Sugar experiment. Any takers?

So, whilst I wait for more bloods to come back I've been revisiitng all the info on where some believe this all starts.

A history of poor sugar metabolism. You know the hype, consumption of sugar leads to spikes in insulin, leads to overworked adrenals, leads to exhausted thyroid (not to mention depleting oestrogen as we age thrown in for good measure).

So, I want to try one week without any form of sugar at all and see if there are any particular changes. That will mean no cows milk (or sweetened alternatives), fruit (unless berries), sucrose of any type etc. No biscuits, sweets, cakes, pastries, honey or otherwise so on and so forth. (Even those cans of beans with sugar or ketchup!)

I'd really like to run this alongside someone else who felt brave enough to give it a go. Can't start immediately as there are too many nice things still in my cupboard!

But would anyone like to give this a try alongside me at the same time?

Disclaimer: Please don't consider this if you have any blood sugar problems at present, or feel that this may cause you any distress whatsoever, or if you are feeling very low already as I understand that this can cause some feelings of low mood and irritability if you are used to sugar in your diet!

However, if you would like to try this as an experiment with me then please do get in touch.

P.S. If there are no takers then I'll report in on how snakey I'm feeling as it goes along! Plus, any revelations too! Plus, no worries if you get 24hrs into it and the temptation becomes too great - I'm making no promises myself!

27 Replies

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  • I'm interested. How soon would you want to start. Would it be best to set a date. I have major issues with sugar and carbs and I'm desperate to get off the cycle. We could blog our progress, frustrations, cravings and successes lol :)

  • Great! We'll set a date then!

    What say you - Finish gorging on Sat 23rd March begin from Sun 24th for 7 days. This will finish on Sat 30th - just in time for Easter Sun.

    See below though - the aim is possibly not to put sugar back into the diet if I can - on the basis that I do feel better of course.

    I could start a blog with a reasonable list of all the things we could eat on or about Thurs/Fri.

    How exciting!

  • Hi, I'm interested too as I really crave sugar at moment as quite bad Insomnia and when I'm tired I reach for sugary food! Might be tough but if I'm not doing it alone hopefully I'll stick with it! :D

  • Great! We'll set a date then!

    What say you - Finish gorging on Sat 23rd March begin from Sun 24th for 7 days. This will finish on Sat 30th - just in time for Easter Sun.

    See below though - the aim is possibly not to put sugar back into the diet if I can - on the basis that I do feel better of course.

    I could start a blog with a reasonable list of all the things we could eat on or about Thurs/Fri.

    How exciting!

  • Yep, Sun 24th it is then! Great idea about things to eat, would be very helpful thanks!

    Let the experiment begin! (I think I need to put a Miranda Hart quote in here)

    Such Fun!

    :D

  • See reply to picton below. Bring it on!

  • I crave sugar too, the only time I didn't crave sugar was when I took protein shakes.

  • Great! We'll set a date then!

    What say you - Finish gorging on Sat 23rd March begin from Sun 24th for 7 days. This will finish on Sat 30th - just in time for Easter Sun.

    See below though - the aim is possibly not to put sugar back into the diet if I can - on the basis that I do feel better of course.

    I could start a blog with a reasonable list of all the things we could eat on or about Thurs/Fri.

    How exciting!

  • I have recently cut down on my sugar intake quite a lot but thought I would let you know that after almost no sugar for about 2 months I ate some chocolates that one of my daughters bought me for mothers day and boy was I ill the next day. I couldn't open my eyes I was so tired and felt really dreadful ALL day. So just a word of warning that when you experiment is over and you put sugar back into your diet you may feel ill.

    Hope it goes well for you all and I look forward to three very interesting blogs on how easy/hard it was and how it made you feel.

    Best of luck and well done Madmom and Corinne for being so brave and putting yourself forward to help Tulula with her fact finding mission.

    Moggie x

  • Thanks Moggie - we'll do it in the interests of science!

  • Hi I have severe diabetes but even before for many years I have not had sugar as I do not like it, in anything, Only fruit and now I can have very little of that. I did used to have Hypoglaeceamia for that you should have some carbohydrate ever few hours. it might help your sugar "spikes"I actually stopped having it when I was 9 ( as I thought it would be nice to be different very unusual in those days! After a week, I never liked it again. If you buy ready meals etc etc surprising how so many had sugar in, which you do not expect especially any thing tomato, so you need to read the ingredients very carefully. I cannot have milk or yogart so do not know about that

    Jackie

  • Hi Jackie, we'll try and be extra vigilant!

