Janine Collins, Editor of Your Family magazine and busy mom of three, has been sugar free for six months. Here she shares her story and top tips for avoiding added sugar.
Why I decided to quit sugar
I realised that when it came to sugar, I had no off switch. I literally could eat it way beyond the point of satisfying the craving. I also learnt that carbs behave in the same way: the more you eat them, the more you want them.
In the past, I’d be extra good during the day so that I could enjoy a sugary snack in the evening. That only meant I never kicked the craving, and always felt deprived.
I’m not one for fad diets, but I got a lot of inspiration from the LCHF (low carb high fat) recipes online, and I found some nice ideas on BantingChef, but I guess I just winged it really, upping the protein I ate to keep full and avoiding anything too processed or containing grains or added sugar of any kind.
Having full-fat dairy is key in reaching a point where I feel satisfied and full. I’ve become a compulsive label reader. Nothing that says low-fat, slimmer’s or diet even makes it into the shopping trolley.
I also make sure that I’ve got treat options on hand in case the craving hits. I made a great chocolate ice cream with coconut cream, Xylitol and cocoa, which I could have in the evening if I didn’t want to feel left out. It helped in the initial stages.
What it’s like to quit sugar
In the beginning, I felt a little moody and headachy, but this only lasted a few days. Soon, I started sleeping better, and suffered less hay fever over the summer months.
Over three months I lost 5kgs, mainly from my middle. I felt like an idiot for realising this so late in life. I’d tried controlling calories and eating balanced meals from all the food groups, but that never got rid of the cravings for sugar and carbs. Although I counted calories, I never gave up those two things together.
I’ve realised now, six months in, that I can have one or two servings of carbohydrates (a slice of toast for example or a small helping of potato) without putting any weight on. I can also enjoy a square or two of chocolate in the evenings without feeling like I want to eat the whole slab.
The hardest part of going sugar free
What’s really hard is walking into a shop and trying to find a snack that isn’t loaded with sugar or that’s high in carbs. I think our food producers have a lot to answer for, but I love the way some retailers have started including meals for the carb conscious.
How to help your family kick sugar
With three children aged 15, 13 and 7, I try to limit their sugar content across the board, but I’m not completely rigid about it. I try to educate the kids about the amount of sugar already in their cereal, so adding more isn’t really good.
Even though it makes the morning rushed, if my daughter asks for scrambled eggs instead of cereal, I’ll happily make them for her.
A bowl of porridge oats with grated apple and cinnamon and the merest dash of brown sugar also goes down really well.
If you’d like to cut sugar, but don’t know where to start, simply sign up for our #5daystofab sugar-free newsletter that will give you recipes, tips and inspiration for going sugar free for a week. Click here to start receiving your newsletters today!
DISCLAIMER: Before starting any diet, you should speak to your doctor. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.