How to Quit Sugar in 30 Days

January 2, 2018   32 Comments

The title here is a little disingenuous because I am not suggesting that you give up all sugar.

How to Quit Sugar in 30 Days

You don’t have to buy a book or take a special course (or even think about it all that hard). Just be reasonable!

For example, I believe that fruit should be consumed even though it has natural sugar. Most of us aren’t having a problem with sugar because we eat too much fruit.

The anti-sugar extremists would stop you from ketchup, a little sugar in your coffee, or raisins. I think that you can eliminate foods around you that are packed with sugar, cut your sugar consumption way down, and then approach this addictive substance with a new outlook.

Here is a great list of what to drop out of your diet for 30 days for cutting down on sugar:

  • No cookies or candy
  • No cakes or donuts
  • No ice cream
  • No chocolate
  • No white breads
  • No soda or juice or sugary coffee drinks

If you are going for a big health overhaul in addition to cutting down on sugar – add:

  • No chips
  • No fried food
  • No fast food

Everyone may have additions to this list based on what they eat. I added “sugary coffee drinks” because that is my personal Everest.

Some of you may still be eating Cocoa Puffs and need to add NO SUGARY CEREALS but I think most of us agree that it is the overconsumption of the above foods that make us feel momentarily amazing and then crappy later.

I recently rewatched the movie Super Size Me starring Morgan Spulock. If you haven’t seen it – Morgan attempts to eat only McDonald’s food for 30 days. You can get it at the library or rent it on Amazon. One of the results of his diet is that Morgan feels really good right after he eats a meal.

From Morgan:

About seven days in, I started to notice this pressure on my chest, and by day nine I was getting incredibly depressed," he remembers. He had become addicted, he maintains. "I would eat the food and feel fantastic for about an hour. Then I'd feel depressed again.

I totally know what he is talking about. The last time I had a Big Mac and fries, I had this warm feeling of happiness and then I had a stomachache. It is SO weird.

January is a good time to reboot. If you attempt this list (or part of this list), you will notice a lessening of the craving for the less healthy stuff and the rest of the months of the year might be a little easier on the waistline.

Have you attempted any 30 day challenges? What has worked for you? Please share.

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This may gross some people out, but when I am craving ice cream I just drink a spoonful or 2 (okay always 2) of heavy cream. So rich and creamy and delicious, and no sugar. Fat is okay now, right?? :)

I have not had any added sugar since May of last year. Once you set your mind that this is happening it is not very hard. I feel better for it. Hope I can continue on this way.

Read the "Zero Sugar Diet" a few days ago, and it made a lot of sense. Very informative. I've cut out processed/packaged foods and other foods loaded with sugar and feel tremendously better (physically and mentally). I do eat fruit (mainly berries) in addition to foods with a lot of protein and fiber.

Can you drink diet pepsi?

Drinking artificial sweetness is just a whole other problem!

@Peggy - this is an excellent question. Diet Pepsi has no sugar - so when you are cutting sugar - it should be okay - BUT the idea here is to reset your taste buds and body to want less sugar. Does artificial sweetener make you crave sugar? I don't know. But what I do know is that Diet Pepsi is very sweet and a strawberry (for example) tastes sour in comparison.

So, if you want to taste how sweet a strawberry is on its own - cutting back on artificial sweeteners will help.

I would cut back on Diet Pepsi if I was trying to cut sugar.

Having lost 30 lbs following the Weight Watchers Smart Points program, I am aware of the ridiculous sugar amounts in most foods. I do eat a good amount of fruit but with that comes vitamins, nutrients and fiber. I did indulge a bit during the holidays and felt awful. It would be very easy to go back to my old sugar addiction, but I am not going there! Back on track this week, off to the gym now!

Every year the first Monday in January, my family does 3 week 'Daniel Fast' with our church, which is closely related to a vegan style of eating. It's a great way to restart your system after the holidays of eating sweets and indulging more than usual.

Is fruit okay? I know it has sugar but it's in there naturally. I am trying to find alternatives and this to me seemed like the way to go but again they ALL have sugar, just not pressed sugar.

Thank you for always taking a sensible approach to nutrition modification. For those wanting a frozen dessert that manages to be creamy & reasonably satisfying, despite being lactose-free, low glycemic index, vegetarian, gluten-free, non-GMO, Kosher, AND low WW SmartPoints, I recommend the 35-calories-per-serving Artic Zero frozen desserts. Some flavors taste better than others, but they're a decent compromise for sugary frozen treats.

