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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Why sugar fasting? (part 1)

For the month of April, we'll be fasting from all added sugars. I don't know if you're like me, but this is a tough challenge in my book! Today I'll be sharing why I think sugar fasting is important from a personal standpoint. I'll share later about the medical and scientific evidence for avoiding sugar.

Just say no to this stuff!

I love sweets, and I find that they can be a big part of my social life. I'm an emotional junk food eater. It's not so much when I'm upset that I eat sugary foods but when I'm happy or with friends and family or feeling like I have "earned" something nice. Baking something sweet is also a love language for me. Making desserts for others is one of my main ways to do something nice for them. I've tried "healthying them up", but it never seems to turn out right without all that sugar.

Also, as a really ironic twist, my system is insanely sensitive to sugars. If I allow myself just one sweet treat a day, by the end of a week, I'm having insonmia, joint pain, blood sugar issues, suppressed immune system and/or more. It's a trigger for fibromyalgia, I believe. My body can normally handle 1-2 sweet treats a week without too many problems, if the rest of my diet has been good (not too many simple carbs, etc.). I know that not everyone is like this, but I've definitely found it to be true for me.

To add to the irony, sugar is so very addicting, especially for me. Like I said, I can handle a few sweet treats each week without issues. However, if I let myself indulge once, my body will be asking for more and more again and again. Part of it is emotional, but part of it I believe is a physical addiction. It's a constant cycle for me. 

When I completely avoid sugar, my energy is through the roof. I can run all day long and feel great at the end of the day. I can accomplish so much more in a day. When I've been bingeing, I have those mid-afternoon dips, I wake up aching in the morning and it takes a little while for it to go away. I hear a lot of anecdotal evidence for all kinds of things, and people say "oh, my energy level went up, and I'm thinking so much more clearly!" I'm usually doubtful of that as evidence because it's so subjective, but in this case for me, it's like night and day. There is a 100% correlation for me between sugar consumption and how I feel physically, and sometimes emotionally.

The thing is, most people are probably like I was and don't even know what they would feel like if they gave up the sweets. I thought that I didn't have any problem with them, in moderation, because sugar is in everything. I didn't realize how much I was eating, and it never had a chance to get out of my system because I was getting it every day. I didn't know how good I could feel until my first sugar fast this past summer.

Foods that we consider "health foods" are often still loaded with sugar. Granola, granola bars, whole grains baked goods like muffins, pancakes, waffles. Dried fruit and fruit juice are pretty sugary, as well. Most drinks are filled with sugar, even "healthy" bottled tea tends to have a lot.

I know that not everyone is as sensitive to sugar as I am. Some people may not notice a difference. Also keep in mind, though, that some people are extremely sensitive, and need to watch their carbohydrate and fruit intake, as well. If you don't notice a difference, try taking it a step further for a few weeks before you give up. Especially if you have problems stabilizing your blood sugar, struggle with emotional disorders, or have adrenal fatigue related issues. Sugar consumption can have a negative effect on all of these things. (Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, I'm just relaying what I've been told by friends and trusted resources.)

I challenge you this month to continue reading your labels, and pass on anything that has added sugars. It's definitely worth a try.


  1. I hear ya! I pretty much can say the same thing about myself. Good for you to go off it! I've done a "sugar cleanse" for shorter periods of time, but it is so hard...addicting like you said! Good luck and please keep us updated!

  2. I have never tried this before. I am going to stay tuned and see how it goes for you, and then I may have to give it a try. Maybe for, like, a weekend to start...

  3. Foundyou on the Barn Hop. I, too, need to cleanse from sugar. I can find a zillion ways to "deserve" a treat, too. And worse, when I don't get sugar, my body will crave fat or salt instead- which are just as bad.

    The hardest thing is, sugar addiction is an ADDICTION. As in "I can quit anytime." Yet, that's much easier said than done. I needed your post today - I plan to follow your series!

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, ladies! I plan on posting an update on monday about how it's going. It's going really, great!

    Libby, I highly recommend giving it a try, you'll never know how good you can feel until you give it a try! I do recommend at least 2-3 weeks, though. That's how long it takes to get over the "hump" of cravings and such.

    Jill, you can do it! It's so worth it!

  5. I am doing the same now that Easter is over- helps my body get back on track!!!
    Have you read David Gillespie's Sweet Poison?

  6. Good for you, Deanne! I haven't heard of David Gillespie, but it sounds like something I'd be interested in!

  7. Mark Hyman, M.D. authored "The UltraSimple Diet" which has been very helpful for me. He stresses what you CAN have rather than what you CANNOT have. Good recipes and information.

  8. I'll have to check that one out, Betty. Thanks!

  9. Thank you for sharing this! I have the same experience with sugar, I can't keep it in the house because I will be so tempted to eat it and even if I only have a little it triggers all sorts of issues for me. As you know, (from my post on Aliment) I am abstaining from sugar for the next 6 weeks. I cannot wait to feel better, as I know that I will!

    1. I hope your sugar fast is going well and that you're feeling better already! If not, don't get discouraged because you will feel a difference soon if you stick with it! It is totally worth it!