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Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Sugar refers to short-chain carbohydrates that are sweet and used in food. Most people know sugar as a whitish crystal-like powder with a sweet taste that is often added to food. Each year, hundreds of millions of tons of table sugar are produced across the world. The sugar that you eat is scientifically referred to as “sucrose” which breaks down into both fructose and glucose in the body. Although sugar is a staple ingredient in many foods, some people believe that it is unhealthy.

Those who believe sugar is unhealthy may attempt to cut consumption of sugar and/or withdraw from it altogether. Despite the fact that some people claim to experience sugar withdrawals, the severity of symptoms experienced is up for debate. Those who are anti-sugar tend to argue that frequent sugar consumption can lead to mental health problems such as attention problems, hyperactivity, and foggy thinking.

Additionally some believe that sugar consumption takes a toll on their physical health – internally and in regards to gaining weight. It seems as though sugar affects everyone differently – some people are naturally more sensitive to its effects, while others may not notice much of any psychological change from sugar consumption vs. going sugar free. In any event, if you are considering the removal of sugar from your diet, below are some symptoms that people have experienced during withdrawal.

Factors that influence Sugar withdrawal

Below are some factors that may influence your withdrawal from the substance that is sugar. Things that may play a role in your withdrawal include: time span over which you consumed sugar, your average daily consumption, your individual physiology, and whether you just quit cold turkey or gradually cut your consumption.

1. Time Span

How long have you been consuming sugar? If you’re like most people, you have been consuming sugar for most of your life. The longer you have been consuming sugar, the more difficult it is going to be to just completely cut it from your life. Most average diets are filled with considerable sugar. The more sugar that you consume for a longer period of time, the tougher it is going to be to quit.

2. Daily Consumption

How much sugar do you consume on a daily basis? A couple hundred years ago, the average American only ate about 2 lbs. of sugar annually. In the 1970’s, the average American consumed about 120 lbs. of sugar per year. These days, your average American citizen consumes nearly 152 lbs. of sugar per year or 3 lbs. per week.

This is a pretty drastic change compared to what people were eating in the 1800’s. In general, the less sugar you consume on a daily basis, the easier the withdrawal process and the less likely you are to have severe discontinuation symptoms.

3. Individual Physiology

It should be noted that everyone is affected by sugar differently. Some people are more sensitive to its effects, while others won’t notice much of a withdrawal when they stop including it in their diet. Some people will have a more difficult time coping with cravings and other psychological symptoms when they withdraw.

A lot of your personal experience will be based on your individual physiology. Certain people are able to adjust to effects of cutting sugar from their diets quicker than others.

4. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

Most people that quit consuming sugar do so by quitting “cold turkey.” In general, quitting the consumption of sugar without gradually weaning down consumption can lead to more extreme withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms will likely be more pronounced among people who quit cold turkey after having consistently ingested large amounts of sugar for years.

If you consume a significant amount of sugar daily, it may be best to gradually cut your consumption over the course of a week or two. By gradually lowering the amount of sugar in your diet, you are gradually adapting to this change and it is thought to be an easier process.

Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below is a list of possible withdrawal symptoms that you may experience when you cut sugar from your diet. Perhaps the most prevalent symptom that people experience is a strong craving for sugar and/or carbohydrates during withdrawal. Also understand that not everyone will go through all of the symptoms listed below – withdrawal varies in severity and intensity based on the person.