  • Yay. I'm so excited about this. Fortunately I know loads about sugar and the hidden foods its in. I'm not to fussed about natural sugar such as fruit and veg at the mo. more like processed stuff in chocolate and processed foods. I'm also very aware of corn fructose and the damage it is doing to us. It is in just about all low fat food and hidden under many different names

    Day one will be hell for me :(. Since going gluten free chocolate has become my substitute. But with Los of lovely support I'm looking forward to it. Bring it on ladddiiiiees :)

  • See reply to picton below. Bring it on!

  • Can't do those dates, as I have an important birthday to celebrate with a friend on the 28th. But I am certainly interested in hearing what you find out! I have been trying to keep a food log and have been able to identify several associations between feeling bloated for example, and particular foods. It is *so* helpful!

  • I think you are mixing up the concept that sugars are so very different to ANY other form of carbohydrate... it's just basically the rate at which you metabolise them, but they all have a similar effect on producing Insulin - the higher the glycaemic load consumed, the higher the spike.

    Go low carb... that's pretty much zero sugar, and gets rid of the other carbs too - (to be honest gluten in wheat is well got rid of anyway if you ask me!)

    I did this 3.5 years ago... (well, I still have milk in coffee, semi skimmed is only about 1.5% lactose anyway) - result was almost instant resolution of my Reactive Hypoglycaemia, 100% stopped the problem in a matter of hours.... now, I am also 46Kg lighter too. It's a bind to live this way, but it worked for me. Did nothing for thyroid issues though.

    Effectively I follow a fairly strict version of a Low Glycaemic LOAD diet... but just about any version of low carb seems to work. Seeing as even low carb veg has carbs in small amounts and even meat has some "sugars" in the form of Glycogen it's impossible to go to complete zero, but pretty low works. It's easy to separately test if milk or specific foods affect you... they don't with me, (gluten seems to be more problem for many that lactose!) and as they are at low levels, I don't worry about the odd tiny bit, and would make a low carb diet VERY hard if you avoid such things totally.

  • Hi All

    Yes, of course carbs are carbs wherever they come from. However, for this particular experiment I feel that sugars as we know them are the best palce to start. We could add white potatoes and white rice to the absention list if we all agree as these carry very high glycaemic loads.

    It's up to the rest of you really - I'll go with whatever you all want. I personally do have to be careful that I get enough carbs anyway as living gluten free already but could happily switch to sweet pots for the week and wholegrain rice instead of white rice.

    Let me know everyone what you fancy doing on that front and then tomorrow or maybe this eve will set up a list of whats good and what not.

    I also think that it would be helpful to have some sort of record of how you are feeling now for cokmparison sake.

    Say, make a list your top 10 symptoms (these can be different for each of us but I'm sure there will be a crossover) and scale them 1 - 5 (1 being not much bother at all - to 5 being absolutely awful).

    We could then score them again at the end of the week and see if there are any changes. We must include of course whether we have developed new ones!

    Onward and upward!

  • I am in danger of seeming to be argumentative and negative, or even worse, Please don't take me that way, as I know you are seeing things as some potential route to get yourself better controlled... I have been there and got that particular t-shirt, so please take me the way I mean it, I am just trying to point out that you are missing a big part of the way things just are!

    The reason you think you need carbs, may well be because you know the body needs carbs - but you simply do not NEED to EAT carbs at all, they are not necessary in your food to live (and Eskimos would have died out millennia ago if that was true, they don't have rice paddies or wheat fields!) you just don't need them in the sense that most people think of anyway - yes, you need carbs, but for most people you can provide your own (Liver produces them in a process called gluconeogenesis, and that's one way people lose weight on a low carb diet) - that's not to say for most people going to such an extreme is either necessary or desirable.... but effectively being arbitrarily selective about which particular carbohydrate to give up on the basis of it's common name in a dictionary is not doing what you seem to want it to do. - if it's called a sugar, give it up, if it's called a starch don't! Starch IS a "sugar" it's a polysaccharide, ("sugar" ie. sucrose is a disaccharide, it's just less saccharide bits joined up!) but in everyday speak, it's not what we call "sugar," and won't be labelled that way on a bag of cornflour!

