relating to sugar in our diets.  We were not to eat any sugar or refined sugar for two weeks. This meant not consuming “sweets” or any foods that had sugar or high fructose corn syrup listed in the first five ingredients (on food labels, the ingredients are listed with the ingredient in the greatest amount first with subsequent ingredients in descending order). In addition, we were to document daily how we felt during this two week period. At the end of the two weeks, we could bring anything we wanted to class to eat, then document how we felt after eating that item.

At that time in my life I knew nothing about high fructose corn syrup, but I was floored when I started to read labels on foods I consumed regularly and found it as an ingredient. Ketchup, barbecue sauce, bread, juice. I was consuming sugar in places I never expected. I remember the first week being very difficult, but then it got easier and I didn’t crave my “old” foods. And, surprisingly, my daily headaches were getting better!! As this was my last semester of college, I was extremely stressed about finding employment after graduation, which I had assumed was the cause of my headaches. As I discovered during that two week experiment, the headaches had more to do with my sugar intake. At the end of the two weeks, I chose to bring candy corn to class to eat. By the end of the hour and a half class I had a blistering headache! Lesson learned!!

Since I’m having trouble with sweets and cravings, I thought this would be a good time to try the “Sugar Experiment” again. I’m hoping this will flush that want for sugar out of my system and get me on track for the start of 2011! Are you struggling since the holidays to stop with the constant sugary snack? Why not take two weeks and try the “Sugar Experiment” with me? You most certainly will get the cravings under control, and you might discover that sugar is the cause of some other ailments.

Did you know there are over 50 names for sugar?  Click hear to check out a post Dustin did about the different names.

I’ll let you know how I did after two weeks. If you decide to try this, I’d love to hear how it went for you, too.

Comments

  1. I totally agree with you Carrie..I am a SUGAR addict, I have known this for some time now..I think it is just as bad as being an alcoholic….if it is in front of me, I will eat it..it is very hard to get off the stuff once you fall off the wagon…This week I went back to the basics pretty much like your experiment….vegtables protein, fruit and a grain (wasa whole wheat bread)..I call this my detox week and I am already down 6lbs.( a gained almost 20 the last 2 months)
    Once the sugar is all out of my body I don’t get the cravings anymore…especially chocolate…
    Sue

  2. I’m with you too! I’m normally not a “sweets” person but I still found myself eating more than enough of them over the holidays, and its true, I now CRAVE them! No more, all done. Sugar is gone! Thanks for the motivation 🙂

  3. Tracey Walker says

    I’ll do the 2 weeks with you starting today, as I haven’t eaten anything with sugar in it yet. Yesterday was my sons 5th birthday so I had a piece of chocolate cake….next birthday is in March! I’ll wait till then! 🙂

    By the way, I love the second sentence of this post “I didn’t do great, but then again, I have done much, MUCH worse.” It’s all a process of improvement. Glad we can do it together! 🙂

  4. OK . . I think I will try this as well too. Starting today January 10th at 5:20 p.m. no sugar for two weeks. So here it goes . . .

  5. After just eating a bunch of rolos for dessert…I clearly need to try this b/c now I feel awful and…I just got done working out! What am I thinking…I totally blew everything I did and I know it! So the timing of your article is perfect! Thanks for the inspiration…I’m in!

  6. Fred Milton Olsen says

    >>Sugar is scarily close in composition to cocaine…makes you think about why sugar seems to be so addictive!

    This is not correct. Please take a look at the two molecules, their structure and composition. These two links to wikipedia articles make it easy to compare side by side if you open the links in separate tabs or windows. Each wikipedia article has a diagram of the respective molecules sucrose (sugar) and cocaine.

    Cocaine never gave me a thrill, but sugar has ruled my life at times. It was my god as a child. So much was intent on gaining candy, soda, ice cream, sweets.

    I agree with Carrie, the blog contributor, that sugar is addictive and that it may involve some of the same neuro-brain-body responses that cocaine has.

    But the molecules are not similar in composition or structure.

    Best wishes to everyone in 2011. Let’s make this a year where we all make our best progress towards fitness and health– physical and mental!

  7. Fred Milton Olsen says

    Ooops! Forgot to give you the links!

