What Happens if you Quit Sugar for 30 Days

April 27, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Health

What would happen to your body and mind if you quit eating sugar for just 30 Days. If you want to stop what might feel like a sugar addiction or you’re simply tired of skin problems & acne…then just 10 to 30 days without sugar can have a lasting effect.

Sugar… It’s considered by many to be the worst thing you can eat especially when it comes to losing weight and maintaining a healthy body. A lot of people claim that sugar is toxic, addictive, and fattening… and that eating too much of it can cause far worse problems like an impaired immune system, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Even though having sugar in moderation is very unlikely to lead to these more serious issues. The problem is that most people over consume sugar and this over-consumption is exactly what leads to the weight gain and the other unhealthy side effects. Now the best way to reduce your desire for sugar, so that you can control yourself enough to only have it in moderation, the best way to do that is by staying away from it entirely for a set period of time. So in this post, we’re going to go over exactly what you can expect to happen if you quit sugar for just thirty days. We’re gonna touch on everything including what will happen to your energy levels, your skin, your brain, and of course your body.

It has been narrowed down with a list of 6 major changes that you can expect to happen. 

They are as follows:

Withdrawal & Cravings

Change No. 1

Mental Clarity Improvement

Change No. 2

Energy Levels Improve

Change No. 3

Younger & Healthier Skin

Change No. 4

Body Mass & Composition

Change No. 5


Change No. 6

So Let's Start With The Very First One!

1. Withdrawal & Cravings

According to a number of studies, when people quit eating sugar they describe symptoms of withdrawal and they also describe having strong food cravings especially for things like carbohydrates, chocolate, and sugar. These studies also mention that eating any of these things can trigger relapse and binge eating. This is all tied to the effect that sugar has on the brain. You see, the reason why eating sugar feels good is that it activates the pleasure and reward center of your brain and stimulates the release of dopamine. When this happens, the sugar produces a kind of “high” that makes you feel good. While this high is not as intense as when you use a drug, the same mechanisms are at play. 

Now, if you’ve been stimulating these pathways continuously for years on end and then, all the sudden, quit eating sugar cold-turkey, it could cause intense sugar cravings because your body isn’t used to the absence of sugar. So, in that sense, sugar kind of works like a drug. In fact, studies in rats show that sugar is addictive, just like other drugs are. The researchers found that, under certain circumstances, rats can become dependent on sugar, and that this dependency correlates with several aspects of addiction, like the cycle of having cravings, binging and then having withdrawal symptoms. So, if you plan to quit sugar, keep in mind that you’ll probably be hit by sugar cravings pretty early on. Luckily, these cravings will disappear quickly. It usually takes just three to five days for them to drop down significantly. 

So, make sure to push through that desire to satisfy your sweet tooth because it will fade with a bit of time.

2. Mental Clarity & Improvement

The second thing that you’ll notice when you quit sugar is a massive improvement in mental clarity. This was proven in a recent UCLA study in which researchers concluded that a low sugar intake benefits both memory and learning. This is likely due to the fact that the brain is dependent on sugar as its main source of fuel. Thinking, memory, and learning are all closely linked to glucose levels and how efficiently the brain uses glucose. If there isn’t enough glucose in the brain, communication between neurons breaks down. 

However, for most healthy people, it’s very rare that there’s a serious shortage of glucose because besides the food you eat your body also stores glucose in your muscles and liver and worst case scenario it can even convert amino acids into glucose. High blood sugar is a lot more common and it causes the same breakdown in the communication that results in brain fog. This is why just after a few days of giving up on sugar you should start to feel a big improvement in mental clarity. This goes hand-in-hand with the next benefit you’ll experience.

3. Energy Levels Improve

According to another study, your energy levels will also improve. This study found that low sugar, high-fiber meals helped to increase energy levels especially for overweight and obese people. When you eat sugar, not only will you experience a rapid spike in your blood sugar levels but soon afterward you’ll also experience a rapid drop in blood sugar. This is what we call a sugar crash which is also known as reactive hypoglycemia. When this happens it becomes more difficult to focus and concentrate and all you want to do is take a long nap. By avoiding sugar for 30 days you avoid these highs and lows and you’ll find that you have far more reliable consistent energy levels.

4. Younger & Healthier Skin

The next thing that you’ll notice is younger and healthier looking skin. It turns out that having many sweets in your diet can lead to reduced elasticity of the skin and premature wrinkles. Studies show that high blood sugar levels lead to the acceleration of a process known as glycation. In this process, glucose and fructose linked the amino acids that are found in the collagen and elastin that support the skin. When this happens, the skin cells become abnormal stiff discolored and weak. 

Ultimately this shows up in the form of wrinkles sagging us and our skin which simply looks older and it also makes the skin more vulnerable to UV light and cigarette smoke. The last change to your skin that you may notice is less acne. A study from the University of Colorado found that increased insulin levels may promote acne. Eating too much sugar will not only drastically spike insulin levels but it will also lead to insulin resistance which makes your body produce even more insulin. Aside from this study and other studies like it, there’s also a lot of anecdotal evidence from people claiming that their acne improved considerably after simply reducing their sugar intake.

5. Body Mass and Composition

Let’s move on to the changes you can expect your body mass and your body composition. One of the most obvious things that you can expect to happen is weight loss. You can easily lose 5 or more pounds in less than a month just by quitting sugar. Studies show that people who have less sweetened drinks, high-fructose corn syrup and other sugar-loaded products have a reduced risk of being overweight. 

