Sugarholics: My Week Experiment

Last weekend on Sunday, I posted a video of Jack Lalanne talking about what he called “Sugarholics“.

In his video, he admonished his viewers to try to go for a week (5 days) without the follow food items:

  1. White Sugar
  2. Candy
  3. Cake
  4. Ice Cream
  5. Jams
  6. Jellies
  7. Cookies
  8. Pies
  9. Pastries
  10. Canned Fruits
  11. Soda Pop (Most Carbonated Beverages)

I decided to do exactly that. Here’s how my week went, starting from Monday.

Monday:

For breakfast I had a glass of water and two bananas, instead of the same with a bagel and cream cheese. The rest of the day, I ate my meals with two bananas and a glass of water. No desert whatsoever. I didn’t notice any changes that night except that I fell asleep pretty quick.

Tuesday:

I continued my same meal patter for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I went to get a hair cut and ate two Hershey kisses without thinking. I realized my mistake after I was biting into the second one. I snacked on bananas.

Still I noticed a difference. In my first class period, one of the most boring classes I usually sleep through, I was wide awake. I had not read the readings I was supposed to, but it was okay because I paid attention in class. I was pleasantly surprised with this.

That night I slept quick as well.

Wednesday:

I was awake through my classes but realized another error I had made. I decided to avoid sweets on the week of Halloween and my roommates birthday. I continued my healthy diet during the day, but at night ate Chinese food and ice cream. It was a little more than my stomach could handle (I ate too much too fast). I had minor stomach aches and woke up in the night to go to the restroom.

Thursday:

I continued my healthy diet, with two bananas and a glass of water at each meal. That morning I fell flat asleep in my first period. I tried to stay awake, alas, it was no use. That night I ate a caramel apple 3 hours before going to sleep. Took me a while to fall asleep.

Friday:

I continued to eat healthy up until dinner, when I had a cupcake and another caramel apple for desert. In the morning I struggled to stay awake for my first period. Also, I had physical training with army at 1100hrs. I did fine initially after we went on a 3-4 mile run, but doing sprints up a hill (3-4 times in my case) really destroyed me. I felt like I could throw up and was about to pass out so I knew it was a good workout, but I believe my simple breakfast of two bananas and a glass of water was not a substantial enough breakfast to provide energy for physical training. I slept at 2400 something hours and woke up officially at 1045 officially (not counting waking up at 0645hrs to get ready for a 0700hrs formation, marching down, and walking back up).

Conclusion:

What I think is going on is that sugar makes you tired. It brings you up, sure, but sooner or later, insulin comes in to take down the levels of sugar, and that makes you constantly tired. Energy drinks, coffee, sugar, any other sources of caffeine all do this I think. I noticed during the week that I always had trouble staying awake when I had sugar the day before. I remember one week where I had two donuts for breakfast in addition to chocolate milk and a bagel with cream cheese. I promptly slept through my next class despite my best attempts to stay awake.

I also understand now, I think, why my dad, for the last five years has only been eating desert on Friday and Saturday. It’s because he can afford to be sleepy on Saturday and Sunday because he has time to sleep (no work most of the time). He eats what he likes on Friday and Saturday, damn the consequences, but during the week he’s a nazi about what he eats. He’s got spread sheets of food that good for him based on nutritional value and density, and his blood type.

I now plan to do the same thing. No sugary items Sunday through Thursday. I believe this will lead to more time spent awake during classes and better performance, mentally and physically.

I now see more than ever, how pervasive sugar products are in today’s society in the U.S. let alone, the rest of the world. I ate two candies in a barbershop without thinking. I broke down to eat unhealthily because “it was Halloween” and “we’re all ordering chinese and watching a movie for [roommate]’s birthday”. People expect you to eat unhealthily and look at you funny if you act like you care about your health, in terms of what you put in your body as opposed to just working out and getting good sleep. My roommates looked at me especially funny when I briefly spoke about my week-long experiment as I usually eat boat loads of ice cream (my second favorite food, next to steak) and other assortments of sweets. I based my previous modus operandi concerning food on the basis that I would work off whatever I gain through physical training. But when I was eating ice cream almost every meal (lunch and dinner) and snacking constantly in between, it adds up. I’m not in bad shape, but I was in better shape than I am now, not long before I stopped caring about what I ate.

Food for thought.

~Wald

3 thoughts on “Sugarholics: My Week Experiment

  1. Hey, thanks for this post. I’ve got a HUGE sweet tooth and always have. I think it’s partially our society that helped support my poor decisions and partly the way my parents raised me. I was absolutely not allowed sweets (other than some natural stuff like honey and ocassionally LIGHT LIGHT amounts of syrup). This caused the reverse effect of curbing my desire for them and I fell in love with sweets.

    About a month or two ago I went entirely without sweets or desserts for 6 weeks. I didn’t cut out some of the other categories where you can get non-trivial amounts of sugar, but it really wasn’t that hard. People reacted to me very similarly even the ones that don’t know I have a huge sweet tooth. It’s a bit odd no?

    This is why I choose to shop at Costco and try to keep lots of healthy food options on hand at all times. I’d rather not eat it all and still have the very low hurdle to eating healthy than not have it around and leaving myself much higher hurdles to cooking and grabbing quick healthy snacks.

    Why so many bananas, though?

  2. It seems as if people think you are weird to try to improve yourself if it is not traditional (body building, for example). It as if they think your desire to improve yourself is not borne of the thirst to achieve greatness, but to cover up a flaw or correct a deficiency. Somehow it is seen as worse to correct a deficiency than to improve upon a strength.

    I eat bananas as I have grown to like them a lot since high school. I ate a lot of bananas because I learned that I cramp easy when I played rugby. I learned to drink a lot of water and eat bananas, because they help with cramps. Specifically, bananas have phosphorous which helps out.

    Also – bananas are always available in my university.

  3. “It as if they think your desire to improve yourself is not borne of the thirst to achieve greatness, but to cover up a flaw or correct a deficiency.”

    Very well put.

What do you think about that?