Despite the bad publicity it gets, dropping it altogether is not a good idea. Moreover, according to experts, restricting it to the maximum can be more harmful than beneficial in certain cases.
We’ve all heard at one time or another how bad sugar is and how we should reduce our daily dose.
Sucrose is linked to obesity, being overweight and increased chances of type 2 diabetes.
Driven by these appalling figures, Radhika Sanghan,
wanted to test himself and make his life healthier. Or so she thought. For more than two months he stopped consuming sugar and that’s how he lived it.
I’ve been off sugar for a month now and I feel terrible.
I’ve gone from being the person who has at least one dessert a day to being completely and utterly sugar free.
The only thing I want to shout is “Chocolate!”
The truth is that I have always eaten relatively well. My intake consists of carbohydrates, protein, good fats (avocado and nuts) and lots of fruit and vegetables. I exercise and have always been at an appropriate weight so I never felt the need to diet. Until now.
The constant news of how bad sugar is got to me. There are statistics that say that its consumption is at its highest level in history.
I think I’m a person who, like the average person, consumes at least 15 teaspoons of sugar a day. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating only 6.
To give you an idea of the problem, a single can of soda contains up to 9 tablespoons of sugar.
With these facts in my head and the fear of destroying my own health I decide to go to the internet.
There, celebrities, experts and nutritionists talk about the need to stop taking sugar. The goodness of eradicating this ingredient is preached by Hollywood stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, writers like Sarah Wilson or ordinary people on their Instagram accounts.
The message is clear: don’t cut back on sugar, cut it out completely.
So I decide to carry out this challenge.
The first 15 days I have mood swings worse than a teenager. Endless headaches like a massive hangover. I cry every day after the nutrients from lunch have left my body. I yell at people.
There is only one thing that calms me. The sweet taste of a banana, but just knowing that Gwyneth would never allow herself the slightest contact with fructose fills me with guilt.
After three weeks the headaches disappear. I feel halfway normal again and when someone offers me a piece of cake or some other sweet I don’t mind saying no. I’m not afraid to say no.
I ask myself, “Am I over it?”.
No, at 11 o’clock at night I find myself desperately looking for some little Easter eggs that I know are somewhere in the kitchen cupboard.
I used to not worry about food but now the weekly grocery shopping takes me twice as long to consider what I can and can’t eat. I don’t enjoy birthdays and I’m left sipping on a glass of water while everyone else drinks wine.
Two months in this dynamic, and my colleagues and friends agree on one thing: my obsession had gone too far.
I decide to go to an expert. Dr. Hisham Ziauddeen, a researcher at Cambridge University, does not understand the reasons that led me to conduct this experiment.
A question makes me realize my basic error:
“Who says you have to give up sugar completely?”
That’s where I realize that there is no scientific study that makes such a recommendation. It was the advice of celebrities and people on the internet that led me to do it.
The doctor explains to me that many of these pseudo-nutritionists are not.
Ziauddeen acknowledges the benefits of reducing sugar intake in terms of dental health and weight loss , but his conclusion is clear.
“Quitting altogether seems more like a cult.”
This whole “clean eating” movement doesn’t just involve sugar. Sometimes it also completely eliminates food groups: lactose, cereals, meat, etc…
The expert reminds that leaving it for no apparent reason (allergies, for example) can be more harmful than beneficial.
I am currently following Dr. Ziauddeen’s advice, which is no more and no less than my 6th grade teacher’s advice: eat a balanced diet.