Now the reason why quitting sugar tends to cause weight loss isn’t because a sugar calorie has some unique fattening quality that other carbohydrate calories don’t have. And please don’t get me wrong, sugar is a very calorically dense food for its size. This means that it’s not going to fill you up which makes it a lot easier to eat too much sugar as opposed to eating too much brown rice. But calorie for calorie they are very similar. To understand this, you have to first understand that there are only 3 main kinds of carbohydrates;

Monosaccharides Oligosaccharides and Polysaccharides

  • Monosaccharides are the simplest form of sugar that can’t be broken down any further. These will either already be in the form of glucose or they’ll get converted to glucose very quickly once they enter into your body. Examples include table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dairy, and fruit.

  • Oligosaccharides consist of a small number of monosaccharides linked together in a chain-like structure. You’ll find these mostly in plant-based foods like legumes and asparagus. These sugars either don’t get digested at all or they once again get converted into glucose inside your body but they’re broken down at a slightly slower rate than Monosaccharides.

  • Polysaccharides at the other end contain many Monosaccharides. They contain around 10 or more sugar molecules that are linked together in a chain-like structure. The most well-known example of this type of carbohydrate is starch which is found in foods like grains and potatoes. And these are also mostly converted to glucose inside the body. 

The bottom line is that all carbohydrates except for the ones that you can’t digest like the dietary fiber ends up to glucose regardless of whether you’re eating m&m’s, a banana or oatmeal now. 

In regard to insulin which is your fat storage hormone and if calories are matched, overall insulin levels don’t seem to rise much more from sugar than from brown rice. The difference is that high glycemic carbs like sugar shoot your blood sugar and insulin levels really high really fast. And then they drop really fast causing you to get hungry.

On the other hand, low-glycemic carbs like brown rice won’t spike blood sugar and insulin levels anywhere near as high as sugar would. But it keeps the blood sugar and the insulin levels elevated for a longer period of time, helping you stay full. However, whether you’re full or hungry over time if calories are matched the blood sugar and the insulin response is very similar. And we can see this play out in a randomized control trial where they compare groups on low and high glycemic diets. These groups were monitored closely to ensure accuracy and it turned out that both high and low glycemic diets had the same effect on insulin sensitivity. We can see this play out again in two other studies. In both studies, calories and macros were kept equal and the only difference between the study groups was that some people would have most of their daily carb intake coming from simple sugars while the other group would get them from starches. 

Ultimately both groups lost the same amount of body fat, maintain the same amount of muscle mass throughout the study. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition had participants replace complex carbs like whole-wheat bread with simple sugars while once again keeping their calorie intake the same and once again they experienced no changes in body composition between the groups. 

So you might be wondering why it’s far better to recommend low glycemic natural sources of carbs over simple sugars. If they produce let’s say the same kind of results when calories and macros are equally matched why recommend low glycemic? And the reason is that outside of a lab where a controlled study is not taking place, calories and macros are almost never matched. Three Oreos have the same amount of carbs as half a cup of cooked brown rice but most people would agree that it’s a lot easier to eat the three Oreos and be hungry for three more not even two minutes later so this brings us back to the real problem which is the over-consumption of simple sugars. You see according to research the average American has about 82 grams of sugar per day since each gram of sugar has four calories that mean that the average American consumes about 328 calories from sugar daily. Keep in mind that this number is the average and that some people have much more reaching a thousand or even more calories a day just from simple sugars. 

Now what makes this even worse is that sugar doesn’t satisfy hunger effectively. While tasting delicious so unlike the brown rice, these calories tend to go on top of what someone is already eating. That’s why if you would cut these unhealthy sources of sugar from your diet you’ll most likely create a negative energy balance automatically and you’ll most likely reduce your blood sugar and insulin levels automatically which will lead to a good amount of weight loss after the 30 days. Without sugar, you won’t crave as much of it either. Your taste buds will become more sensitive to it and you’ll be a lot more aware of all the hidden sugars in the foods you normally eat. This will make it easier to eat it in moderation by controlling your portions which will allow you to maintain a healthier weight. Remember sugar itself is not the enemy, it’s the over-consumption of sugar that creates the problems.

6. Cardiovascular Health

The last major change that I want to go over today is that your cardiovascular health will also improve, leading to a decreased risk of heart disease. Now while most people know that diets high in unhealthy fats can cause heart disease. Most people don’t know that diets high in sugar can do the same. 

A 2004 systematic review and meta-analysis found that a higher intake of sugar was associated with an increased concentration of triglycerides in the blood and increased total LDL cholesterol levels were noticed as well. That’s considered your bad kind of cholesterol and also there was an increase in blood pressure. To put it simply, reducing your sugar intake reduces your risk of heart disease. It’s important to note however that the researchers of the analysis also concluded that the effect of sugar on lipids and blood pressure are relatively modest. 

So if you want to optimize your heart health, quitting sugar is a great start but it’s still also important to adopt other habits that benefit your cardiovascular health. This includes things like maintaining healthy body weight by exercising regularly and keeping stress levels low. 

That’s it guys I really hope this post has helped you understand a little more on the effect that sugar has on your body and brain.

If you found this post helpful, make sure to share it around. Cheers!