Being diabetic I do watch the sugar count; also the sugar substitute (i.e. diet soda, Splenda etc) increases your graving for sugar. If you want chocolate, eat dark the darker the better-less sugar. There is a difference between natural sugar and added sugar.

I can attest to ridding oneself of sugar cravings by adhering to your list. In fact, what has worked for me and my family is pretty close to your ''no'' list as a natural default food plan. Years ago I switched to coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, honey and pure leaf stevia for my sweetening needs. My family's sweetness meter was lower than most to begin with so eliminating the white stuff was barely noticeable. Our go-to desserts were and still are centered around fruit; pies, cobblers, tarts, etc. I have one chocolate cake I make for birthdays, a not-so-sweet cake with a ganache pudding-like icing, its small as are our servings. I use 1 tsp c.p. sugar each day in my coffee. Christmastime and a few other occasions will include traditional cookies -- but there's no steady stream of sweets. I've created a high-fiber, no added sugar breakfast muffin. For a rare soda treat I keep Zevia Brand around, no calories. Our beverages are teas and juice flavored waters. By staying aware of food addictions I've managed to create healthy eating habits for us all . Except one. Bread. We have a weakness for good artisan bread. I can't imagine life without a big chunk of crusty bread under, over, on the side of, or dipped into a hearty stew. With or without butter, toasted or panini'd in a gazillion ways. Luckily since none of us are over weight or diabetic, I feel its not a health concern. Am I alone? Is it really a problem if I can't go 30 days without bread ?

I did the no added sugar for the summer. Since fruits and vegetables are plentiful giving up added sugar was not hard. After the summer was over I started to eat added sugar, I even had a soda, which I could not finish. The biggest change I had from going without added sugar for a summer was that my taste buds changed and I was able to have a small sugar treat and was totally satisfied. When you get started you will be amazed how much added sugar is added into packaged food. This Christmas I had some cookies and candies around the house but I was able to control my sugar binges, something I have not been able to do in the past.

Is stevia considered a sugar. I believe it is all natural.


bread is YOUR Everest! i hate to applaud eating it; especially if it’s bleached-no nutrient-white flour bread,

but just check the sugar info. bet it has some. bravo to the healthy eating!

Any comments on honey? A year ago, I had pneumonia and lost my taste for coffee. I switched to tea as my hot drink of choice and discovered that I prefer honey over sugar to sweeten it. I also stopped eating sugared yogurts and switched to plain - now the sugared varieties taste awful to me. I love the plain because I can add whatever I like - frozen berries and a little granola makes a wonderful breakfast!

Barb, do you make the bread yourself? If you do and you are using some hearty flour in it, I think you can eat it. We make our own bread and I don't feel after eating it the way I do after eating store bought bread. But my bread doesn't have any sugar in it, just flour (usually a combination of whole wheat and unbleached bread flour), salt, yeast and water. The only bread I buy is really lovely sourdough that a local bakery makes. I know the people who make it and what they put in.

Barb, would you be willing to share your muffin recipe? I would really love to find a muffin recipe for a once a week or less treat. Thanks!

Stevia, if you get the right kind, is a great alternative to sugar and has added health benefits as well. Diet soda may save you from the sugar but sometimes the sweetener used is just as bad (aspartame as an example). I found that changing from sugar to honey was fairly easy in terms of everything except baking. I'm just not good at changing a baked goods recipe to no sugar....there is a volume of sugar that is hard to replace with honey which adds liquid to a recipe and/or stevia powder which is so much stronger than sugar.

@ssssgirl, yes it is but moreso my achilles heel because I don't even try to curb my love for good crusty bread.! I do try for a good sour dough first. I've improved a lot since I wrote that comment a year ago. My new daily bread is Ezekial sprouted sesame. Sour dough made locally is still a monthly treat. Dipped in rich olive oil, with kalamata olives, hot peppers and pickles ... OMGosh what a smashing spur of the moment lunch!

@Anne, yes, totally agree on no added sugar. I too am in love with locally made sour dough from all the wonderful bakeries popping up in small nearby towns! It's impossible to resist good bread!

Thanks Lisa for the list to remind us to kick sugar, it lurks everywhere!



1 ½ Cup Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain, High Fiber Cereal , 45g fiber

1 1/2 cup ap flour
½ Cup Pure Honey
1 Egg
½ Cup milk, [or 1/2c alm milk]
1 Banana, mashed , 3g fiber
1/2c app sauce 2g fiber
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
½ Tsp Baking Soda
½ Tsp Vanilla
1/2c ch.walnuts [4g fiber]
1/2c raisins [4.8g fiber]

Add all of the wet ingredients together in one bowl. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix until just blended. Add in the nuts/raisins and stir until they are evenly distributed. Line a muffin pan with a light layer of coconut oil. Spoon the mix into the pan (I increase fiber by poking frozen blueberries or chopped apple or pear into the filling once in the muffin cups) and bake them at 400° for 18-22 minutes.

