It makes you fat, tired and sick. Because of this, Sarah* just cut sugar out of her life one day. Those around her weren’t very enthusiastic. And at some point, pure health awareness turned into a real obsession. Why she still recommends doing without.

Always tired, always exhausted, always headaches. In my life with sugar, these were my daily companions. And that despite the fact that I did a lot of sport and ate quite healthily. Then one day I read about a TV presenter who took her health to a whole new level by giving up sugar. “Intoxication” – that’s how she even described it. That she has a lot more energy again. That’s what I wanted too – and a few years ago I cut the sugar out of my life.

Incidentally, there are very different definitions of what sugar-free means exactly: Some people only do without cakes, sweets and table sugar in coffee, tea or homemade desserts. If you take it very seriously, you even leave out the fructose, i.e. don’t eat fruit. But I still allowed myself that.

Avoiding sugar – that doesn’t just mean avoiding sweets, chocolate bars and gummy bears. Because sugar is also hidden in savory dishes. Hardly any sauce can do without sugar, hardly any ready-made meal. And when you meticulously study the ingredients, you also notice that just because it doesn’t say “sugar” in it, it often does contain sugar. This is often behind names with the following endings:

Two things were difficult for me at first:

Yes, you read that right. There are also withdrawal symptoms when you avoid sugar. Because the body is so used to getting sweets all the time. If that falls away, something is missing. I’ve never had such a craving for sweets in my life. On chocolate, gummy bears – oh, I would have eaten everything.

But no – I stood my ground. To distract myself, I baked. Constant. All sugar-free, of course. At first it tasted rather mediocre. When I served the sugar-free cakes to my boyfriend, he would take them – before the first bite from the second cake onwards – and spread a thick layer of Nutella on top. Or he crumbled the cakes over a chocolate pudding. That didn’t necessarily make it easier for me to give up. But I stuck with it.

After the first, very exhausting weeks, things got better. The craving for sweets subsided. And I was starting to like my unsweetened pastries. At some point, even dark, high-percentage bitter chocolate was too sweet for me and I actually switched to the super-bitter 99 percent chocolate. And when I bit into a date, I couldn’t believe how sweet such a fruit can be. But not only my sense of taste changed.

I also noticed physical changes. First and foremost, my headaches subsided significantly. These can be related to high blood sugar levels, among other things. If the body is not constantly given sugar, it remains rather stable. My skin also changed. And above all, I suddenly had so much more energy!

So far so good. What I didn’t notice with all these positive effects, however, was that my thoughts revolved almost exclusively around sugar. Or just to avoid it. going out to dinner with my boyfriend? Impossible. After all, I didn’t know what the restaurant stirred into the sauce. Coffee and cake with my best friend? No way. At some point, those around me said to me, which I wasn’t so aware of myself: “That with the sugar – that’s getting a bit exaggerated.”

At first I ignored such statements. After all, giving up sugar gave so much. But if I’m being honest, he also took quite a lot away from me: Most of my social life.

At some point I took it easy again. I went to the restaurant again. Ate a piece of cake on his birthday. And didn’t study all the ingredients for every product before it ended up in the shopping cart. It doesn’t really make me feel any worse. I still eat little sugar. But doing without it no longer determines my life.

I would still recommend the anti-sugar cure. There’s no harm in digging into what sugar is hiding in everywhere. And after a while it tastes quite good without it. Avoiding sugar is definitely recommended. But maybe not for life. And maybe not so strict that it becomes more important than friends and family.

Protocol: FOCUS online editor Paula Schneider

*Name changed by editors

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