The 30-Day No Sugar Challenge: A Step-by-Step Guide To Ending Sugar Cravings
By: Spencer Brooks
- Cutting down on sugar is the single best thing you can do for your body and brain.
- Sugar is physiologically and psychologically addictive. It’s tough to break sugar addiction, but with a few biohacks, you can make it easier.
- Try using this step-by-step guide to cut sugar from your diet for 30 days. You’ll be amazed by how much better you look and feel by day 30.
At the end of 2017, British politician Tom Watson weighed 308 pounds. He’d spent 22 years trying to lose weight with a low-fat, high-carb diet, and at times he’d succeed — but eventually, the weight would pile back on, and then some.
When his doctor told him he had type II diabetes, Watson realized his old approach wasn’t working and that he had to do something new. After some research, he found the Bulletproof Diet and decided to give it a try. In his podcast episode on Bulletproof Radio [iTunes], Watson describes his experience:
“Quite literally from day one, my life just started to get better and better,” Watson says. “…I was hungry every single day for 30 years… I woke up after about a week [on the Bulletproof Diet], and I wasn’t hungry anymore. I’ve not been hungry for 14 months.”
Over those 14 months, Watson has lost 102 pounds. His diabetes has disappeared, his brain fog is gone, and his blood pressure is normal for the first time in over a decade.
The biggest thing for Watson was kicking sugar. “I feel like I’m a reformed sugar addict,” he says. “…sugar is actually the heart of the problem.”
Benefits of cutting out sugar
If you’re a sugar lover, you can probably empathize. Sugar is addictive — it turns on reward pathways in your brain and causes withdrawal. Without the right game plan, it’s hard to break a sugar addiction. But when you do kick your sugar habit, the changes to your life can be extraordinary. Cutting down on sugar promotes:
- Fat loss
- Mental focus and better mood, thanks to decreased brain inflammation
- Decreased hunger and food cravings
- All-day energy with no crash, thanks to stable blood sugar
It takes about two weeks for your body to get over sugar cravings and withdrawal. With that in mind, here’s a 30-day no sugar challenge. Over the course of the next month, use this step-by-step guide to break your sugar addiction and start feeding your body foods that make you stronger, not weaker. Everything you need to know is in this article.
You’ll be amazed by how good you feel after you get off sugar. Here’s how to do it.
Days 1-7: Ditch the sugar and eat more fat
First things first, scour your kitchen for sugary or high-carb foods and get rid of them. When sugar cravings hit, they hit hard. You don’t want to be surrounded by sweets and cave in a moment of temptation.
Go to your kitchen and look at the nutrition labels on everything. If the food has more than a couple grams of sugar (or if it’s high in carbs, like pasta or potato chips), throw it out.
This applies to natural sugar, too. Sugar is sugar, whether it comes from a candy bar or from a cantaloupe. “Healthy” sweeteners like dates, honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and agave nectar are no better than table sugar; they’ll still spike your insulin levels and cause cravings.
You want to stay under 20 grams of sugar a day for the next month, and keep your overall carbs around 50-150 grams a day, depending on your biology (here’s how to find your ideal carb intake). The goal isn’t too cut out sugar entirely — healthy foods contain small amount of sugar, but the point is to limit them so they don’t mess with your blood sugar and lead to energy crashes.
Once you’ve gotten rid of the sugar and carbs in your kitchen, head to the grocery store and stock up on lots of quality fats, protein, and veggies. Choose things like:
- Grass-fed beef and lamb
- Wild salmon
- Pasture-raised bacon
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Raw nuts
- Grass-fed butter
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, fennel, cabbage, and other nutrient-dense, low-carb veggies
Check out the one-page Bulletproof Diet Roadmap for a complete list of foods to eat and foods to avoid.
Days 8-14: Hack your sugar cravings
Sugar is addictive. It lights up the reward pathways in your brain and causes withdrawal symptoms when you stop eating it. After a couple days without sugar, the cravings are going to hit. You might experience:
- Low energy
- Mood swings
- Strong desire for carbs/sweets
- Trouble sleeping
- Brain fog
This is your body going through sugar withdrawal. Stay strong! The withdrawal will pass after a few days and you’ll feel better than ever before. In the meantime, here are three ways to hack your sugar cravings:
- Eat lots of fat (and don’t count calories). Start your day with a Bulletproof Coffee and have lots of fatty meat and butter-drenched vegetables for lunch and dinner. Don’t count calories while you’re getting off sugar; fill up on fat and eat until you’re full. The combination of fat, protein, and fiber will curb your appetite and ease cravings.
- Put Brain Octane Oil on everything. Brain Octane Oil is a special type of fat that your liver converts to energy almost immediately. Brain Octane suppresses your hunger hormones and helps a lot with cravings and low energy. Drizzle it on your meals to help you get through sugar withdrawal.
- Keep good snacks handy. When you’re going through sugar cravings and withdrawal, make sure you have lots of high-fat, low-carb snacks that you can eat without prep. Choose things like clean meat sticks/bars, grass-fed hot dogs and sausages, grass-fed cheese (if you tolerate it), raw nuts, nut butters, and dark chocolate (78% or darker). The moment a carb craving hits, grab a high-fat snack.. This strategy makes a bigger difference than you might think.
Stick out your second week without sugar. It’s usually the most difficult, but once the cravings subside, you’re going to feel amazing.
Days 15-30: Enjoy your new body and brain
By day 15, your sugar withdrawal will probably have come and gone. You can expect sugar and carb cravings to disappear almost entirely. You won’t have to battle to not eat that cookie at the end of the day — the desire just won’t be there.
For the second half of the month, expect to feel better and better. You’ll enjoy extraordinary mental clarity, stable energy, fat loss, decreased inflammation, better sleep, and more. Now is a good time to experiment with your diet and find what works best for your unique biology.
- Try adding intermittent fasting for even more mental focus and fat loss
- Add or remove foods from the yellow zone of the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap and see if you feel good eating them
- Consider going full keto, or adding a weekly carb refeed day
- Fine-tune your nutrition with the right supplements
If you slip up getting off sugar, don’t beat yourself up. Sugar is physiologically and mentally addictive. It’s not easy to kick, but it’s worth the struggle. And at the end of your 30 days — keep going! Use the Bulletproof Diet as a template, and experiment with it until you find something that makes you feel superhuman, every day.
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