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The Big Sugar Experiment

What's it about?
Update on Results


Why on earth does sugary stuff have to taste so good? Even when meat is roasted it’s the sugars that are built in the brown crust making it so damn tasty. And it smells so good! It’s not the sugar itself, but everything that is made with sugar smells irresistibly yummy.

Unfortunately to a lot of us sugary things are addictive. One starts with a single biscuit one day, and ends up of having eaten a whole bar of chocolates by lunchtime the other. Once I reach that phase almost everything is lost and I am out for a kill if somebody would dare taking my sweets from me.

Sugar is meant to give the body energy and one is supposed to feel up and running, but unfortunately – again – that is just not the case for me. Periods during one is on the ‘up’ are getting shorter and the sugar crash becomes harder and harder to endure. Hence the need for having the chocolate bar close at all times. Handbags, cars, sport bags, next to the computer, in my drawer at work, everywhere is a stock of sweets.

And sugar seems to have some direct impact on the guts. I have no scientific proof, but I can eat a pound of onions and not getting as bloated as after one week of constant sugar intake. I guess it has to do with some chemical reaction, like the one that happens when you mix warm water with yeast. It makes nice bubbles. And when sugar is added the bubbles go bonkers.

This feeling of hovering through life alongside with nipping waist bands results in a profound grumpiness. Unfortunately grumpiness makes me act like an insubordinate child, refusing any sensible action and making me sink into lazy arm chair hugging, which leads to padding around all sorts of body parts, which leads to grumpiness and the need for more sugar…

So this is not just about weight loss: this is about getting balance into wonky mood levels caused by sugar hype and crash, and to get rid of the veil of numbness that is caused by a metabolism going berserk.

Vicious circles are a sure sign of addiction and hence I thought of a scheme to help me come off it: The Big Sugar Experiment!


Step 1: During a weekend eat everything sweet in the house. Hopefully that will make you feel really bad, bloated and nauseous, but happy in a way that nothing goes to waste.

C’mon, it’s just ONE week!

Step 2: Reduce sugar intake as much as possible for one week. Skip sweets, chocolates and biscuits altogether. For the rest of the sugars reduce them as much as possible. Some dishes only become palatable if they have sugar in it: sugar in coffee or tea? Try to use a little less and drink a cup less. If you like ketchup or other dishes containing sugar, again: try to use less sugar or eat less of the dish. Just be aware where there are sugars in and how much you eat or drink of it.

The rest of the food and drinks stay untouched. This is about sugar - only deal with one nuisance at a time.

Well done!

You did one week – You surely can do another!

Step 3: After each week you get to decide whether or not you want to go ahead with the experiment. You either can stop and stuff your head with sweets again, or you can skip sugar for another week – c’mon, it’s just ONE week!

Sh.. happens – what if you slip?

You just ignore it. However, your penalty is that you will have lost the option of choice at the end of the week, and that you will have to stick with the experiment for one more week.

It is getting easier with every week, believe me! Are you with me? Join me in the:

The Big Sugar Experiment

Let me know how you are getting on, send a mail to

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Results, Results, Results

To some I may have become a very boring person, but for me something wonderful and unexpected has happened:

I don't like chocolate anymore!

Something fundamental changed over the past half year; I am dumbstruck myself, and absolutely elated. I used to be a person raiding my cupboards and even eaten the baking chocolate, as long as it was some chocolate. The next best thing were gummybear kind of things and ice-creams of course.

The Timing

This experiment started shortly after Easter 2009 and now we have mid November - that is 7 month - and I got a first flavour of what was going on after a good 4 month when I was on a long weekend with my mum end August. I had promised myself all the German foods I loved including ice-cream. The first one was in an Italian coffee bar and I liked it, but not in the usual indulging kind of way. But some ice-creams are better than others, so I tried another one at the airport. Moewenpick is a really good brand, and again... it was ok, but not the big 'ahhhh...' I had hoped for. The plum cake I had afterwards, THAT was the real thing.

For the rest of the summer I had no ice-cream cravings anymore and my experiment had come down to: No sweets or cakes except for occasions. Like any true addict, I had some moments where I came close to 'creating occasions' but apart from two collisions with a slice of cake I got through the past 3 month clean.

