No Sugar Challenge: Part II

April 23, 2018   8 Comments

Last month, I wrote about my No Sugar Challenge and I got a bunch of questions and responses.

No Sugar Challenge 2

Going without added sugar for a period of time is clearly on many people’s minds. I went off sugar for three weeks under the guidance of a registered dietitian and I had a very positive experience.

First big question: Did you stop artificial sweeteners for the challenge?

I did not use artificial sweeteners for three weeks. This was easy for me because I don’t like them very much. Artificial sweeteners and natural forms such as stevia, make foods really sweet. My hope was that the natural sugars in fruits and vegetables would taste more sweet to me without any added sugar or sweeteners.

The good news is that tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, ripe bananas, and blueberries are all tasting sweeter to me now that I cut back.

Did you lose any weight?

I did not move the scale and I am not sure why that is. I did find that my pants fit a bit better in my waist so that was good. Perhaps I still ate as many calories as when I was eating sugar and so I didn’t lose any pounds. My goal was not to restrict the amount I was eating – simply to change what I was eating.

I can’t live without beer!

Yes, I hear you. I think all of us are attached to certain foods for many reasons and giving them up seems crazy. I fought beer and she gave me 4 ounces of red wine per day. I did the challenge for three weeks and found that I could live without beer. Did I love living without it? No, but I can do it.

This is not the rest of your life! I drink a Corona Light now and then to keep my added sugar down and occasionally have more calorific beer.

How much sugar did you have in your bread and what low sugar breads did you eat?

The low sugar bread thing was hard! Sugar is added to bread to jumpstart the fermentation process so I believe all breads have added sugar. I found some with only 1 gram of added sugar and I stuck to them. My favorite is Silver Hills Bakery Squirrelly and is fluffier than most of the sprouted breads that I have tried – see the above photo.

Check out my post: bread with no added sugar.

Did my cholesterol level go down?

This challenge was prompted by a high cholesterol level found in my blood at my routine yearly physical. Side note: if you haven't had a physical in a while there is no time like NOW! I hate cliches but - "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" - or something like that.

My doctor asked me to see a registered dietitian nutritionist and I took her up on the offer. Unfortunately, it takes more than 3 weeks to see the effect of a change in diet on cholesterol levels so I did not see a lower number in my subsequent blood test. They said it would take about 6 months of eating healthier to see a lower number.

Did you know that three out of four diabetics die from heart attack or stroke – not diabetes? Excess sugar damages the artery wall lining and leads to an increase risk of heart attack over time.

If I really want to decrease my risk for heart disease, I need to cut back on sugar.

Do I need to cut back? I don’t eat a lot of sugar.

You know, I didn’t think I ate a lot of sugar, either. I write this website and I spend much of my time contemplating a healthy diet and lifestyle. I was not at risk for diabetes but my RD told me that most of us still eat too much sugar.

She explained how hard it is to be healthy with our current affluent lifestyle and she compared me with a goat herder. My lifestyle is sedentary, filled with rich food, and packed with far more treats than a goat herder in Sicily. I know it seems like a silly comparison but I believe we are descendants of goat herders and our bodies demand action, vegetables, and not a lot of rich foods.

It is a serious challenge to buck the culture and eat only whole grains, no added sugar, and lean meats.

After the challenge, what are you supposed to do?

My RD wants me to eat in a healthy way 80% of the time. The other 20%, I can have my sugar, beer, and cheese. I am finding it very difficult to keep to 80% because of things like my daughter’s birthday party, going out to eat, and the general fun of enjoying delicious food. I am a work in progress and am contemplating another 3 weeks as a reset. This shift is harder than I thought. There are so many temptations!!

If you want to read about all the rules of my initial no sugar challenge check out: No Sugar Challenge

Have you tried a no sugar challenge? How did it go?

Other posts you might like:

No Sugar Challenge

No Sugar Challenge

This No Sugar Challenge is brought to you by my high cholesterol numbers in January......

Bread Without Sugar: What are the Best Brands?

Bread Without Sugar: What are the Best Brands?

Do you know how hard it is to find bread with no added sugar? Recently, I went off of sugar for three weeks and I had to search!....

Get Free Email Updates! Yes please!


good for you and your challenge to be sugar free.

I have eliminated most sugar in my meals since January.

I have cut down on my bread servings to an ole xtreme high fiber tortilla 1x a week.

As you said....fruits/veggies with naturally occurring sugars do taste better....there are some that unfortunately, do needed added pure pumpkin. I can make a crustless pumpkin pie....but it needs some sort of sweetener in it.

We all have to decide which is more important...the temporary happiness of eating something....or spending time in doctor's offices, testing our blood sugar levels, going to the pharmacy to pick up meds etc.

When people say - I HAVE to have a sweet with my tea/coffee at night....I you don't have to...its just a habit.

Thank you for your updated report on no added sugar. Being diabetic I do have to record and keep track of both the sugar and carbs (which converts to sugar. I do not add sugar products to my teas, hot or cold. I will only eat Intense dark 86% cacao chocolate, which has 5g sugar per 1/2 bar ( I only have 1 square a day, if that.) What is hard is when we eat out. I do have to watch fruits, because some contain more sugar than other, but it is natural. Most "sugar free" items don't agree with me.Again congratulations

Yes, it is a "only" habit but habits are hard to break. Read about the extinction burst at

What about grits? No added salt, sugar or butter, but I find a 100 calorie pack with an egg helps keep me full.

I have been trying to do this since your first post about it. I did not give up the sugar substitutes though. I know I need to though.

Congratulations on raising your sweetness detector! I found over the years that store-bought bakery products became intolerable, also sodas, certain ice creams, etc. It happened during the child-rearing years. Consequently I have two adult kids who now preach to me about sugar. I find I waver between no sugary foods to slight addictions, then back to none again. I get a nightly longing for a sweet reward and once started will become stronger the next night. When substituted with apple slices or fresh berries, it lessens. I am aware of this yo-yo sugar addiction so I feel it can be controlled. One thing is certain, if I eat very very healthy all day [Dr Greger's daily 12] I have no craving at night whatsoever.

Wanting alcohol of any kind, for me, is occasional and desired when socializing or celebrating. I often have a spritzer and feel just as festive. Living in the land of plenty is filled with so many temptations. It ain't easy Lisa, but I'm rooting for you!


I have found that the less sugar I eat the less cravings I have and keeping the weight of is less of a battle. It is very hard though.

But regarding beer, have you tried kombucha? I like the kind with no added artificial or real sweeteners. That type has very low carbs. Not all prefer the taste but I like it and I like the probiotic factor as well. Thanks for your sharing.

I did not move the scale and I am not sure why that is. I did find that my pants fit a bit better in my waist so that was good.

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