As a TV presenter, Anastasia Zampounidis knows stressful days too well. For years she fought exhaustion and bad mood with sugar. But the positive effect did not last long. Over 15 years ago, she decided to eliminate sugar from her diet. Today she feels more comfortable in her body than ever before.
With my love for the Greek cuisine of my family, I also inherited a deep desire for sweets. i love sweets Above all, sleep deprivation increases my cravings for sweets.
The body tries to compensate for the lack of energy through food. As a result, I liked eating a piece of cake or chocolate before a live show. That helped me immediately. After that, however, I fell into an even deeper hole, because when the blood sugar level drops, you are even weaker than before and absolutely want to keep eating.
A doctor specializing in traditional Chinese medicine suggested I change my diet. I actually went to see her because I was suffering from tension and wasn’t satisfied with the advice my orthopedist gave me, and I wanted a more holistic therapeutic approach. We got down to my diet – and sugar.
Anastasia Zampounidis was born in 1968. She began her TV career on the music channel MTV. This was followed by moderations for “Wetten, dass…?” and ZDFneo. Most recently, she regularly uncovered consumer traps on behalf of ZDF as a WISO consumption agent, including in the documentary “Die Zuckerfalle”. She has been avoiding sugar for over 15 years and has written two books about it.
If you want to limit your sugar consumption, you have to study every label carefully and know the alternative terms for sugar – not that easy. Other sweeteners should also be considered. There are now many studies, some pro others against sweeteners.
My body and introspection are the research items I count on at the end of the day, and I actually get cravings after consuming artificial sweetener.
Immediately after the TCM therapy session, I started checking all foods for their ingredients. As a rough rule of thumb, anything with the name “-ose” or “-sirup” is a sugar in food. The more frequently names with these endings appear in the list of ingredients, the more sugar they contain: sucrose, thick juice, glucose, glucose syrup, fructose, galactose, malt extract, maltodextrins, fructose, glycogen, cane sugar, brown sugar, dextrose, sweet whey powder, maltose, invert sugar and so forth.
At that time I was convinced: In order to wean my body off sugar, I had to stay sugar-free for at least 21 days. This challenge made me a bit jittery. I didn’t tell anyone about my plans, I just started. After a few days I experienced an absolute state of intoxication. And without any hint of addiction. I did have a few headaches from time to time, but that was nothing compared to the feelings of happiness that flowed through me from then on.
I didn’t expect anything like that. I was filled with strength, energy and life through and through, it was almost a state of intoxication.
When I was done with the withdrawal after three weeks, I added another three weeks. When I finished, I almost cried with joy. Then I thought to myself: Piepegal. And cried properly. of happiness.
I’ve been sugar-free for over 15 years now. I’ve learned that nutrition can do so much more than just keep us alive. It can produce physical, mental, and emotional effects. We are all familiar with phenomena such as eating to relieve stress, reward, comfort, distract, repress… Such habits can be changed for the better by eating the “right” food, thus taking care of both the body and emotional needs.
I am convinced that overeating is always accompanied by a strong emotion. That means you eat because another feeling actually dominates hunger. Either you want to numb it, as with any addiction, because it is an unpleasant feeling, such as loneliness or lovesickness, or you want to increase the existing feeling, such as euphoria or a reward for a successful performance.
Or a hole, wherever it is, needs to be plugged. Something is missing in life. Maybe a fulfilling job or a partner at your side? I used to crave sweets whenever I felt something, whether it was euphoria or depression. That was fatal! Whether happy, sad, tired, fit – always! Of course, that made me particularly vulnerable to addiction.
I’m often asked why I’m so self-conscious about not eating sugar. Where’s the fun in life? I see my new life more from the aspect of enrichment than that of renunciation. Of course I leave out the household sugar, but I add a lot to my life, especially compared to before. This includes herbs and plant-based foods, which I didn’t pay much attention to before. For example, I always use dried fruit as a snack between meals and today it satisfies my craving for sweets.
The article first appeared in 2019.