Giving up sugar was the worst thing I ever did

Radhika Sanghani
I’m sobbing at my desk. My colleagues look at me like I’m unhinged.

“Are you okay?” they ask. I’m one month into life without sugar and I am categorically not okay. I have gone from eating at least one dessert a day (normally a chocolate pot or supermarket soufflé) to someone completely and utterly #sugarfree. It’s the first time I’ve ever tried any kind of diet and it’s an unmitigated disaster.

“I just… want… CHOCOLATE!” I wail.

Now, I’ve always eaten fairly sensibly. My meals consist of carbs, proteins, good fats (like avocado and nuts), and lots of fruit and veg. I exercise and have always been a healthy weight, so I’ve never felt the need to diet. Until now.

The constant bad news about sugar has suddenly got to me. There are stats showing that sugar consumption is at its highest level in history. The government is trying to get the food industry to cut the amount of sugar in popular products like chocolate bars by 20% by 2020.

I realise that I am the average UK adult, who consumes at least 15 teaspoons of sugar a day. (This may sound a lot, but there are seven teaspoons in just one fizzy drink can.) The World Health Organisation recommends eating just six.

A high-sugar diet is linked to obesity, and being overweight can increase the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. A 2014 study found that there is a much higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease among people who get a lot of their calories from added sugar.

I’d started to feel I was on a path to all-round destruction. I went online for moral support, and found the #nosugar celebrities, experts and nutritionists. They’re all over Instagram, from Hollywood stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, or ‘I Quit Sugar’ author Sarah Wilson, to ordinary girls making rye porridge in their kitchens. They had one message: don’t cut back on sugar – give it up entirely! In my state of confusion – and my desire for their glowing skin – I decide to do it.

I give up desserts, alcohol and honey, but

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Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com