It would be fair to say that we, as a population, consume more sugar today than we ever have before. The changes in our food culture have left many relying on the cheap and easy ultra-processed foods available in supermarkets, with a resulting spike in consumption of many forms of sugar.
The quantity of added, ‘hidden’, sugar found in savory foods like bread and diet products, combined with the sometimes-large amounts of natural sugars in items like fruit, can result in a much higher daily intake of sugar than many realize. As we contemplate the growing health epidemics of obesity and diabetes, not to mention gut dysbiosis and Candida, it is more important than ever to reduce your sugar intake.
Today, I’m going to share an interesting and unusual method that one Canadian has used to quit added sugars. There is evidence to suggest that doing this can dramatically improve your health in less than 10 days.
In 2012, Toronto resident Jason Holborn decided to take his future health into his own hands and completely cut refined sugar out of his diet. He recognized that his daily eating routine had become defined by added sugar. He was pouring half a cup of sugar on his already frosted morning cereals, regularly having key lime pie for lunch, and sometimes even eating butter mixed with sugar straight from the bowl.
Realizing that his sweet tooth could eventually kill him, Jason decided to quit sugar, and do it cold turkey. He completely cut out all non-naturally occurring sugars, using a novel and inspired way to stay motivated during the tough process.
In order to stay on track, Jason created a visual reminder of his achievements by using a window of his house to mark the daily progression of his sugar fast. Each day that he goes without refined sugar, he posts his score to the window. Although there have been a few occasions when the number had to be reset to zero, Jason’s window currently shows that he has managed more than 700 days without added sugar. He has ambitions to make it to at least one thousand, and he keeps himself accountable by both tracking his progress on his blog and visually sharing it with his neighbors.
How has Jason’s life changed since starting this journey? In his own words, “My life has changed quite a bit since I gave up sugar. I’ve always yearned to have a six-pack. I do now. That’s because I gave up sugar. Spiritually and emotionally, my life is on a much more even keel now. I have a lot fewer emotional ups and downs during the day.”
The psychological factor and accountability involved in this very public diet tracking system is what makes his unusual method so effective. Once your number gets above ten, then twenty, then thirty, there is a huge sense of pride in updating each successful day. The completion of each sugarless day gives a great sense of achievement. Along with this is a great sense of obligation, with Jason remarking that there have been numerous occasions when he has declined a simple donut or cookie simply because he could not face the thought of having to reset his window counter to zero for his neighbors to see.
Addiction to sugar can be as hard to kick as any other more recognized habits such as nicotine, and sometimes people need something different to help them over the finish line. There are some more conventional tips for quitting sugar here and here. While the idea of publicly recording your streak of successful days may at first glance seem like an eccentric thing to do, you will be surprised at the willpower that a constant visual reminder of your progress can produce.
If you want to try Jason’s method yourself, and you don’t want to advertise it to the neighbors, why not just keep a running count on your fridge door? Give it a try; it may just be that final factor that spurs you on to quit added sugars for good. Switching to a healthy, low sugar diet, like the one that Dr. Eric Wood and I have included in our Candida treatment plan, is a great first step to better health, improved digestion, and higher energy levels.