Living without sugar

At UX Brighton 2013 MC Schraefel spoke about many things around the subject of wellness, but one struck a note with me. The request to try living without sugar.Since November I have gone from 2 spoons of sugar in tea and coffee down to one, then none. I have reduced the number of sugary drinks I consume to maybe once a week if that and sweets have become a scarcity, much to my disappointment.

But there have been some surprising alternations within my body. I haven’t noticed any obvious signs of weight loss, or a lease of new energy, but I have found that it’s harder to get to sleep, I actually quite like bitter tastes that I never used to (such as real coffee instead of cheap grounded crud) and that the taste of sugary tea makes me spit it out.

Sleep patterns a no no

Now, whilst I see this as a slight negative it is in fact a positive. What I’ve come to realise is that I had become reliant on the roller coaster caused by high sugar intake to manage my sleep. I would be drinking sugary tea long into the evening and then conk out in which I believe would have been a sugar crash. The rapid deceleration enabling me to quickly drift off until the morning alarm.

This doesn’t happen any more. I’m either wide awake with no real sensation of feeling tired, or so exhausted that I’m heading to the land of nod by 10:30pm.

So these tastebuds actually work do they?

This cannot be solely attributed to just sugar. I confess, I am the worst kind of smoker – the light smoker. Around the same time I started a discrete ween off the fags. By November last year I was maybe smoking two a day, hardly a habit, and I’ve never felt the addiction or craving symptoms that so many of us do, I just enjoyed it. I liked the 10 minutes to clear my head outside away from everything and the calming effects of deep breathing.

A big factor in helping with this was starting work at a company which to my amazement doesn’t have a single smoker within its ranks. Without anyone tapping me on the shoulder to ‘go for a walk’ I found myself not lighting up between 9:00-5:30.

By the end of November I was smoking the odd one or two in the space of week. negligible. By January I had completely stopped.

I’ve replaced both vices with one far sinister. I really do like the taste of medium/heavy coffees. The bitterness, the rich flavour, I can finally appreciate them for what they are and now I’m in the process of trying to keep to a 1-2 cups a day. Tea consumption has also slumped.

The tea slump is one of logistics, practicality and primarily laziness. In October last year we moved into a new office and some bright spark chose to design the kitchen to be a floor up from the workspaces and barricaded by two doors that open in the wrong direction for whichever direction you want them to go in. As such, there’s no quick walk over and flick the switch. In fact I would say the general Clearleft hot-drinks intake has plummeted to all time lows.

Conclusion? Of course reducing the level of sugar in your diet is good for you. Do I miss the endless bags of skittles? You bet I do. Do I miss routine cake trips? Hell yes. Have I stopped eating sweet things? Of course not, who in their right mind would do that? But I have kept them to a minimum and skittles, 2 sugars and milk in tea and ice cream are no longer my mainstays.