A month of giving up processed sugars-an observational study

Consider this as a self reported self observed study. It has been a month since I gave up on processed sugars. No particular reason except that noticed that I was starting to nibble more on sugar. I found that it was giving me a high each time I nibbled on it and that I was finding ways to get that nibble. The roads were suddenly filled with processed foods!

I did not want to do a very scientific study and decided to look at few parameters. Some of these were quantitative and some qualitative. I checked my blood pressure (normotensive) , my fasting and post prandial blood sugars (within normal range) and my weight and body mass index (overweight bordering on obese).

I decided not to alter my exercise schedules ( irregular physical exercise, meditation, breathing, and dreaming of doing some physical exercise). I also decided to eat home cooked foods ( that has been a habit for some time), more of Millets, less rice, fruits,  lot of water, a glass of tea in a day, foods with low glycemic index. This part was easy as I am used to this diet.

My wife and kids joined me in the diet, voluntarily, and they did have an occasional nibble, so I am not going to report on observations on them. Besides, they did not give me informed consent to report on them.

What did I find?

Starting the process of giving up processed sugar was easy. It was not as difficult as I thought it may be. Not surprising since my main intake of sugar was with lime juice and then just gulping a tea spoon of sugar now and then.

Days 2 and 3, I started noticing an increasing urge to eat some form of sugar that developed to a real craving. I found myself inching towards all bakeries on the route, and developed an intense craving for cakes, pastries, sandwiches, breads, chocolates.  It got so bad that I just could not think of anything else. This phase lasted a few days, maybe a total of 3 days.

After that, the cravings reduced a lot.

Starting the second week, I noticed a few things

  • I did not miss sugar at all
  • The cravings of a sweet tooth disappeared
  • Food started tasting much better
  • I could now discern the natural sugary taste in fruits
  • I started sleeping much better
  • I became more alert
  • I could wake up earlier without any trouble (4am)
  • My stamina improved
  • I lost about 5 kgs in the month
  • The central body fat showed signs of reduction
  • Blood pressure and sugar readings remained in a normal range
  • The body felt light
  • I felt calmer.

Towards the end of the third week, I decided to see what will happen if I indulge a bit. I went and bought a chocolate pastry and noticed that, contrary to earlier times, I managed to pay and come out of the store with the pastry in hand and without salivating all the way. I reached home, opened the box, and found that I could eat just half of it. I had to throw off the rest. What happened after that was quite interesting. It was almost like the body got a shock, I could feel an intense rush, a sensory overload, and I went into a deep sleep for about an hour. Post sleep, I was still sluggish and could literally feel the sugar spikes crawling through the body.

The fourth week was again a processed sugarless diet week. I found the body reverting back to a relaxed state.

What else did I notice?

The children and wife did not miss processed sugar at all. Of course, they had an occasional nibble of chocolate, maybe twice in the month. We threw out the sugar we had stored and made our house a sugar free environment. It helped that we had been working towards a non processed diet, as a family, for some time so this change was not very difficult.

What do I think after this?

We do not need processed sugars. I think it is wiser to give it up. There are scientific articles and journalistic reports on the harm related to processed sugars. None of this is new information but it was good to explore all of it on the self.

I will factor in a bias here as I was already on the break from sugar path. Will recommend that you check out yourself how this pans out for you.

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