    I agree that SOME sources of carbs have their own specific problems... wheat and it's gliadin and a glutenin which produce gluten is a very specific one, and lactose in milk being another, so cutting out specific carbs on that basis seems eminently sensible if they affect you, but cutting out "sugar" (effectively we all take that in common parlance to mean a few types of "sugars" with an s!) and continuing to eat every other carb on the planet is only cutting out foods on the basis of the common names they have been given, rather than their similarity to how the body "sees" and metabolises them is a flawed concept in the first place, in the same way I wrongly claim to eat "No carbohydrates" where in reality my food still contains a fair amount in various forms, just not the massively large quantities that most overtly carb foods such as as bread or potatoes do.

    Sorry if I sound like I am being pedantic, I am trying to avoid it, but it may not be coming out that way - just that what you are suggesting is similar to what I am doing, you are simply cutting DOWN on sugars (certain forms of carbs) in the same way as I am cutting DOWN on all forms of Carbs, just that you being selective on arbitrary forms of carb is just that, and you will still be packing in a considerable amount of the very things which you are seeking to avoid perhaps in the end eating even MORE!

    One of the problems we all have would seem to be the fact that there is loads of misleading information out there, and lack of research too... why for example is Fructose (in fruit) seen as a simple carbohydrate that unlike some other "sugars" actually "burns" slowly?... when I (and it looks like another poster in this thread too!) see it as one of the BIGGEST problem sugars/carbs!.. Fruit, which I LOVE, unfortunately has a bigger glycaemic effect in my body than even the dreaded wheat... and I can find no real known explanation, as on the face of it, I should find less problem with it!

    By removing "sugars" from your diet, you are actually stating that you will REPLACE (switch) to other forms of carbs, and effectively that is like drinking Methanol instead of Ethanol. (OK it's a bit of an over statement, just couldn't think of a better analogy at the time!)

    Even among those that have no problem at all with glucose metabolism, reducing overall carbohydrate intake seems to me to be a good idea, just that replacing the form of carb you eat with another seems arbitrary and whilst a good scientific study would be interesting, I don't' think you are going to do what you actually are aiming to do, and - even if it does make a difference to you, you won't actually know which of the sugars/carbs you are giving up is making the significant difference! :-(

    For those of use with "defective" glucose metabolism, (I am pre-diabetic and suffer Reactive Hypoglycaemia) a lot of hard work on eating low carb has all been done by others, there is a mountain of information out there to plough through... I found eating low carb a life-saver, but I do accept it hasn't been the answer for everyone too... nothing is that straightforward

    google.co.uk/search?q=low+c...

    Good luck anyway.

  • Hi Picton

    Thanks for taking the time to add your comments.

    I hear what you are saying and yes, if we were to be doing double-blind scientific sutdies then the cirteria for what constitutes a carb would be fully investigated.

    As this is an exercise in 'cutting out lots of junk' then I think we have only really implied it as being such. Maybe the title should have taken this complexity into account.

    I understand too that we are not necessarily picking through every food source and checking where it lay on the glycaemic index.

    So.... what we are simply going to do, as you say, is cut down on carbohydrate intake by way of avoiding anything known as overt 'sugar' along with high loads such as bread and white potatoes.

    I can only speak for myself but I have been advised by the chief dietician at my local hosp that reducing my carb intake further would be highly undesirable as I risk losing out on essential vit bs. Perhaps this is the only reason why she has advised me personally against it.

    However, in the name of just attempting to 'clean up' a little then I think we can go ahead and 'feel the burn' of removing overt sugars and just see - that's all - just see how we feel. If we feel nothing then the scope is too wide and targeted restrictions could be considered.

    Notwithstanding of course that we will still be eating some of natures own sugar in the form of carbohydrates. At least I will.

    Thanks for the input though.

  • I think you will find just about every dietician doesn't go a bundle on Low carb, in the same way every Endo doesn't go a bundle on treating with T3 or NDT!!... that alone is reason to be sceptical, the NHS is decades behind on LOTS of things - you will find that huge numbers of diabetics (not including those who are not yet diabetic) do pretty badly on the diets they suggest - the reason I am so keen on cutting carbs is personal... and I never knew while the problem was happening, I didn't' research until things started to go wrong for me too - I watched my own Grandmother die a most miserable death, amidst CONSTANT family rows about who was feeding her "contraband food" (she was in a Nursing home at the time and could only eat their prescribed food, and anything people brought her) - I now know NO-ONE was bringing her food in, it was the EXTREME high carb Endocrinologist prescribed diet that had her Blood glucose massively high... and she was not alone in not being under control eating a diet that was so full of carbs it was higher than my previous diet... fruit and cereals in particular on the pretext that it was complex carbs, and that can be only good! :-(

    I have her genetics, and have not gone on to full diabetes - yet... but I certainly can't handle the very same foods she was having such a hard time handling either!

