On January 4, I embarked on my journey through a 7-day sugar detox challenge hosted by Further Food. The challenge was to go sugar-free for a whole week which means avoiding added sugars and sugar-rich foods like dried fruit and white bread. I wasn’t successful (I caved when I bought boba), but I did learn a lot during this week.
Here are 5 takeaways from my “sugar-free” week:
Sugar is everywhere
Before the detox, I didn’t really think about how much sugar was in my meal, so I was surprised to find out that foods I normally eat weren’t allowed during the detox. Everyday foods like yogurt, juice, bread, and dried fruit were on the no-no list. They aren’t considered unhealthy, but they contain sugar. Make sure you read labels carefully. Foods that taste and appear sugar-free may actually be packed with sugar.
It’s hard to go sugar-free if you don’t prepare your own food
Since I was at home for Winter break during my detox, I ate out a lot to satisfy my Asian food cravings. But that meant that I wasn’t cooking for myself, and, therefore, had no idea what was actually in my food. Was there sugar in that dish? Possibly. The only way to really know is if you prepare your own meals.
Having support makes a huge difference
Though I failed the challenge (or succeeded by cheating), I am very grateful to have friends that supported me all the way through. Some signed up for the challenge and were a million times more successful than I was, while others cheered from the sideline. They’re the reason I even attempted the detox, and they’re also why I managed to hold out for a few days. So, if you know someone on a detox or with dietary restrictions, support them! I promise it will make a huge difference.
Out of sight, out of mind
The adage “out of sight, out of mind” is so true with sugar (and other foods). I don’t seek out or crave sugar, but once I see it, I want to eat it. At one point, we had two boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts and a box of Godiva chocolate on the dining table. The temptation was so real, and I caved. So, if you want to go sugar-free, do yourself a favor and throw away all your sugar-filled foods now.
I wouldn’t do it again
I’m glad I tried the detox because I learned a lot about sugar and where it hides, but I’m not doing it again. There were just too many foods I couldn’t eat, and, to be honest, I eat for pleasure, not health. The better it tastes, the better it is. This probably isn’t the best mentality, but it’s where I am right now. The most I can realistically do is limit the amount of added sugars I consume. Sugar-free tea and coffee? Done. Less baked goods? Fine. No refined flours or dairy? No thanks. But if you’re interested in going sugar-free in a practical way, you can check this article out.