In April I'm doing a one month challenge of no alcohol. That's been pretty easy. Next month, I'm thinking of doing a one month challenge of no refined sugars for the entire family. This seems like a big challenge given how much I like sweets.
Has anyone ever tried removing refined sugar from the entire family's diet? I'm thinking we will take all the refined sugar out of the house for one month. For the kids, I'm just going to remove it from the house. They'll likely run into a piece of cake at a party, which is fine. I'd like to reduce the amount of sugar the family eats without making a big deal about diet and having them feel like they're deprived. I figure if it's out of the house, they just won't eat it.
Go for it, we cut all refined sugar out ages ago, and after a week you are fine with it, and your taste buds begin to adjust and like clean food again!
Fortunately I can buy cheap pure cane sugar (gula mallaca) or raw sugar (jaggar) easily for when we want to add sugar to stuff.
Forty days are how long it takes to break a habit, and another forty days to adopt new habits.
Best of luck with the experiment...
Refined sugar seems to attract urban myths, like brown sugar being better than white sugar or that cane sugar is better than that from sugar beet. The body doesn't care it's just sees sugar.
The natural state of crystalline sugar is white, it isn't treated with chemicals to make it white. Brown sugar can either be obtained from removing it earlier in the refining process or it is white sugar to which molasses is added, but there are no health advantages to any one type.
Yes, most of us could do with eating less sugar me included, but I'd rather have sugar than aspartame which seems to be ever more popular with food and drink companies. When you see sugar free it is often replaced with aspartame, but that's a whole new area of discussion.
Taking sugar in tea and coffee often results from parental habits, I stopped having it in tea and coffee for 6 months, but never enjoyed a cup of tea the whole time, so now have about 1/3 spoon compared to 2 spoonfuls before, so it was worthwhile in the end.
So good luck with your trial!
I've tried it Paul and you can really feel like you are lacking in energy for the first few days. I also found I suffered a few headaches as the toxins left my body. But after a week or so I got used to it and did not feel any deprivation. I was tripped up by a visit home to the parents who always have big tins of choccie biscuits and cakes and get hurt if you don't eat them. So maybe prep the wider family and friends in advance?
Why not check out some of the natural sweeteners and for the kids some of the sugar free sweets, chocolate and biscuits you can get now? Although for some reason taking something out, like the sugar, always seems to make it more expensive lol!
I've removed refined sugar from my diet a number of times, including when I was a teenager (I'm now middle aged). These days, our entire family has food allergies, and so restrictions are a normal part of our dietary lifestyles. Restricting the diet of kids isn't easy. The key is to be sure to replace the restricted food with something equally as satisfying.
So, specifically about removing sugar: I found it was generally a good thing to take sugar out of my diet, but it never made a dramatic difference to my health.
This is what I learned:
1) It was easy to substitute unrefined sweeteners for refined sweeteners and thus not feel deprived. I just upped my intake of fruits and used natural, unrefined sugars like sucanat as well as syrups like maple syrup, honey, brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup, etc. I did not want to use chemical sugar substitutes, some of which are neurotoxins or carcinogenic.
2) I always expected to notice a huge difference to my health, especially since I also removed refined grains and saturated fats at the same time. Oddly, it didn't seem to make a big difference to me. It took me years to acknowledge that, however - I kept trying and thinking I wasn't doing it right, somehow.
3) The failure of a sugar free diet to improve my health may be because what I was actually doing was replacing refined sweet foods with low-fat, unrefined starchy sweet foods, and the total number of net carbs increased, since (as I eventually discovered) reducing fat makes you hungrier for more carbohydrates. So as far as my body was concerned, I was eating just as much sugar - just getting some more nutrients and fewer preservatives in there.
4) One positive difference: The diet-free-of-refined-sugar effectively adjusted my taste buds. One's sensitivity to sweetness becomes sharper and therefore foods that might taste slightly bitter normally (like whole wheat) stopped tasting bitter after a while. I learned to like brown rice, beans, some of the less sweet veggies, like the leafy crucifers...basically, I developed an appreciation for subtler flavors.
5) Another positive difference: It taught me I was empowered to control my diet without feeling deprivation. This helped me break out of the suffer-for-weight-loss-then-regain-then-suffer-again cycle I had been taught. So later in life, when I tested positive for insulin resistance, I could alter my diet with ease without feeling like I was suffering.
6) Personally, after years of doing control diets, I now think it's important to assess the entire diet, not just one element of it. Depending on the reason for avoiding sugar (nutritional deficiency? Diabetes risk? Energy levels? Empty calories?) there's a good chance there are other foods hidden in the diet that are just as influential. If going off of sugar alone doesn't result in the desired outcomes, it's worth it to look deeper.
This is week five without refined sugar. I was going through a 5lb bag a month and it is just me... plus candy, etc. I thought it would be really difficult but it has been really easy. I have just adjusted what I eat and I don't buy sugar or sweets.
I'm guessing that would also mean no regular soda. Alas, I would fail...
we have not used refined sugar in the house for years. I haven't bought sugar in that many years. We also don't use substitutes except xylitol. Fresh fruit is our sugar. Occasionally when going out...there is often sugar in the food ...Most restaurants use tons of sugar, salt and fat to make the food taste good. We eat mostly at home so we can control that. I just think you feel better and you are doing something good for your body. I feel sugar is probably the worst from all that I have read.
Great efforts Paul! Most "sugar substitues" are poor choices, especially aspartame.
Look into stevia. Stevia is a natural product, with a natural sweetness. Comes in bulk and in packets. Lot's of brand choices like Truvai (my favorite), Purvia, super market generics, etc. Retired my sugar bowl and carry packets for coffee or tea on the road.
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