Has anyone out there managed to cut or drastically reduce their sugar intake?

The nation's addiction to sugar was in the news last week. I'm looking to interview someone who has successfully managed to reduce their sugar intake to find out how they did it and how their experience could help others.

If you're one of those lucky people, please get in touch!

Thanks, Steven, Live Well editor, NHS Choices


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18 Replies

  • Zero sugar (*mostly) here at 52! Two sugars in my 20's; two sweeteners in my 30's; one sweetener in my early 40's; then mid-40's back to one sugar but ONLY because it allowed me to then reduce each teaspoon infinitesimally until I'd weaned myself off. Took around three months, I think. Since then I have noticed that I have definitely become more discerning when it comes to flavours, and I genuinely prefer my food to taste like Food, not the additives; no need for sugar on strawberries when they taste that great in themselves!

    *although, as overweight is no longer an issue for me, I do have the occasional small bar of fruit and nut chocolate...I'm no ascetic!

  • I have removed from my diet sugar, pasta and bread on the very beginning of this month. Result? Lost 6 kg, no hunger, fruits taste a lot sweeter to me. I have no cravings and I can watch others eating puddings and sweets and I don't desire them any more. I have a lot more energy. I believe sugar reduction is a key to long term succesful weight loss. I do not do diet food as this food is full of sugar (instead of fat) or it has aspartam or other synthetics. I have long way to go (52kg to loose) but I deeply believe that sugar and drastic insulin jumps were my number one enemies in succesfull weight loss. I know that I can achieve size 12 if I only focus on reducing sugar and simple carbs from my food. And what is most important: I enjoy my new lifestyle and food this is not a die-t. Without sugar it is live-t!

  • Used to love all thinks sweet but over the years have become less and less concerned with sweet things, I now have as far as possible zero sugar, I don't take it in drinks in fact the only reason we have it in the house is for guests and our teenage son. I am avoiding carbs as much as possible because the chemical equation is the same as sugar, I drink very little milk because of lactose though I do have cheese and cream on some occasions, I rarely eat fruit because of fructose and although it is very tasty I understand that there is very little nutritional value to it. I don't eat potatoes, rice, pasta and bread and at the moment am restricting alcohol, predominantly red wine to none or weekends only, not really losing weight at a fantastic rate either and I do have a bit to lose, I am 53.

    I am following as much as possible the Harcombe diet, eating only natural and not pre-repaired food.

  • I read Fat chance the truth about sugar obesity and disease and have managed to keep off sugar this week and simple carbs, feel much better and the cravings have gone. I was having up to eight coffees a day with sugar, and lots of bread cakes and chocolate. Have lost three pounds this week. I was scared into this as my specialist (private ) advised me that I was pre diabetic, I had no idea about this condition until I started reading up on it, there are three ladies at work who are diabetic and I have seen lots of my clients have toes and limbs removed with diabetes. I think this had spurred me into action as I weigh 20 st and have never managed to achieve much weight loss before, have lost 3llbs this week :)

  • I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes last year, and although a bit overweight it was a big wake up call. I lost weight and increased my exercise from 2-3 times a week to walking for about an hour every day. I got my blood sugar back down into the normal range. However as often happens the weight crept on again and my blood sugar is just out of the normal range. New regime for the new year, 1200 calories, less carbs, less sugars and less alcohol. A very ill-informed practice nurse told me that I had diabetes and there was nothing I could do about it - but I know from previous experience that losing weight will definitely improve my blood sugar - so my advice is to keep at it, it will work! Good luck and well done on your 3lbs loss!

  • Hi Steven, Someone post a link with a lecture in September of last year about the dangers of sugar in the diet. I took care of myself over the years, ate well and exercised.When I reached the age of 47, I noticed my weigh starting to increase, even though I was exercising. By March last year, age 50, I had reached 172 lbs, and only was 5 ft 4 inches tall. I didn't understand what was happening to my body. I started again to exercise consistently from April 2013 and signed up at HealthUnlocked website in June 2013 and started to read the messages on this forum. That information in that lecture reshaped my thinking. I'm from sugar cane country, Barbados, so I thought to myself that I have an excuse for continuing using it. Anyway, I went "cold turkey" in September and have continue to today.I was frighten that I wouldn't like the taste of my tea and I wouldn't be able to handle it. I noticed that now that I am off the sugar, I have reduce my carving. I only feel that powerful feeling to filling up my stomach when I have missed breakfast or been without a meal for a long time.


