We all know sugar is "bad" for us. It gives us acne, it makes us gain weight, and it's addictive. But for one sweet moment, life is good and all is well...until the ice cream in your mouth has melted and there's no more in your bowl. According to Sugar Science, the average American consumer 19.5 teaspoons of sugar everyday while the daily recommended amount is 6-9 teaspoons. 

tea, coffee
Katie Walsh

There is a culture of shame around sugar and I think it's hard to understand that not all sugar is bad for you. In fact, I don't think it's bad at all—we shouldn't be labeling foods "good" or "bad." Our behavior around food may not be the best, but with so many diets and trends eliminating "processed," "refined," or "white" sugar, I wanted to give it a shot. There was a time in my life where I didn't even eat fruit because I was afraid of the sugar. But besides that and a weirdly potassium-related nightmare, I will no longer have fear when I eat a banana, because while fructose (a sugar found in fruit) does increase insulin levels like other sugars, the fiber and nutrients in the banana are so much more beneficial there's nothing to fear. I'm not gonna be fat or fatigued from eating like the monkeys do.

fish, trout
Sasha Kran

However, I wanted to try a week where I cut out refined sugar. With summer coming and everyone craving that "summer bod," plus all the stress-related baking I had been doing, I wanted to see what would happen if I tried to avoid it for a week.

Here's what I found out.

Sunday Evening

My last hurrah! A salute to sugar! Sayonara sucrose! I enjoyed sweets, sauces, and ate with reckless abandon while watching Chopped with my boyfriend and looked forward to when I could see my sweet friends again. Honestly, after this night I was looking forward to a break from sugar. A "detox", as the youths like to call it.

candy, chocolate, goody, sweet, sweetmeat
Becky Hughes


I woke up full of dread. Both because it was raining outside and because I had rid my house of sugar (within roommate reason). I was feeling confident that I could do it considering I had prepared some date protein balls just in case I needed some sweet treats. And boy did my body want it immediately after the previous night's avalanche.

sweet, date
Kristine Mahan


Downer day. It's sad outside and my body hurts. More date balls, fruit smoothies, and I have now decided that oranges are my best friend.

citrus, juice, tangerine, lemon
Amelia Hitchens


The headaches have arrived. I haven't had proper carbs yet today and as I wolf down this dining hall breakfast burrito with a side of natural-sugar filled beets I realize my head is going through withdrawal and wants sugar. But no! I refuse to give in and shove more wrap in my mouth. This night however I was surprisingly hungry and considering my day started out with ballet at 8:30 am, I succumb to the hunger and ate another orange.

Lissane Kafie


Bloat central. Hoping this is from my body's new influx of fructose and lack of other sugars, 'cause honey let me tell you I am having a lot of smoothies to kick the sugar curb. Tonight instead of an orange I hit up a random assortment of banana, cranberries, and some raw nuts to satiate me and I go to bed feeling relatively good. 

Ellen Gibbs


Feeling alive. Still bloated, but ok. I knew I was going out with friends this night so I had a salad at supper and did not really properly eat knowing I'd probably do so when I went out and if we don't count beverages and possibly sugar in the pizza sauce at Joe's I think we're all clear. What was interesting was my amount of energy I had to be up so late. Usually I would want to go straight to bed, but I was alive and well. Maybe the lack of sugar crash was helping.

pizza, cheese, sauce, tomato, crust, dough, mozzarella, pepperoni, pie, Margherita, Italy, italian, basil
Lauren Kruchten


I rebounded with a solid breakfast and a protein shake post-workout. My unsweetened almond milk and unsweetened applesauce were doing the trick! I realized the unsweetened applesauce was so sweet to me and imagining it with added sugar was like eating apple candy at that point. So it goes to show that you should try unsweetened versions of things if you can, because they just might surprise you. Unfortunately I messed up again because I had some peanut butter pretzels that night and while I had been avoiding peanut butter with sugar in it (look at your food labels—it may surprise you!), these pretzel contraptions had corn syrup in them which is a form of processed sugar. 

Alison Regan


And we're back to Sunday. More of the same go-to avo toast and my pal orange was back in town! Besides a lack of sleep from the weekend and some sore muscles, I was feeling pretty good and actually wanted to continue the no refined sugar move for a little while. Even though I slipped up a couple times, those times didn't destroy me because it wasn't a huge portion and it had been the only instance that day. That being said, Sunday night I did return to some sweet friends in my favorite form of processed sugar: donuts. And ohhhh did it feel so good.


All in all, I think I did alright and as I write this I am trying another week of no refined sugar. Please keep in mind that if you want to try something like this, don't go extreme. Try not to make it a 30 day "challenge" or a habit because restriction is not a part of any healthy diet. This was an experiment and an opportunity to learn more about how my body reacts and depends on sugar.

The biggest surprise was how my emotion was attached to sugar.

Sugar makes you feel good hormonally, not just physically, and that was definitely clear on rainy days like Tuesday. We need sugar in our diet because it allows our body to function and feeds our brains. It's in almost everything, even fruits and vegetables. The most important takeaway is that sugar is sugar and whether or not you choose to eat it does not define you. But don't let one cookie or even an orange get you down.

Stay sweet!