The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Can I go a month without sugar? March 2, 2010

Filed under: experiment,Food — Alden @ 4:30 pm
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Oh man did I binge on sugar this weekend. Scott had promised me a big bag of Reese’s, which are my weakness. I can walk down a candy aisle with no problem, ignoring all the brightly colored packaged happiness, until I see an orange and brown wrapper. Then I’m a goner. He had bought a huge bag of Reese’s eggs, and since I know he doesn’t eat them often, I really thought it would be a shame to see all those delicious peanut butter and chocolate goodies go to waste! I must have eaten… 15 of them in two days. Ok, honestly? At least 20.

And the week leading up to this weekend I spent baking cupcakes and trying to dispatch  all the extra icing I made for it. You know, butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla? All in my belly.

So now I’m paying penance. I’m going to try and go one month without having any sugar. That’s right. No sugar.

That doesn’t just mean candy bars. That means no soda (which I never drink anyway. Please.), no ketchup, no sweet salad dressing or creamer in my coffee, no flavored organic yogurts or Smart Start cereal, no granola bars or yummy things from the bakery. Sugar hides in all of these things in the form of “corn syrup”, “malt powder”, and “dextrose.” Yup, it’s all sugar. Or, they just tell you right on the label it’s sugar, and you never think to look because it’s organic yogurt! Why look at the label on organic yogurt?? Because sugar is everywheeeeere.

So why am I going through all this trouble? Check out some facts from an article by Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D:

  • Sugar constitutes about 25 to 35 per cent of the American diet.
  • Some brands of ketchup have more sugar per ounce than ice cream.
  • Sugar makes you fat. It weakens the enzymes of essential fatty acid metabolism.
  • Sugar has no vitamins or minerals to offer in its digestion.
  • Common knowledge on the scientific evidence concerning food is largely influenced by the industry.
  • Sugar makes you dumber. A study by Schoenthaler that studied one million school children from 800 New York schools over a seven year period when sugar intake was eliminated, found a 15.7 per cent increase in learning ability compared with other schools. Of 124,000 children who were unable to learn grammar and math, 75,000 could perform these skills after dietary changes alone were introduced. In another study, 68 juvenile criminals’ anti-social acts diminished by 80 per cent within seven months. In a follow-up study with 276 children, one group stayed on the junk food diet while the other group received healthy foods. And the difference in anti-social acts between the two groups was almost 50 per cent.
  • People addicted to substances like alcohol react similarly to sugar, even experiencing withdrawal effects when taken away from sugar. Researchers have found that there is a strong correlation between alcohol or other addictive drugs and a strong craving for sugar.
  • Diabetes is absent in primitive communities, but after 20 years of eating sugar, North American Indians, Eskimos, and populations in India and Africa have started developing instances of diabetes.

And from another article from with an interview with dermatologist Nicholas Perricone:

I believe that inflammation is at the basis of aging in all organ systems, including the skin. One of the reasons inflammation occurs is from a rapid rise in blood sugar, which causes biochemical changes in the cell that result in accelerated aging.

Of the internal causes of inflammation, one of the big ones is diet. In addition to biochemical changes, sugar causes damage to the skin in another way: When blood sugar goes up rapidly, sugar can attach itself to collagen in a process called “glycation,” making the skin stiff and inflexible. Losing this elastic resilience of young skin will give you deep wrinkles and make you look old.

The best thing a sugar addict can do to deal with their cravings is to very carefully control their blood sugar and insulin by staying away from the bad carbohydrates and eating more protein for just a few days. At the same time their skin is becoming firm, their blood sugar will stabilize and their cravings will go away. They’re free! Then they might have a piece of chocolate once in awhile, but it’s based on their free will instead of “I have to have it.

So if being healthier isn’t enough to convince you, having beautiful skin should!

Will I make it through the full 30 days? Will I resist the siren call of Reese’s? Will I power through 3:00 slumps using just green tea? Or will I come slinking back here to write of my terrible will power while the taste of high fructose corn syrup lingers on my tongue?

So far, 1 day without sugar.


One Response to “Can I go a month without sugar?”

  1. […] you are a regular reader, you might enjoy the list of what this self-righteous, consciously cocky, sugar-avoiding, hyper-aware hippie ate yesterday during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in […]

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