  • I used to think that muesli was a healthy food, but on reading the contents list on packets, I find it isn't as healthy as is generally believed, because of the added sugar. I've discovered a better-quality muesli from County Foods, but I can only find this in farm shops. That's fine. We go to farm shops in the Essex countryside. I don't add sugar to anything and I do my best to avoid sugar in all its forms. Needless to say, no cake, biscuits, ice-cream, sweet puddings or anything of the kind.

  • Only have a sprinkling of sugar on my porridge now..I was a choca/sweet/cake/anything-with-sugar-in-itaholic..but porridge with no milk has to have a little sugar to be bearable..I started using an app called Calorie Count which has helped immensely as it gives an analysis of the daily foo eaten and it has encouraged me greatly

  • Practically zero for me and it has been that way for sometime now.

  • This takes some will power but in the long run has the most effective result for one's overall health.

    Simply stop eating processed food including bread etc. Plus stop drinking soft drinks and beer.

    read my story in my book at warfarinwizard.com

  • I gave up taking sugar in tea & coffee 40 years ago and fortunately do not have a sweet tooth. It is rare for me to eat any sweets, chocolates or puddings. I avoid processed foods generally but suppose I do get sugar in bread. I have 1/2 a glass of fruit juice in the mornings, but thats all.

  • Hi Steve,

    I have, but it's not easy. I'd started the 12 week programme only just over a wk ago but I've been making lifestyle changes going back to May 2013. I had been replacing simple carbs with dried fruit and fruit. I also have a handful of nuts and sometimes yoghurt with fruit to replace sugar. I have a tendency to have a high carb low day diet but my problem has always been that I had not enough complex carbs preferring more simple carbs in the form of sweets, compot, choclate etc. I now find that reducing sugar helps me to stay on track (on my first wk of the 12 wk programme I've lost 3lbs). I exercise a lot but found it hard to lose weight because of my cravings. Not having sugary snacks in the house helps because I'm like an alcohol addict if it's in front if me I still find it hard to say no if I'm having a craving. I'm 23lbs overweight but really know I can do it this time as my fitness levels are right and I don't feel like a slave to sugar. I've recently invested in some good minerals as I think my blood pressure gets really low, resulting in dizzy spells and being irritable. I'm also working on my protein intake and the right types of fats to help balance my blood sugar levels.

  • Went low-carb 3 years ago, if that counts....

  • Yes I have drastically reduced my sugar intake . Read I quit sugar by Sarah Wilson

  • I cut out sugar from all my drinks pretty easily, but avoiding it in food is a nightmare, I haven't even tried. Still the drinks alone have made a huge difference to how much I get through.

  • i have left sugars after i became a diabetic. from a sugar addict to no sugars, all for sake of my baby. I donno till when can i continue to keep it off from me. But i never thought that i could leave sugars at all. After the doctor broke the news that i am diabetic (and pregnant) i don't crave sweets as such. but life seems much better after leaving sweets. As everyone says, its all in your mind :) All the best to those who want to reduce their sugar. Artificial sweetners are even more bad.

  • I think the only sugar I have left is a bit of fruit in my muesli, the occasional Banana, Strawberries and the very occasional bottle of beer. I used to use sugar as a prop when stressed - ice creams and big bars of chocolate - a bit of an emotional eater. As well as being over dependant on alcohol and the poor food choices that go with it.

    So how did I change to the position that I simply was able to stop? I've done an awful lot of work on myself over the years. Read all the books, tried various approaches sometimes with a bot of success but the way I was thinking and feeling always seemed to lead me back to eating and drinking patterns which were no good for me.

    A client of mine recommended Ruby Wax's Sane new world where de describes her experiences with mindfulness and this intrigued me. I'd used the mindfulness apps but with limited effect. I read the more scholarly works on Mindfulness and thought I'd give it a try. It certainly helped with the racing mind which was giving me a while lot more calm in my life. Then I felt that I didn't need alcohol to relax any more. I felt a lot more centred and calm - I was only doing a few minutes a day and to be honest I was surprised. The emotional eating stopped and I began to loose weight, sleep better too. I then thought about doing 5:2 and researching about that brought me here so I'm doing a bit of 5:2 coupled with the NHS 12 program.

    Not missed sugar once - in any of its forms - not even rubbish carbs let alone refined sugars.

    Mindfulness practice has helped re-wire my mind in quite profound ways as if its taken the pressure or the reliance on sugary stuff away I could stand in the chocolate isle of the supermarket all day and it doesn't occur to eat anything - same with ice creams - my previous poisons of choice. Feels really strange - there isn't any craving to battle.

    I'd recommend the Mark Williams books on mindfulness for anyone interested in trying for themselves.

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