A Week Without (Much) Sugar: What I Learned From My Sugar Detox

blue frosted sugar cookies

Cookies are fine…except when they lead to the need for a sugar detox! partCredit: D Sharon Pruitt

I’ve always had a pretty solid grip on my sweet tooth. After all, when you don’t deprive yourself of foods you like, it’s easier to splurge here and there and resist overindulging. So I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy hormones that have had me under their power for the last couple of months or the holidays and all of their temptations, but I was becoming so sweet-crazed that I knew I had to do a sugar detox, lest I go on a sugar cookie binge again. (And I just realized with that last link that this isn’t my first time to get hooked on the sug. Oops.)

So when it came to my New Year’s resolutions this year, I vowed to go a week without sugar. I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile, but I’d been putting it off, afraid of what would happen. I guess I thought I’d go totally bonkers? Well, I survived my week. And I’ll be honest: I did go a little bonkers, but only that first day.

Granted, I didn’t go totally sugar-free crazy. Like I didn’t give up the sweetened creamer in my coffee. But I didn’t add sugar to anything else all week. I opted for protein-packed snacks (a scoop of peanut butter? I blame pregnancy.) in place of my sweet Frosted Mini Wheats afternoon fix. And I didn’t have a single dessert all week—no cookie at night, no chocolate, not even an animal cracker. My sweet fixes were the natural kind—real fruit.

So how did I fare? The first day was a detox like no other. I couldn’t stop thinking about sugar, which was a big clue as to how far gone I was, a bona fide sugar addiction. I caught myself regretfully retracting my hand as I reached for candy that we’d received over the holidays. I came across a mom dog and a puppy dog making a cake in a kids book and had to stop myself from turning into Betty Crocker. I knew it was bad when I heard someone on TV say “pie hole,” and it made me want apple pie.

But after that obsessive first day, the experiment got substantially easier. I stopped thinking about it, really. I felt better. I drank more water instead of reaching for sweets. Fruit tasted sweeter, better. I snacked less, feeling more satisfied by my regular meals. And the biggest lesson? I learned that I was the one in control, and that I could survive without a daily sweet treat. That treats really are better in moderation.

Have you ever had to show yourself some tough love? Been hooked on the sug like me? How did you do your sugar detox? —Erin 


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  1. D says:

    Detoxing from Sugar always gives me a headache for two days, I’m amazed at how substances like this can cause such a visceral reaction.

  2. Good luck! It is amazing how addicted we are to refined sugar! When I went off I had severe withdrawl. Headaches…insomnia…jitters….on the other side it is well worth it.

  3. Taunya says:

    I had to do this when I relized I wanted a coke more then anything all day, so I did just this drank only water an found myself thinking about it nonstop then the headachs came in, then after a while it started to get better i havent drank a coke in 2 years, they dont taste the same to me but I still need to cut on all the other sugars cause man they are just as hard to kick so ill be doing this again!

  4. Michelle Thayer says:

    I’ve never done a detox but this year I am considering giving up my artifical sweeteners for real sugar (but in moderation of course). I also keep telling myself I won’t eat as many processed foods. When I was on Nutrisystem I got used to the pre-packaged foods but it’s time to get back to eating more natural.

  5. Celina Yanez says:

    I’m a breadzilla. I love cupcakes after my meals and olive bread with my meals. It’s an addiction and as good as I’ve tried to be no luck. A friend of mine suggesting trading the olive bread for lettuce and my cupcakes for real fruit. It has really helped me control the cravings.

  6. Ivori says:

    This may seem strange, but I reached for hot sauce whenever I got a sugar craving.
    I mean REAL hot sauce, not that Picante crap 🙂

  7. I’m doing a month-long total (as in zero carbs, no fruits or dairy) sugar detox right now. Some days I wonder what in the world I was thinking but overall it’s been very good for me. I really don’t have many cravings anymore & I’ve lost about 7 lbs I think. I did have a couple of headaches in the beginning but I’m feeling pretty well now. My main goal was to curb the cravings big time, because after the holidays I was majorly obsessed with the sweets. Next month I plan to slowly add back in fruits, and on a limited basis complex carbs & dairy.

  8. Jenn GH says:

    I went a year with no sugar. Followed by almost 3 more years of no refined sugar. I have never felt better. Unfortunately a few months ago I had my first relapse (I’m a true sugar addict) and now I’m working hard to become refined sugar free again. The problem is our bodies process most grains (even whole ones) the same as sugar. A slice of wheat bread has a higher GI than a snickers bar. I’m learning that choosing to avoid sugar may just be the beginning of conquering my “sugar” addiction. I prefer to look at things like “choices” rather than “restrictions”. It makes for a much happier me.

  9. amanda says:

    Good job! I have been doing the no sugar detox since the day after thanksgiving with only two cheat days – Christmas & New Years day. The first three days were the hardest and got increasingly easier ever since. I don’t even second guess sweets anymore (except for those dreading pmsing cravings once a month) t
    The two days I did eat sweets made me feel sluggish and weary, like I injected poison in my body (well, technically I did being that sugar is poison) and things that I once loved to snack on tasted too sugary a.d sweet for my liking. The sugar detox is great. If you keep your mind in order, your body will be as well!

  10. Corinne says:

    I really want to do one of these…. but I work at a chocolate shop… we make nearly everything. Fresh caramel apples, chocolate dipped cookies, chocolate pops. We have warm melted chocolate at all times of the day… Just thinking about where I work makes me crave something sweet @_@ I’ll give it a shot… but it’ll be tough

  11. Will says:

    I tell clients to start by eliminating sugary beverages – no sodas, sweetened teas, etc. Most begin to lose weight right away and they find it much easier to break the sugar habit entirely after they stop drinking their calories.

  12. I went a month without sugar once… and then easter hit. “Oh, I’ll only have one piece of candy…” It was ugly. Remember how good you feel and keep it up! I’m trying to get back to where I was.

  13. I take my hat off to you. I could never go on a sugar detox. I love candy too much 🙂