I Tried Not to Eat Any Sugar for an Entire Week

Ah, sugar—basically my best friend that not-so-secretly hates me.

Overall, I'm very healthy. I work out four times a week consistently, I consume mainly veggies and fish, and limit my gluten and dairy intake. The one thing I can't seem to kick? Sugar.

A post shared by K a r i n a (@hermadness) on

When I pitched this story to the team, I selfishly wanted to find easy ways to start eliminating refined sugar from my diet. But, my editor and BFF Dahvi suggested that I try and give up the sweet stuff for an entire week. I typically don't shy away from these types of challenges, but I knew this one was going to be tough for me. But if we don't try the hard things, we never get better, right? My journey wasn't perfect, but here it is.

Day 1

I start off every morning with coffee. Dahvi got me hooked on this soy creamer from Trader Joe's, and to my surprise, there is only one gram of sugar, and organic cane sugar is very far down on the ingredient list. I need my coffee and I refuse to drink it black (no bean water for me) so I used my normal creamer. Did I fail already? I like to have fruit for breakfast, specifically a fruit and protein smoothie, but made myself eggs instead.

I snacked on pumpkin seeds and pistachios midday and for lunch I had leftover lettuce chicken tacos. I noticed with all of the protein I ate, I really wasn't hungry. And I wasn't craving sugar… yet.

Sushi is my favorite food, and we were planning to go out for sushi that night prior to me starting this challenge. I Googled, "Does rice count as sugar?" and found out some interesting things. Even though rice has very low sugar content, it does cause a spike in the bloodstream, which can cause you to crave sugar. So I opted to get brown rice sushi instead of white rice—le sigh. It was still good though. The sugar cravings still came after dinner, when I usually have my dessert. This can range from a small scoop of ice cream to a piece of dark chocolate. I resisted this time…

 

Day 2

I got up, made coffee, and when I opened my fridge for the soy creamer, I saw a half-eaten banana. I grabbed it and ate it without thinking, it was early! Two bites in and I realized I was eating fruit aka sugar, ugh. I workout a lot, and I notice my body craves potassium, so I'm going to let that slide this time, but will make sure to do better the rest of the day.

Okay… jk. The rest of the day wasn't as good as I hoped. I had a lunch meeting at a mediterranean restaurant and ordered a salad. However, it came with pita (read: refined sugar) that I couldn't ignore. I needed a vehicle to eat my hummus 🙃. I also had fried olives and chickpeas and overall just really felt like I messed up this meal even though I did not have the dressing.

For dinner, I had brown rice sushi. But, I also went to a concert and had a few sugary beverages there to quench my thirst. Oops!

 

Day 3

I've noticed the more I fuel up in the AM on proteins, the less likely I am to cave. So, I had a quick brekkie of eggs and veggie sausage along with coffee and almond milk.

Sometimes you just need a quick diner brekkie to start your day 🥞🥓🍳☕️

A post shared by Allison McNamara (@allisonmcnamara) on

I wasn't hungry all day. Then, around 5 p.m. I met up with a friend to catch up and had some olives and almonds. Not bad! Then for dinner, we cooked at home and had spaghetti squash with turkey. We did use tomato sauce so I did have sugar, but overall it was a good day.

 

Day 4

I woke up craving eggs, but was too lazy to make anything, so I ate dry-roasted pistachios instead. I definitely noticed I was craving sugar less and less, which was great. For lunch I stuck to leftover spaghetti squash from the night before.

The day was going swimmingly well, but I had plans to go over to a friend's house for cheese and crackers and knew the carbs were going to be hard to resist. I tried my best, but still ate a slew of crackers drenched in cheese… because who eats cheese solo? Not this girl.

 

Day 5

Overall, I've noticed with this challenge that the less sugar I eat, the more energy I have, which sort of sounds odd because sugar makes me hyper. I had so much energy this day and even made my own smoothie sans fruit (read: kale, almond milk, avocado, vanilla mushroom protein, ashwagandha, cucumber and ginger) that kept me full a big portion of the day. I buzzed around town, got a workout in and even went shopping.

Then, I caved a little and had—you guessed it—more cheese and a slice of pita bread. I've also noticed that a little sugar is okay. It's when you have it for every meal that it isn't.

 

Day 6

It was great having more energy, but it's also messed with my sleeping habits. I have so much energy I can't seem to sleep as long as usual. I love my sleep, I like to get eight hours a night, but I keep waking up even earlier than usual now that I've kicked most of the sugar out of my diet. This is annoying to me for some reason but I've tried to take advantage of it. I woke up at 6 a.m. and started answering emails while snacking on pistachios.

I did a hot pilates class, grabbed a veggie protein smoothie and didn't feel tired at all throughout the day. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited for this challenge to be over though… Dinner was healthy–a shrimp and veggie satay with brown rice. Was I getting good at this?

 

Day 7

The last day! I woke up super early again. It was kind of nice and I felt like I was getting used to this. Coffee and eggs to start, followed by light snacks for lunch, including fava bean dip, quinoa chips and tempeh. For dinner I did sushi again—man I eat a lot of sushi.

I didn't have a midday slump, and overall I felt great. While I wasn'completely sugar-free this entire week, it's made me much more aware of what I tend to eat that contains sugar. A lot of things I didn't even consider sugar, like my Go Raw pumpkin seed crackers, have ingredients including dates and honey, and even though they are natural sweeteners, they're still sugar. Omitting fruit this week was tough and made me realize that I jumpstart my body everyday with sugar, which leads me to crash and have less energy throughout the day. I'm definitely going to remain cognizant of my sugar intake, but I was also very excited about the idea of being able to have a sandwich, pasta or a fruit smoothie in the near future.

 

Now that you've got your sugar intake on lock, how much gluten are you consuming? HERE'S how one of our writers found out about her gluten allergy.