8 In health/ nutrition/ who am I

The unexpected benefits of a sugar free life

I cannot even remember now when I first gave up sugar. It was probably 3 years ago already. I do eat some of it now on holidays and on special occasions but in general I consider myself to be sugar-free.  I have written tons about it, a quick summary of why I’ve chosen to stay away from sugar is in this post.

My main goal was to get my blood sugar levels under control so I could run without the fear of having an hypoglycaemic episode (mostly dizziness & cold sweat). They are mild for me but still mean that I either have to stop or sit down for a good 10-15 minutes until they pass. It’s stressful planning for races and thinking that it could happen during a race.

I can say that cutting out most sugar from my life has taken care of that problem 100%.

My other goal, or maybe just a wish, was that less sugar would mean clearer skin.  That did not happen but after years of experimenting, I finally found a solution that works for me, for now.

Usually when sugar-free life is promoted, the benefits listed are weight loss (didn’t happen for me), more energy and clear skin.  Giving up sugar has given me more energy but also a few other benefits that I wasn’t thinking about at all:

  1. I no longer want to fall asleep in afternoon meetings.
    That is an amazing benefit. 2 hour meetings after lunch used to be the worst, I used to have to pinch myself or dig my fingernails into my hands in order to stay awake (even in meetings that were not mind-numbingly boring :).  Stable blood sugar levels mean happy running AND no post-lunch slump.
  2. I feel lighter and more powerful when exercising.
    Sugar slows down my engine so much – it makes me feel slow and sluggish. I do not enjoy that feeling at all.
  3. I do not get colds.
    Seriously. I haven’t had a serious cold since I quit sugar. A runny nose or a sore-ish throat once in a while but that’s where it ends. I’ve read that sugar messes with your immune system, I don’t know the exact science behind it but somehow I do not get sick when I don’t eat sugar.
  4. I no longer get cold sores.
    Amazing! I used to get cold sores almost non stop in the winter but haven’t had one for a couple of years. I guess that’s also to do with the immune system.
  5. I have no cravings.
    My mind is free – I don’t think about eating cake, I don’t try to justify having just a little bit of cake, I’m just free from the Control of the Cake 🙂 (and if I want to have a slice for a birthday, I will, but then I go straight back to my old ways the next day and thoughts about cake are history)

I always had a sweet tooth and I think I always will but I’ve found so many other sweet treats to have that do not involve sugar* that I do not ever think that I’m missing out on something. Going sugarless for most of the year has done so many good things for my body and mind that I will not ever contemplate giving up this lifestyle.

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are – are you sugar-free, are you trying to be sugar-free, are you finding it tough? 

* My definition of ‘sugar’ is refined sugar – I eat dried fruit, dates, stevia, xylitol and sometimes honey and maple syrup.

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Anna @AnnaTheApple
    January 21, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Great to hear it’s been such a positive thing for you in many different ways 🙂
    I try to avoid sugar as much as possible in terms of things containing “added sugar” and make most of my own meals so can control things there but I could never give up cake for a long period of time, or chocolate. For me it’s a balance. I know that a big slab of cake is going to make my soul feel good but not necessarily fuel me well for the rest of the day but that’s the choice I’m happy to make sometimes. Thankfully I have no serious issues other than just feeling that post-sugar crash.

    • Reply
      MrsB
      January 22, 2015 at 10:51 am

      I know what you mean about a slice of cake being good for your soul 🙂 I think once in a while it’s totally ok and totally necessary.

  • Reply
    Lauren (@PoweredbyPB)
    January 21, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I cut refined sugar out probably about 5 years ago when I became Vegan, not as a conscious decision but just something that naturally disappeared from my diet. I prefer natural stuff like dried fruit, fruit and sometimes a little bit of maply syrup or coconut sugar in recipes.

    • Reply
      MrsB
      January 22, 2015 at 10:53 am

      I love the idea of veganism but I think I like bacon too much to give it a go 🙂 I hardly ever eat red meat though and try to stick to chicken, pork and fish. And eggs. I eat a lot of eggs.

      Do vegans in general not eat sugar or is it just something that happened for you as you switched to a different way of eating?

      • Reply
        Lauren (@PoweredbyPB)
        January 22, 2015 at 8:32 pm

        No you definitely get a lot of junk food vegans too 😛 I just happened to turn to the more whole food plant based side of it.

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