Shall I order a carrot nut cake, my favorite guilty pleasure, from the Coffee Company…? Oh no, I started the year with a month without (added) sugar. By now I’m almost halfway through the month, but quitting sugar is hard on me. On the one hand, I have to leave out a lot (cookies, cakes, chocolate, granola). On the other hand, withdrawal symptoms seem to be kicking in. I can bring myself to turn down a pastry, skip dessert and leave the chocolate with coffee. But especially the slight headache and the somewhat somber mood are much spicier than I expected.
Quitting sugar is confronting
To see if there is added sugar in anything, I started reading food packaging more. In doing so, you come to the conclusion, almost all products contain added sugars, simply because it sells better since sugar is addictive. In the Netherlands, the consumption of added sugar in foods contributes an average of 11.3% to energy intake(RIVM, 2016) that will be a lot more by now. WHO recommends keeping this below 5%(WHO, 2015). Regardless of how you get your daily calories down, it is confronting what impact it will have on your body when you stop. It feels similar to quitting coffee.
Alternative strategies when quitting sugar
To satisfy my desire for something sweet once in a while, I automatically start trying other routines. In this, dates, figs, raisins and nuts do well as substitutes for sugar. There are just as many sugars in this. But these are neatly packed with fiber by Mother Nature so the effect on energy metabolism is less intense. When my body is doing well, it strives for a new balance and automatically appeals to other energy systems. As a preliminary conclusion, the idea of eating less commercially processed sugar junk makes one feel good. Now just make sure this new behavior stays sustainable.
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