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The first 45 days of a sugar-free diet

sugar in spoon


Sugar. It's sweet. It's tasty. A pinch of it is better than a pound of salt. Or so the saying implies. After years of chocolate chip cookies, I was becoming an expert in the flavors, textures, and choices available on the market. I seriously considered starting a blog about chocolate-chip cookies. At some point, others and I realized cookies were the sugar delivery mechanism of choice.Whether it was after lunch or after dinner, desserts of cookies or ice cream or popsicles or cake were becoming the norm. Without realizing it, pasta sauces, sushi, anything chocolate, maple syrup, and the like were all feeding me toxic amounts of sugar, all the time. When Honey Crisp and Red Delicious apples started to taste sour, along with a clementine, it finally hit home that something was way off.

My partner and I started doing more research, well, she did most of it up front. We read about the sugar conspiracy from the 1970s. We started reading nutrition labels and ingredients. Sugar, or it's substitutes, are in just about everything. I've re-labeled Whole Foods to be Whole Sugar. If this is "America's Healthiest Grocery Store", we're in some deep trouble as a nation.

I fell back on my years of biochemistry and started wondering how sugar and substitutes are processed by the body. I'm not predisposed to diabetes of any type, but it was still a curiosity. After hours of wading through thousands of links found through Google search results about sugar, substitutes, and other products, it's really hard to figure out what's posted by industry, by product companies, by people like me, or by actual biochemist nutritionists. I finally found Dr. Lustig's, Sugar: The Bitter Truth video. It's a bit tough to watch, but fascinating and thorough nonetheless. Watch that video, it's worth it.

45 Days so far

45 days into a sugar-free diet, and everything tastes sweet. I mean everything. In many cases, we compromise with "no added sugar" because there is just sugar in everything. I look forward to the forthcoming FDA Nutrition Label changes. Among the many changes, they require "Added Sugars" to be clearly labeled. Here's what they require:

“Added sugars,” in grams and as percent Daily Value, will be included on the label. Scientific data shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugar, and this is consistent with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

With careful research, we've been able to replicate most of the foods we enjoy with no-sugar or no-added-sugar substitutes.

The impact has been somewhat dramatic, without even trying. I've lost about 6 Kg of weight according to my scale. I've dropped 3 waist sizes in pants and shorts. I've gone from a Large slim fit shirt to a Medium slim fit shirt. My body is clearly re-shaping. My exercise, general caloric intake, and lifestyle has roughly remained constant. The biggest change has been the sheer amount of energy available for longer periods of time. I quit caffeine about a decade ago, and I remember the shock at how less tired I was within weeks of quitting.

2016-05 Google Fit Results

That's a snapshot of my activity for the past 5 weeks.

The experiment continues, but so far, it's great.