And then... then we had Halloween! Last year Halloween had seen the breaking of the last barriers. Halloween is bad! It is right after change of light saving time, it's dark but one isn't used to it yet, and it is close to Christmas with all the special treats in the shops. Last year I went down like New Orleans when the levies broke.

So this year I got the sweets only one day before, and then we had leftovers.... Panic! But one has to face ones fears, doesn't one? Detlef already had succumbed to some gummybears and the mini KitKat and Kinderschokolade - my favourites - were smirking at me.

It becomes obvious now

'The occasion rule' just had to kick in. Halloween is a special day - hence I am allowed one of each of my favourites... and then my taste buds just wouldn't comply: KitKat was utterly bland and Kinderschokolade - oh my goodness - sooo sweet, it almost hurt.

What a disappointment, and relief! Now those out of the way I needed to know the limits. I needed to know how far I could go and I needed to explore the space in which I could feel safe. The next level of quality needed to be tackled. Due to a special offer and Afternoon Tea occasions I had Ferrero Rocher and Rafello in the house, untouched so far. First came Rafello - I love coconut... and... nothing! Bland, is the word I would choose to describe it. Usually I observe how the flavours develop as it melts and runs through the mouth... but none of my taste buds found an interest in the offering.

The same happened with my all time favourite Rocher. The nut was interesting, but they sometimes are not properly roasted and make me feel scratchy in the throat, so I'd rather have a nicely roasted nut than the whole sweet.

And so it went on: At work I have a sweets corner where I feed my colleagues with the unhealthy stuff in return for their small change which then goes to our charity, the OLT. All the special treats I had on offer for them I tried, and didn't like a single one of them. Cakes and biscuits are a different matter, but when the ladies had a night out I easily could trade a chocolate mousse cake for a spongy plum and almond cake.

A recollection to proof me right

I am recalling a similar experience many years ago when I was a teenager. On advice of her doctor my mum had to give up sugar in coffee and when she month later accidentally had a sip of my dads cup containing sugar she almost threw up. She was as flabbergasted as I was now, and neither my dad nor I  would believe her that it was THAT disgusting.

She bet me on it and the only way to proof her wrong was to not have sugar in coffee anymore for a few month and then go back to the usual amount. I lost that bet! I cannot drink sugar in coffee ever since. It is one of the worst flavours in the world, shortly after Marmite.

So there apparently is a mechanism in the brain that can change how flavours are perceived. I am now hopeful that this was 'IT', that I can lean back and just forget about chocolate. Cakes are a different matter, they are easier to handle in regard to addiction, though. They are only a danger when I am in a shop or in a coffee place, and if I have them only on occasion then there is no danger of falling back into the addiction trap.

Well, that was a major result, I guess:

The cycle of addiction is broken!

For the rest of it:

  • I am still losing fat, very slowly but surely I am getting there. I haven't changed anything on my diet or sport schedule during the past half year, just being careful to not exceed my 2000 cals per day.

  • I am feeling great in regard to all the bloated business. If it happens, it's for reasons of onion or pulses, which is not the most ladylike conditions one can find oneself in, but at least not this undefined, bulging stomach anymore that inhibits the lungs to do their breathing work.

This whole sugar thing started off so innocently. I felt it made me sleepy and bloated so I had a good incentive at the beginning, then there was a phase when I had forgotten about those reasons and only was thinking about the weight loss, and now, after half a year, I get a reward that I would never ever have expected.

I cannot promise you that it will work the same way for you, but there is good indication for it. There are too many examples like

  • the coffee experience mentioned above, and

  • that in restaurants I instinctively don't order pizzas, chips or bread anymore for it's salt content. I just don't like salty food anymore.

So probably my way of working myself through the experiment week by week, month by month, to allow for the occasional slippage and then moving on might not be the worst of approaches to reach a goal, and in the end even the whole problem might be solved altogether.

I very much cross all my fingers that one day I will get the one or the other email saying: 'Yep, it worked for me!' What a boost that would be for others to give it a shot.

Wishing you all the best in your endeavours!

Always yours



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Copyright 2007
Author: Rika