I’ve heard it said that motivation is generated in two ways. We are either running away from something we don’t want or running toward something we do want. The media is very good at highlighting the horrors of a high-sugar diet that we want to avoid.
The challenge with these fear-filled headlines is that they cause us to feel anxious, which can easily push us into the comforting arms of sugary treats like cookies, cakes, and candies. In this blog post, we’ll take the road less traveled and discuss why a sugar-free life is a wonderful thing, and I’ll use comments from viewers on my YouTube Channel to prove it.
What Happens When You Stop Sugar – Summary
- Time away from sugar reduces sugar cravings and makes sugar too sweet to be enjoyable.
- Avoiding sugar allows your brain and tastebuds to become more sensitive to sugar, naturally reducing cravings.
- When you stop eating sugar, you can expect a period of withdrawal symptoms. However, most people report feeling better within days or weeks.
- Those who have gone sugar-free report a host of health benefits, including weight loss, improved fasting blood glucose levels, reversed PCOS, and improved mood.
Happy Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar [Video]
In this video, you will learn…
- Firsthand experiences of people who have quit sugar!
- The physiological changes that happen inside of you to make you lose your taste for sweets.
- The many health benefits of quitting sugar.
Is Sugar-Free Possible?
Are there actually people out there happily living life without sugar? The answer is yes, but if you feel as if you’re being held captive by sugar, you might think they are lying or write them off as “just one of those people.“
The reality is that life is good on the other side of sugar, and many people have successfully quit sugar, but I don’t want you to take my word for it. I’ve collected comments from viewers who have kicked the habit. My hope is that this blog post moves you from a place of “no way can I give up sugar” to “it must be possible” or even “I’m going to do it!”
Let’s start with some social proof that giving up sugar is possible.
Kay Kay Wrote
“No sugar 100 days today. I feel great! I’ve lost 20 plus pounds and my arthritis thanks me. Once you go just a few days the sugar cravings dissipate. Today, I am not even the slightest bit tempted. I’ve taken my life back and clean eating is here to stay. :)”
JC Szot Added
“March 12 will be my two year anniversary of being sugar-free. I ransacked my house and got rid of everything. The key is you have to allow enough time to pass for your palate to change.”
Time Away from Sugar Makes Sugar Too Sweet
As we move through these comments, one common thread that you’ll notice is that once you stop eating sugar, cravings diminish, and your taste for sugar changes.
JC Szot went on to write,
“I went to my mothers house for Christmas. It was my first Christmas sugar-free so I was slightly concerned but I kept telling myself I had made it this far so I must keep pressing on. Now – she made my favorite cookies and she’s 80 years old. I didn’t wanna hurt her feelings so I told her I would sample them which meant one bite and let her know how they came out.
These were my favorite cookies! I used to bang down three or four with a cup of coffee with no problem. I took one bite and the sweetness just locked me up LOL I couldn’t eat anymore, neither did I have the desire to. It didn’t taste the same. It was way too sweet and amazingly enough, I didn’t like it anymore. That’s when you know you’ve turned the corner!”
This newly found experience that sugary treats become too sweet to be enjoyable is a common theme.
Baby A wrote
“I gave up processed foods and sugar. Fruit is the only thing that satisfies my sweet tooth when I want a little something sweet…where candy, chocolate, and cake are now tooooooo sweet for me to eat and actually make me nauseous. Never thought that would ever happen but it did.”
The Happy Physiology of a Sugar-Free Body
There are physiological changes that happen inside of you that explain why avoiding sugar makes sugar cravings go away and causes you to lose your taste for sweets.
When we regularly give in to the desire to give ourselves a sugar fix, we see things happen in an area of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens that make our sugar cravings even stronger.
Eating sugar multiple times a day chronically stimulates this area of the brain, causing it to downregulate or become less sensitive to sugar. The result is that you need more sugar to get the same sugar high that you used to get. In other words, you crave more of it. When you stop eating sugar, this process reverses, and the next time you eat sugar, it tastes intensely or even uncomfortably sweet.
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that after just one month on a low-sugar diet, your taste buds become more sensitive to sugar (1).
This sets you up for success because less sugar is now more enjoyable, and too much sugar is unpleasant.
To Stop Eating Sugar…Stop Eating Sugar?
So all you have to do to stop eating sugar – is stop eating sugar. Yeah. I get it. That is easier said than done. The reality is that sugar is an addictive substance. When you stop taking it in, you can expect a period of withdrawal symptoms.
Fay Abrahamsson wrote,
“I dropped sugar completely 3 months ago. The first week was a bit hard. I was craving it. I was a tad cranky and was tired in the afternoon. But for me, when I got past that period, everything changed! My energy soared. My cravings went away. Even today, 3 months later, I have no desire for a cookie, or cake, or dessert. I can serve it to others as I did this weekend when we had guests and watch them eat, and I do not feel a craving.”
