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I Stopped Eating Sugar And Barely Survived

Quitting sugar isn't so bad. JK it's hard!!!! But doable.

I'm Joanna and I love sugar. This is me in my natural state.

I love sugar more than I've ever loved any person or thing. When people say things like "I'm just not into sweets," I kind of want to punch them in the face. But I've heard that sugar is bad, and that makes me sad. So I decided to give up the only thing I've ever loved and go a week without eating added sugar.*

*Naturally occurring sugar from things like fruit and milk would still be allowed.

My normal diet is best described as "eating whatever." I often have the goal of eating healthy. Sometimes I'll make a dinner of roasted vegetables and fish at home. And then I'll fill a glass with Oreos and milk and eat it like cereal. The latter is I GUESS not ideal if I care about my health.

This is just one of my normal meals of beans, ham, and frozen yogurt.

How much sugar do I eat in an average week? (A lot.)

I logged everything I ate for a week so I could confront the horrible truth of how much sugar I was eating normally. I knew it would probably be a lot, and boy oh boy, it was.

On average, a woman should have no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day — about six teaspoons. A man should have no more than 38 grams of added sugar per day — about nine teaspoons.*

TO BE FAIR, I think I overdid it a little bit on the sugar this week because I knew I would be giving it up the next week. But that was dumb. On average, I ended up eating about twice the amount of sugar you're supposed to eat in one day. On a few of the days, I ate three times the recommended limit of sugar. Just typing that feels embarrassing. I'm an adult, not a child with a bag of Halloween candy. WHAT HAVE I DONE?

*According to the American Heart Association.

Some nutrition advice from an expert:

Before I gave up sugar, I spoke with nutritionist Abby Langer to get some advice. One time I tried to quit sugar cold turkey with no planning whatsoever, and I felt like I was going to die from the withdrawal. Langer's advice: Don't quit cold turkey.

She said the best thing to do is try to train your body to expect less sweet. "We're just addicted to sweet," Langer said.

Tips for weaning yourself off of sugar:

* Avoid artificial sweeteners and using other sweeteners like honey and agave so you can get used to not tasting as much sweetness.

* Get enough sleep. You crave sugar more when you're tired.

* Don't cut all carbohydrates from your diet. (That's just making it really hard on yourself.)

* Get 20 grams of protein with each meal. And eat snacks with protein.

Langer also doesn't recommend weaning yourself totally off of sugar. "If you really want something, have it," Langer said. "Just not too much."

I realized my survival in quitting sugar would rely on preparing food ahead of time. (Which is annoying and terrible, but crucial.) Langer gave me some snack recommendations (below). I also expected to be shoving fruit into my face nonstop to try to quell my sugar cravings, but Langer said to limit fruit to two to three servings per day.

Nutritionist-recommended snacks

* Frozen red grapes (no more than 1/2 cup)

* Mixed nuts (salted OK)

* Rye crisps with avocado and hard-boiled egg

* Cheese and crackers (good quality cheese is important)

* Medjool dates

* Fresh figs with goat cheese or prosciutto

Snack Prep: The Only Way to Survive

Check out this photo of "ice cream" lol.

Disclaimer: The meals you'll see below aren't always perfect examples of completely healthy meals. They're just the things I ended up eating in an attempt to avoid added sugar.

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Breakfast

Snack: Radishes

Breakfast: This again

Lunch:

Breakfast

Lunch

I walked past this cake display and felt like a part of me was dead.

Breakfast

EVEN THIS CEREAL HAD ADDED SUGAR.

I settled for this sugar-free cereal with a creepy boy on the box.

Shhh, don't speak.

Join me for a bowl of creamy hot wheat cereal.

I put strawberries, almonds, and cacao nibs on my creamy wheat cereal and tried to pretend it was froyo. :(

"LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!" is what I wanted to scream at this ice cream shop sign.

My first meal after a week of no sugar was this cake.