10 Things That Can Happen To Your Body If You Don’t Have Sugar For A Week
Everyone's different when it comes to how their body reacts when they don't have sugar. "Some people notice they feel better after only a day or two," Christy Brissette, MS, RD, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago, tells Bustle. "Other people find they still have cravings and it takes longer for those to dissipate."
Even though it's in basically everything, added sugar can have a pretty big impact on the body. "Refined sugar isn't a whole food that you find in nature," Brissette says. "It comes from beets or sugar cane; plants that also contain fiber and other nutrients. If you were to eat these foods [...] it wouldn't raise your blood sugar as quickly. The refined sugar is more of a shock to the system because it's highly concentrated and doesn't contain other nutrients. It activates the reward centers in your brain in a way that natural foods can't compete with."
Sugar in all it's forms, though, can be highly addictive. So, while it's not necessary give it up entirely, some people decide to lower their daily intake and see how they feel. Here are a few things that can happen to the body if you don't eat sugar for a week, according to experts.
1. Intense Cravings
If you decide to go cold turkey and eliminate sugar from your lifestyle, you may experience some intense cravings. "The sweet taste of sugar is physically addicting," Tracee Gluhaic, an integrative health coach, tells Bustle. "It hits your brain's neurotransmitters and lights them up like a pinball machine. And since it feels good, your brain wants more and more."
2. Fewer Cravings
If you do decide to cut sugar, you may notice that cravings for it dissipate over time. "It often takes [...] several days to get off that roller coaster," Brissette says. Once your blood sugar evens out, the cravings often go with it.
3. New Cravings
As you start to adjust what "sweet" means to your brain, don't be surprised if you start craving new foods. "Reducing the amount of hyper-palatable foods you eat means that your taste buds and brain aren't relying on major flavors (read: manufactured ones) to excite them," Brissette says.
Instead, you might find that natural foods — possibly ones that used to taste rather dull — now seem more flavorful. If an apple didn't taste like much before, for example, it might seem really sweet once your palate adjusts.
4. Balanced Moods
5. More Energy
6. Less Energy
That said, it's also possible you'll feel sluggish and tired until your body adjusts. "Sugar does act as an energy booster," dietician Shana Spence, MS, RDN, CDN tells Bustle. "The body might feel like this for about a week before growing accustomed to it."
7. Clearer Skin
Once added sugar is no longer a part of your diet, inflammatory issues, such as acne and skin rashes, might start to go away.
"You can link most of these improvements back to the inflammatory response that occurs when you consume sugar," certified nutritional consultant Renee Belz, MS, tells Bustle. "It's also connected to the extra work put on the liver with sugar consumption — when the liver is overburdened it can't process toxins as well leading to skin outbreaks, mood swings, and fatigue."
8. More Restful Sleep
"After eliminating sugar, people find they can sleep straight through the night," Belz says. This can be chalked up to stabler blood sugar levels, once again. When eating sugar during the day, your blood sugar tend to drop at around 3 or 4 a.m., Belz says, which can wake you up.
9. Better Mental Clarity
If you were to stop eating refined sugar for a week, you might notice an improvement in your overall mental clarity, Erin Wathen, certified life coach and food addiction counselor, tells Bustle. Many people notice how much better their concentration is, she says, as well as their ability to recall small details.
10. Digestive Changes
Stomach problems can also occur, thanks to the way sugar can affect your gut. "It’s normal to experience some bloating around day three to five, as yeast dies off in the intestinal tract," nutritionist Dr. Sanda Moldovan MS, DDS, CNS, tells Bustle. "Yeast overgrowth is common in people who eat too much refined sugar."
When eliminating sugar from your diet, there are a lot of health benefits that can occur, as well as some downsides, such as bloating, fatigue, and stomach issues. It is, however, interesting to see what a big impact sugar can have on the body, and all the changes that can occur if someone gives it up for a week.