And here I thought I wasn’t addicted.
How much sugar did I consume per day? Honestly, not much except for a small slice of black forest cake with a cup of camomile tea around 3 pm. It’s the only form of gratification through sugar I sought almost every day and besides that, my diet was pretty wholesome.
I am not a fan of sweets, chocolates, ice cream or any other sugary treats so these were never a part of my diet, anyways.
But Google Told Me Otherwise
On a lazy afternoon, I read an article about how sugar, even a small quantity is addictive for the brain and body and a troublesome thought popped into my head. Could I BE addicted to sugar? Naaahhh…having just one slink of cake per day doesn’t qualify me as an addict…no way! And if it came down to it, I can always easily quit! Let me remind you: my diet was super clean otherwise and I didn’t CRAVE sugar. I had it because I liked it, that’s all.
But still, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and give up sugar (my one slice of cake) for 15 days. My first thought: It will be super easy (duh!)! Also read: This Is The Best Time To Try A Sugar Detox: Here’s Why
I Jumped Into The Deep End
The plan was simple: no more cake and tea for me for 15 days. But I added an extra element and quit consuming fruits as well. Because in my mind, if I needed to discontinue cold turkey, then eliminating fruits was essential because all fruit contains some natural sugar. Very rich fruits, including mangoes and watermelons, have relatively high sugar content and love both!
The first 2 days were easy. Except for an occasional yearning for my 3 pm snack, I didn’t yearn sugar too much. But then something shifted within me on the fourth day and my craving became super intense. Post lunch, I desperately longed for anything sweet, which was extremely weird for me and the desire was so strong that my mouth would feel dry and my hands, shaky.
Then It Got Worse
After around 5 days, I started getting afternoon headaches ( around 2-3 pm) and they would last all evening. Soon, they transformed into painful migraines and I had to resort to taking one ibuprofen daily to help me deal with pain. That was not the worst. My evening migraine was also accompanied with a slight fever and I felt unwell, shaky and exhausted. It was horrible! On top of that, I felt sad, angry and weepy. I would cry at the drop of a hat and ability to focus was that of a toddler. In the beginning, I was worried. This all cant be because of sugar right? That too a tiny piece? As it turns out, withdrawal symptoms from sugar are severe and extremely comfortable.
But It Got Better
But then after around 10 days, the fog lifted, I began to feel better ( yes, it took 10 days!!) and my migraines ceased. My intense craving weaned and I felt emotionally well-balanced. My ability to focus improved and I felt calmer and more centred. The best part? I lost 2 kilos without doing anything special physically. Also read: 5 Rules of Eating You Should Follow During Lockdown
It’s Not About The Quantity
My 15 days journey was pure hell! I hated every minute of it which made me aware of one unsettling fact: I was indeed addicted to sugar. Yes, I may justify by saying that I was consuming just a small piece of cake every day but as I learned in those painful15 days, it was more than enough to get body and brain depended on it. Yes, my friend, sugar is not our friend. Also read: Can You Eat Fruit On A Sugar-Free Diet?
I have given up my 3 pm habit of tea and cake because I simply cannot allow my body to get depended upon this assuringly harmless habit. If I have learned anything in the past 15 days, that its anything but harmless. The fact is that any form of concentrated sugar in our brain and affects the prize centre, which leads to obsessive-compulsive behaviour, despite the negative outcomes like weight gain, headaches, hormone imbalances, and more. Every time we eat sweets, we are strengthening those neuropathways, causing the brain to become frequently hardwired to covet sugar, raising a tolerance like any other drug. Also read: This Is How Sugar Affects Your Sleep
As For You
If you planning to quit sugar, do it cold turkey because there’s no other way. Weaning off will not work because your brain will always convince you to ‘have just a little bit more’. Its an addiction, after all. Quit cold turkey but be prepared for your body and mind to revolt as it will not be an easy journey for the first 10 days. But stay strong, drink lots of water and stay away from any kind of temptation.
Trust me, you will feel like quitting many times but if you manage to persevere, not only will feel a deep of pride but you will notice many positive changes in your emotional and physical health.
As for me, now I indulge in a slice of favourite black forest cake for special occasions. On other days, I am happy with the price of fruits instead.