SHE TRIES...cutting out sugar for one week

Thursday, 11 July 2019



I’ve always been a huge sugar tooth. 

That, and the terrible fact which I’d rather just deny, that sugar is not the healthiest nutriment there is, have often made me want to lower the amount of sugar I eat. So I decided to have a test and set myself the goal to stay away from sugar for one week. 

Here’s what I learnt...






First of all, I had to set clear rules. I decided it would be a no-go for any added and processed sugar, but sugar naturally present in some foods, such as fruit, as well as honey, would be okay. Although health wise it can be discussed whether sweeteners (natural or artificial) are any better than sugar, I decided to accept them as well, and you will see why.

I started the week quite confident. It’s just seven days, right? Can’t be too hard to take out one simple thing from your diet.

In many ways, it wasn’t hard. Staying away from sweets turned out to be way easier than expected, because I had set my mind on this and because I knew it was only for a limited time. When craving sweets, I first asked myself “why?”. Is it just a habit to have sweets in a certain place or at a certain time? Am I hungry? Am I bored? Many times, I realised candy or chocolate wasn’t really what I was craving after all.

There were a few challenges though, the first one being that it’s not as easy as you would think to realise and remember everything that contains added sugar. Sometimes, there are foods that you are so used to having that you don’t even think of questioning whether they contain sugar. You really have to think through everything you put in your mouth for the first few days to get yourself used to this.

Secondly, it’s surprisingly hard to skip sugar at parties.. Any basic beverage from the bar, except if you’re having shots of pure vodka (and where’s the point in that?), contains sugar. I had anticipated this though, and as I knew I would have some events this week, I decided to make a compromise and allow myself to have sugar-free drinks, usually meaning coke zero or vodka-coke zero, when going out. Allowing myself to have these made my life way easier as I didn’t have to stick to a “boring” glass of water.


Overall, this experience was nothing groundbreaking. I did not lose 10 pounds in a week or even feel lighter. On the contrary, as I was on my period, I was more bloated than usual and the sugarfree-ness didn’t seem to change much, nor did it take away occasional cravings for sugar. Then again, one week is quite a short time. A common advice is that it takes around three weeks to break a habit. Maybe with more time, I would have found myself craving less sweets, as my head and taste buds would have gotten used to it.

Nevertheless, I didn’t want to continue this longer because I realised that I don’t need to skip sugar completely. I like to have flexibility in my diet and be able to eat what I want according to myself and the situation. This was a very good test to become more mindful of what and how I eat, as I was forced to think through my diet, and thanks to this I can make some changes as I see patterns or habits that I find harmful or useless to myself. In the end, how and what you eat doesn’t matter to anyone else, so finding and doing what feels good to you is the most important, no matter how much sugar you eat or don’t eat.

By Ellimaija Tanskanen

Ellimaija is a passionate traveller and learner from Finland. Her life has always revolved around travelling and does more so every day, and a curious soul makes her want to constantly challenge herself to new experiences academically, professionally and in life in general. Follow her journey on her blog https://ellimaija.com/ and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/savedbysunshine/


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