    Here they are– please take a look.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocaine

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sucrose

  8. Alright!!!! I’m so excited so many of you are going to try this with me!! I’m on day three and it got a bit easier today. The first two days were very hard for me. I did find a snack that helped me feel like my sweet craving was satisfied…ants on a log (celery with peanut butter with raisins on top). If you all come up with some ideas to help you through, please share!!

    And, Fred, thanks for the correction. I’m going to check those links out!

  9. do you have any suggestions for what to eat? All my daily staples like milk and wheat bread and fruithave some sugar ? Its seems most everything has sugar. I would interested in trying this but trying to find things with absolutely no sugar is hard. Do you have any examples of what you will be eating for the next two weeks Carrie? If so email me at the address above I am happy to hear any suggestions,. Thanks.

    • @Patty:

      Hi Patty,

      Let’s see what I can offer….

      As far as bread we eat Ezekiel bread….not wonderful for sandwiches, but great for morning toast with butter and honey. There are also Ezekiel English muffins, but I don’t recall offhand if they have sugar…you would have to check the label.

      For yogurt I eat plain Greek yogurt (2%). Two brands I have tried are Chobani and Fage…they do not have sugar. There are other brands too, but again you would have to check the label. It seems most fruit flavored yogurt has sugar, so I’m guessing any sort of plain is your best bet. I add frozen raspberries and honey…you could try maple syrup too.

      For dinners many times I search on allrecipes.com for meal ideas. A quick scan of the ingredients narrows down my choice for the evening meal. I tend to do some sort of chicken dish w a sauce, brown rice/couscous, and some sort of steamed veggie.

      And snack ideas…ants on a log, pumpkin seeds, almonds.

      Hope this helps you out!

  10. I would like to point out that I am only staying away from foods that have added sugar. There is no added sugar in the milk I buy or the fruits I eat, only naturally occurring sugars. I don’t consume a lot of these items anyway, but for the record…..

    Some snacks that help me are of course, ants on a log, good choice Carrie! and also cottage cheese with fruit (awesome with pineapple).

  11. Thanks Carrie. I do the Ezekiel bread for toast but yeah for sandwiches a multi grain. I also do the chobani but the with fruit, maybe adding frozen fruit would be better. Lots of good suggestions.

  12. If you think you are addicted to sugar, check out radiantrecovery.com. Kathleen DesMaisons has some very interesting things to say on the subject.

  13. I have some friends who work out with me in a FMFL community group on board with me on this project! Starting Monday, for 5 days, along with increased water intake and a daily vitamin.

  14. I’m in with ya, Patty!

  15. This sounds great! I’m giving up sugar too- for one year, my new year’s resolution. I’ve had a history of sugar binge eating and tried to give it up in the past. Going for a whole year and starting at the new year somehow made it seem easier. I’ve already gone 11 days and I feel great! (I’m just giving up anything I would overeat or that would spark my cravings- all desserts/candy/chocolate, sweet breads/muffins, etc. and I got rid of the sugar in my cupboard. I just have brown rice syrup, which I seldom use for anything. I still eat whole wheat sandwich bread, crackers, etc.) This way of eating feels so much better for me. It’s great to see others giving it up for a while too!

  16. OK….how is it going for everyone so far?? I’m having the expected ups and downs. Kinda forgot how tough this was! Hang in there everyone and thanks for trying this out with me!

  17. Honey – I suppose honey is considered a sugar isn’t it? Honey in my green tea!? 🙁

  18. Tracey Walker says

    I’m hanging in there. I own a cappuccino bar and have a hard time wasting pastries, but I haven’t messed up yet.
    Shared the radiantrecovery website with a few people already. Thanks Sandra.

  19. I’m avoiding sweets and white flour. I fell off the wagon over Christmas and had one bad day this week, but so far so good! I’ve even been loosing weight 🙂

  20. P.S. for me, I do count honey as an added sugar, but it really depends on how much. If I were to use it on my toast, I would have a hard time with wanting more. The amount I use to make my whole wheat bread though, doesn’t seem to be a problem.

  21. If you decided to try the experiment, please feel free to comment at the post below and share your experience:

    http://dustinmaherfitness.com.s136576.gridserver.com/2011/01/23/the-sugar-experiment-part-2

  22. White Flower Oil (embrocation.50webs.com) was introduced to me by my mother. During one of my headaches, she gave me this tiny bottle of oil and told me to massage it on my temples and forehead. Amazingly, it worked! Somehow the oil penetrates into the affected area and relieves the pain.

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