Lessie Anderson added,
“Hi Dr. Becky…I’m 3 weeks into not using sugar it’s hard…but I’m getting through it! I’m so proud of myself cause I thought it would be soo hard to do…but not having it in your home helps you to stay disciplined so you can remain motivated in your mindset! Thanks soo much for these great tips, they are extremely helpful.”
There is no way around the fact that you will need to stop eating sugar to reach a place of comfort. You might find it helpful to reframe this movement away from sugar as an experiment like the one Raginghistorically mentioned.
“My mother and sister drank tea constantly, always with two teaspoons of sugar. They were advised to continue drinking tea without sugar for two weeks. They were warned they would find it disgusting but they were persistent after [the experiment], they could return to sugary tea. They did it, despite hating the unsweetened tea. After two weeks, they made tea with sugar and could not believe how disgusting it was. They have never taken sugar in their tea since. That was thirty years ago.”
I’d imagine the bodies of this mother and daughter team were very happy that they weathered that two-week period 30 years ago. I encourage you to do like these ladies and perform a two-week sugar-free experiment. But keep in mind that you will have some challenging days, and you’ll need to remain vigilant after the period to avoid stepping back into your old habit.
D B shared
“Once I get through the first 2 weeks without sugar, I’m free of cravings. But if I have just one treat after that I have opened a door that is hard to shut again.”
Consistent effort is required, but the benefits will be worthwhile, regardless of your age.
Happy Benefits of a Sugar-Free Life
D B went on to write,
“My son had become overweight and was having behavioral issues when he was 10 years old. We stopped feeding him sugar and white flour and he returned to a normal weight in 3 months. The behavior changed virtually overnight.”
Bitsy Keto shared that
“the decision to go without sugar for whatever period of time one chooses to do so is, of course, an individual one. I will tell you that I tried for over 60 years to include it in my life in manageable amounts but was never able to successfully do so. It ALWAYS led me back to substantial weight gain and a multiple of other health issues. Giving up sugar was one of the best decisions I EVER made and has given me a freedom I’ve never known. It changed my life for the better. I only wish I had done it sooner. Your journey may be different.”
It is a wonderful thing to experience freedom from sugar cravings. Sugar can hijack your thoughts, making it hard to stay mentally sharp. But breaking away from sugar is not just freeing for your mind. It is also freeing for your body.
“Almost 4 years now without excessive sugar or carbs, and dropped 6 inches off my waist without even trying, now that alone has made it worth it for me.
Improved Fasting Glucose Level
Debbie Hocking shared
“I quit sugar and my fasting glucose went from 101 (pre diabetes 2) down to 90, normal range.”
The 5 Minute Body wrote
“I have ditched the sugar for 5 years, nothing sweet at all. I’ve lost 26lbs, reversed my PCOS and actually never hungry. Sugar is a drug!!! You need to quit it.”
5th Dimension added,
“I gave up all sugar and flour in August and have lost 35 lbs. I’ve also lost irritable mood swings and daily emotional beatings for eating crap all day long. While I mourn some sweets, it doesn’t out weigh how grateful I am for feeling good throughout the day. I wish the same for you in 2022.”
Can I Ever Eat Sugar Again?
You may have picked up on the fact that some of the commenters have been sugar-free for years. Some of you will find that inspiring, while others will find it intimidating, with the fear being that sugar-free is an all-or-nothing proposition.
If you take steps to give up sugar, does that mean you can never again eat a piece of birthday cake? The reality is that every person is different. Some people are more susceptible to the pull of sugar than others. That susceptibility is hard to predict because it is based on physical as well as emotional factors, from fond childhood memories to stress relief to just wanting a moment to be carefree.
What you’ll find is that, with time away from sugar, the changes in brain chemistry and taste buds break the physical desire for sugar, making it easier to manage those emotional ties. When that happens, many people find that they can have an occasional treat without backsliding into cravings.
“I have cheat days on birthday, holidays and special occasions but much less in portion. I have a greater love of fruit now and do have better skin and less gastric issues now. I lost 28 since Sept. from lessening sugar a lot and carbs but stay 50-80 grams and sometimes 130 on high end days and lower on salad, IF days. I’m 62, you can do it!”
So there you have it. There used to be a saying, “A moment on your lips, a lifetime on your hips.” The moment is fun, but there is a lot more long-term enjoyment out there.
As Privet Prince put it,
“…life is Excellent without sugar.”
If you would like some guidance, I encourage you to download my 0,1,2,3 strategy. It has been downloaded by more than 90,000 people. It comes with a free video series that helps you get the most out of the strategy so you can confidently move toward an enjoyable sugar-free life.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
(1) Wise, Paul M., et al. “Reduced dietary intake of simple sugars alters perceived sweet taste intensity but not perceived pleasantness.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 103.1 (2016): 50-60.