There is hardly a foodstuff that does not contain sugar. A maximum of 25 grams of sugar (6 teaspoons) is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO ) per day. On average every German eats 4 times the amount. Sugar has no added value for the body, it only supplies calories that are converted into fat in the long term. But sugar is cheap and the taste buds are crazy about it. Well.
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The good news is that you can virtually retrain your taste buds with “sugar detox”! Then the desire for sweets will decrease and your body will be satisfied with much less sugar. Try it out with our help!
Live sugar-free: The 4-week challenge
Our colleague Britt from the brand management department would like to reduce your sugar consumption and has therefore given up sugar for a month. We will tell you here how she fared during this time and how you, too, manage to free yourself from sugar addiction. Plus: Which physical changes accompanied the sugar withdrawal.
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Week 1 sugar free: Sugar lurks here in everyday life
“Week one is tough. Because when you know you can’t eat sweets, that’s all you think about. I’m not the kind of guy who eats a chocolate bar every day. But the ban makes chocolate as tempting as Ryan Gosling. That I need to change my coffee habits too? Bummer. Instead of latte macchiato with soy milk, which is usually sweetened, you get tea or filter coffee straight. Neither of these are enjoyable alternatives for me. If that’s how the day starts – hallelujah.”
Can she resist? Sure, and with our tips you can do it too!
“At the supermarket, I study packaging, mostly: Where is how much sugar is in it? Actually, almost everything contains sugar. In the morning I eat 250 grams of low-fat curd cheese, and on weekends I sometimes eat eggs in all varieties. I can’t say that this takes away my hunger for snacks. But maybe it’s not real hunger, but just a prank on my subconscious. Now I always cook lunch in advance and take it with me to the office, only then is it guaranteed sugar-free. Sociable is not good.”
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Week 2 sugar-free: giving up sugar is stressful
“The coming weekend will be a challenge: My boyfriend and I are going to the sea. Of course I don’t want to take any Tupperware cans there, and we want to have a good time. But eating out is one of those things: Salad with goat’s cheese, for example, is actually okay – only mostly the cheese is caramelized (bad!), or a truckload of balsamic cream containing sugar has been poured over it (bad, bad!). In the restaurant I have a thousand extra wishes and notice how the waiters roll their eyes”.
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“But I can tell from myself: nothing. I do not feel better or more vital. Just more stressed. Also because I constantly have to be careful not to offend others. “How can I teach my aunt that I can’t eat her cookies, but rather eat nuts?”
Week 3 sugar-free: The desire for sweets slowly fades
“Now the fruit is also sorted into good and bad – and a lot of what I love is a fructose bomb. Grapes, for example. And dried fruit – way too much sugar.”
The desire for sweets is now slowly fading. © Farknot Architect / Shutterstock.com
“But: My awareness of what contains a lot of sugar has now been trained. Or did you know that a small homemade smoothie often contains more sugar than you should eat a day?
I’m also looking beyond the end of my nose these weeks: turnip, parsley root & Co. never landed in my cooking pot before, but half a kilo of vegetables a day must come together as varied as possible. And the craving for candy is gone!”
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Conclusion after 4 weeks without sugar
Physically, Britt didn’t feel as many changes as she thought she would, but the numbers show something else: something has changed:
- Body fat percentage
Before 23.9 After 21.6
- (Good) HDL -cholesterol in mg/dl
Before 65 After 75
- Triglycerides (BlutfettwerteI ) in mg/dl
Before 57 After 41
In other words: Everything has been improved enormously!
Britt at the medical check-up: Did the project improve your blood values?
“Not only have my blood lipid levels improved greatly as a result of the sugar renunciation. My body fat percentage has also decreased and the HDL -values have increased. My eating and shopping habits have changed unconsciously: I think twice before I eat chocolate and check how much sugar is in each one. So my mind has really changed.”
10 tips for eating less sugar
To reduce sugar consumption, our expert Dr. Matthias Riedl, nutritionist, diabetologist and head of the medical care centre Medicum Hamburg …a 10-point plan for Britt: Every other day, Britt had to make the next of these 10 changes in her eating habits. With these clever tips you too can defeat sugar cravings!
1. omit or replace sweets
Sometimes it just comes, the jieper. Then switch to dark chocolate (> 80 percent cocoa content) for chocolate, fruit sorbet for ice cream and a small portion for cookies or cakes. Around 20 grams per day is okay. If you save for a day or a whole week, you can also treat yourself to a large portion.
2. eat protein rich(er)!
Protein-rich foods, such as eggs, keep you full for a long time. © Foxys_Forest_Manufacture / Shutterstock.com
Per kilogram of body weight 1.2 grams of protein should be eaten. For Britt this is 24 grams per meal. This means she is full longer and gets less hungry in between meals. Between-meal snacks are therefore quickly a thing of the past. Protein bombs are for example poultry, eggs, legumes, tofu or dairy products.
3. eliminate visible sugar
Sugar in the coffee, icing sugar on the raisin snail. Wherever you see it directly, choose an alternative immediately. If you like it sweet, use birch sugar (xylitol) or stevia.
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4. check the lists of ingredients
In the case of ready-made products, you can see which foods contain a lot of sugar via the list of ingredients and the nutritional values.
5. eat full with vegetables
Vegetables contain little fructose and are therefore always allowed. © bitt24 / Shutterstock.com
The calorie density in vegetables is very low due to the high water content. At the same time it has a lot of volume which fills the stomach. Vegetables complement the protein content excellently, 500 to 600 grams a day should be enough. Thus you can replace carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, potatoes. This satiates and prevents ravenous appetite.
6. drink sufficiently
It should be around 1.5 litres a day to maintain bodily functions and to have a well-filled stomach.
7. eating fruit is allowed
Although fruit sugar is also sugar, it is not industrial sugar. Nevertheless, there are fruit varieties that have more or less. If you want to live consistently sugar-free, you should go for apples, pears and berries. As a rule of thumb: Domestic fruits are low in sugar, exotic fruits are high in sugar.
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8. avoid dried fruit
Dried fruits are concentrated sugar. Whether in muesli or trail mix, it is better to replace with fresh fruit or nuts.
9. avoid hidden sugar
Most important shopping tip: Always check the list of ingredients. © ESB -Professional / Shutterstock.com
Speaking of the list of ingredients in products – sugar is hidden behind the following terms:
- Fructose syrup or fructose-glucose syrup, glucose syrup, glucose-fructose syrup or starch syrup
- Caramel syrup
- Maltose or malt extract
- maltodextrin, dextrin or wheat dextrin
- Sweet whey powder
- Barley malt / barley malt extract
If these ingredients appear, hands off the products.
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10. reduce carbohydrates
Bread is also sugar in purely chemical terms, because all carbohydrates consist of many small sugar molecules. Wholemeal is better, as the sugar only slowly enters the bloodstream and makes it less fattening.
Eating sugar-free is easier than you think! As you can see from the example of our colleague, eating less sugar is not so difficult. And it is worthwhile to withdraw sugar, as the blood values show quite clearly. Your body will thank you in any case if you reduce your sugar consumption. With our tips and tricks you too can master your own personal “sugar-free” project!