Cool 10 mins. May be individually wrapped and frozen once cooled completely. A short zap in the microwave and they’re like fresh baked!

I would be happy if I can eliminate 1 on the list you mentioned! I must be addicted to sugar, because Every single morning I crave something with my coffee (1 cookie or 1 muffin) but unfortunately its Every day! I can't seem to come up with a substitute that would satisfy my craving!!! Help!!!

@patti - Do you like Medjool dates? The reason why I ask is that they are a great substitute for a cookie if you like them. They are super sweet but have fiber and nutrients. Just a thought. Hang in there! Rome was not built in a day.

Thanks for the dates idea - I do "like" dates!!! Great idea, I truly appreciate it! Have a nice day!

Thanks, Barb. Can't wait to try! I agree Snack girl Medjool dates are my answer to chocolate. I have one sometimes two 😜 If it has been a bad day each evening and I am fine. Love them!

If you are diabetic as we are, this is how we live. No sugar or low sugar. There are some foods that we can have because they are low sugar. Artificial sweeteners do not cause sugar cravings. I use them when called for. In fact, I have an aversion to anything sugar. I cannot walk down the candy aisle of a store without feeling ill because of the odor of sugar. There are sugars in several foods. Take carrots or corn for instance. There are a lot of carbs but most of them are fiber when it comes to veggies. So, it pays to read labels. Check out the ADA site for some great recipes and how to manage your blood sugar. If you are not diabetic now, this is a good time to monitor your blood sugar and your diet. However, diabetes has several triggers that are not related to food, genetics for instance and environment. Management of food still helps.

I'm inspired to hear that all of you are so comittec to the ' no sugar' idea. I could live the rest of my life without bread or potatoes, however... Chocolate is my 'Everest'! Cannot imagine my life without it. Every year I try whole heartedly to give it up and make it for about two weeks. Then I realize I'm close to murdering someone and I start again. I am a slave to it. I dont smoke, drink alcohol or take any prescription medication. Chocolate IS my stress reliever!! I would take suggestions on something to replace it but lets be honest... Is there anything better than chocolate??

To CWellmaker, In my opinion, giving chocolate up altogether would only make you want it more. Try just to cut back and dark chocolate is an alternative. Russell makes some really good sugar free chocolates, however, certain sugar subs in candy may cause digestive upset so moderation is called for.

To BarbL, Although your recipe looks delicious, raisins, honey, milk or almond milk, applesauce and bananas have a lot of sugar. The more ripe the banana, the more sugar. Even a few raisins will raise my blood sugar very high. They are the worst. Instead of raisins, consider cranberries or other berries. Berries in general are much lower in sugar. Then there are the carbs in the Bob's Red Mill. This may be high fiber but it is also high sugar. You can buy low sugar milk and I recommend sucralose and unsweetened applesauce. My doctor has indicated that apples are high in calories so I buy Granny Smith and they are better in that respect.

To Sherrie, The best low cal fruit I have found are berries. The Internet has nutritional information on all fruits if you are interested.

Just Google the type of fruit. Raspberries have the least amount of sugar. We sometimes have Granny Smith apples but apples are high in calories but high in fiber.

To Sue E: Honey is pure sugar with very little nutritional value. I would not use it. You may want to try Agave syrup. It has a lower glycemic load. The glycemic index indicates how slowly a food enters the blood stream. It is better to have a high carb food enter the blood stream slowly to avoid sugar spikes and then a possible sugar crash. I use a small amount of it once in a while in my cooking and have not had a bad response with my blood sugar. So, agave has a glycemic index of about 17 and honey about 60 to 75, sugar about 58 to 60. Clearly agave wins out. I think the flavor is just as good.

Beverages can be part of a balanced lifestyle – there are lots of choices that have little to no sugar or some that are in smaller packages.

America’s beverage companies agree that it’s important for Americans to be mindful of their sugar intake. We've been broadening beverage choices dramatically through innovations like lower calorie sodas, teas, sports drinks, flavored waters, enhanced waters and premium waters. We've developed mid-calorie versions of longtime favorites; we created mini-cans. The beverage aisle looks much different today than just 10 years ago. We are committed to being part of real solutions to public health challenges with initiatives like Balance Calories - an initiative to reduce the calories Americans consume from beverages nationally by 20 percent by 2025.

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