    If you look online you will find in the USA that similar diets cause similar misery... and some have gone so far as to write living wills to prevent them being fed such diets if they end up in nursing homes!

    I could go on to the problem that diabetics have with NHS guidance on diabetic management and the consumption of frankly crazy levels of carbs... they think an HbA1c of 8 is just about acceptable too... (that's 64 mmol/mol) the target is 7 but they only get worked up if it's over 8.5 - fine it is acceptable if you want loads of long term problems and intend on relying on lots of NHS treatment of lots of conditions in later years still being around, it is! :-(

    I still eat SOME carbs... they are unavoidable and perfectly manageable too... just had carrots for example, they are about as high in carbs as I eat, and we all need a source of dietary fibre... but that's as high as it gets.

  • Good luck with this - I'm not going to join in (too greedy at the moment) but will watch your experiment with interest :) xx

  • I was sugar free for eighteen months, followed an insulin resistant diet by Jack Challem who wrote Metabolic Syndrome, also incorporated the GAPS diet written by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride to a certain extent to clean up my gut. It worked, I felt better; sadly I fell off the bandwagon recently by eating two cream slices which set off my sugar cravings once again. I am so annoyed with myself. I know I have to go through cold turkey again to get back to where I need to be with no sugar in my diet.

    Importantly we need to have a portion of healthy protein, good fat and healthy carbs at every meal and snack, this balances the blood sugar and helps to dissolve cravings. I gave up all starchy foods i.e. potatoes/rice/pasta/bread as well as sugar in any form. Bought all fresh food and cooked from scratch (not hard to do). I make sure I have organic meat/fish with plenty of salad or veggies for my main meal.

    Many Specialists are now realising that it is not healthy saturated fats that do harm but sugar being the real villain as it causes inflammation in the system which in turn is the underlying factor for many serious diseases. We also need to remember that bad bacteria in the gut needs sugar to feed on so the more sugar we eat the more we are keeping our bodies in an unhealthy state. Unfortunately sugar is very addictive and we need to be vigilant like an alcoholic in recovery, in fact some believe alcoholism is in fact a sugar addiction due to the high content in alcohol.

    As well as the two above books, it is good to read Sugar Blues by William Dufty and The Sugar Addicts Total Recovery Programme by Kathleen DesMaisons, all can be found on Amazon.

    I will conquer my lapse with the cream slices with the visualisation of all those nasty little bad bacteria chomping away at them with glee and my poor gut screaming at them. Joking aside healing our gut is of prime importance in our search for homeostasis.

  • Thanks for all the input and yes, you're quite right the Sugar Blues book is great as well as another I've found called 'Kick the sugar habit'. I'm also looking at another over the next week about what type of sugar eater you are and will post up my thoughts on this.

    No doubt at all that it behaves like an addiction, even the thought of cutting it out for a week fills one with dread but where science calls etc etc.

    Right away to conjure up a blog for this experiment and get the ball rolling in anticipation for the weekend.

    Wish us luck. If nothing else it may certianly prove how very much we rely on this white stuff to supposedly kep us going when in fact it does just the opposite.

  • Glad I've read all these posts. Going to deal with my sugar intake massively. Sat thinking about it. I'm eating huge amounts of sugary food, and have a strong need for the stuff in every form. Will watch this experiment and hopefully gain information and help :) Good luck everyone

  • Thanks for dropping in here MNINB.

    Do keep an eye on the main Blog (The Sugar Babes) and check out what happens!

    Thanks for the kind wishes.

  • Have been looking at quitting sugar articles recently in the same way that I used to read stopping smoking articles before I gave up cigarettes... So whilst I'm not quite ready yet (am still trying to cope with giving up coffee) I shall read your blogs with great interest. I'm aware that I eat too much of the stuff! Good luck ;-)

  • Hi there

    Thanks for the good luck message. I suspect we'll need it. The story will unfold in the main blog, 'The Sugar Babes' over the coming week!

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