  • Anger: If you quit cold turkey, your mood may dip and you may notice that you are more angry and irritable than usual. The anger should not last more than a couple weeks, but may be difficult to cope with if it was unexpected.
  • Anxiety: Various individuals have reported feelings of anxiety when they drop sugar from their diets. It is known that sugar can have an influence on dopamine levels and activity – which could be the culprit for these feelings. Certain individuals are more sensitive than others in regard to experiencing anxiety upon discontinuation.
  • Appetite changes: Eating sugar can lead some people to experience increased cravings for carbohydrates. Additionally when you stop consuming sugar, you may notice that your appetite experiences some degree of fluctuation. Initially you may eat more or less than usual, but it should balance out.
  • Cravings: The most obvious effect when you stop sugar is that you’re going to crave it. The cravings for sugar may be intense and difficult to overcome. If you stay the course and stay self-disciplined, you will eventually reach a point where these cravings subside. It may help to remove sugar substances from your house and/or keep them out of sight so that you don’t fall victim to the cravings.
  • Depression: People can experience a crash in mood when they first come off of sugar. This dip in mood is typically not very extreme, but can feel like a low grade depression. Eventually your mood should bounce back and stabilize.
  • Dizziness: In more extreme cases of withdrawal, individuals have reported feeling dizzy when they stop consuming sugar. Most people will not feel “dizzy” when they stop including sugar in their diets, but more sensitive people can.
  • Fatigue: Sugar can provide some people with short-term boosts in energy. When a person quits including sugar in their diet, it is possible to experience some general fatigue and lethargy during the first couple weeks of withdrawal. Over the long term, a person should notice that normal energy levels return.
  • Flu-like: In some cases, people actually experience a severe reaction to cutting sugar from their diet that results in very low-grade flu-like symptoms. If you have this severe of a reaction, it should subside within a few days. Most people will not experience this particular symptom when they cut sugar, but everyone is affected differently.
  • Headaches: Initially some people experience headaches when they remove sugar from their diet. These headaches can be a result of tension and/or the changes you are going through by detoxifying your body from sugar.
  • Insomnia: Dropping sugar from your diet may temporarily result in changes in sleep patterns and arousal. You may notice that you are unable to fall asleep at a proper time because you feel anxious or your arousal has changed; this will eventually go away. Consider taking melatonin or using some sort of relaxation exercise before bed if it’s a big problem.
  • Irritability: During the acute phase of cutting sugar from your diet, you may become snappy as a result of not having the sugar that you crave. Sugar can influence dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure in the brain. When we are no longer getting the same stimulation, we may become irritable.
  • Mood swings: It is fairly common to experience minor mood swings when you initially cut sugar from your diet. The mood swings may consist of some minor depression, anxiety, and/or other negative feelings. Eventually your moods will stabilize without the influence of sugar, but it may take a short while for your brain to adjust.
  • Shakes: In some cases, people can actually shake when they drastically cut their sugar consumption. These shakes are usually a result of cold turkey withdrawal, but are typically not too severe; they will eventually subside. This is actually a fairly common symptom among people who stop consuming sugar that were previously consuming high amounts.
  • Sleep changes: The withdrawal process may affect sleep to a certain extent. During the withdrawal you may notice changes in energy levels, arousal, and mood. All of these factors are thought to influence our ability to get a good night’s sleep. Do not be surprised if your sleep is slightly influenced.
  • Weight changes: Most people notice that they lose weight when they drop sugar consumption. Weight loss is generally due to the fact that people stop eating unhealthy foods and drinking beverages that are sugar-filled.

Sugar Withdrawal Duration: How long does it take?

There is no exact science suggesting that sugar withdrawal takes a specific amount of time. The duration for which you experience withdrawal symptoms will largely depend on you as a person. Some people are able to quickly adjust to functioning without sugar, while others may have a difficult time resisting cravings and the feelings that they get when they have something sugary.

Based on various experiences, most people do notice that they go through some sort of a withdrawal period when they drop sugar from their diet. However, the length of this withdrawal period is subject to variation. Some people felt considerably better and were virtually withdrawal-symptom free within a few days, while it took others up to a full month to feel completely natural and detoxified from sugar.

In general, it is thought that the reason people experience withdrawal symptoms in the first place is largely based on individual sensitivity as well as dopamine. When you stop consuming sugar, your dopamine levels may temporarily drop – leading to various psychological symptoms. To help address this problem, it is recommended to consume lean protein, fruits like blueberries and apples, as well as nuts for additional nutrients.

It is also recommended to avoid sugar-replacement products as these substances act similarly on the brain and can also have eerily similar discontinuation symptoms (e.g. aspartame withdrawal symptoms).  Additionally if you are a big soda drinker and/or like energy drinks, you could also be experiencing caffeine withdrawals; this is something to consider.  Most would agree that it’s up for debate as to whether there is even such thing as “sugar withdrawal” in the first place.

Some people don’t experience much of any noticeable change when they drop it from their diets, while others notice significant cognitive and psychological changes. If you have successfully weaned yourself off of sugar, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.

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{ 453 comments… add one }
  • Candi August 9, 2018, 4:59 pm

    I have now endured almost 6 weeks of cutting out snacking on sweets. I did not stop all sugar that is contained in foods. But I have never been a person who eats sugary cereals or lots of foods that contain sugar. And I now eat fruit in moderation which helps the cravings.

    This was not a severe decision to cut out all sugars. I still eat carbohydrates and my biggest weakness is potato chips which I still eat. I did not want to deprive myself of everything because I love food. I stopped because I was eating too many muffins, Dove’s chocolates and anything else that is left in the house.

    I don’t drink wine but do have one alcoholic drink in the evening. This was an experiment more than anything else. I am not overweight and I am in my late 60’s. The first couple of weeks were tough. I felt deprived. I always enjoyed my morning muffin, mid morning cookie, after lunch Dove chocolates and cookies in the afternoon.

    I felt grumpy and tired because I didn’t get that boost from sweets. I almost stopped this after 2 weeks because I thought I would feel great. I didn’t feel great. I felt grumpy. But I kept at it. Amazingly I only lost 4 pounds but I think the loss was all in my stomach.

    I have lost my gut and that’s wonderful. I lost 3 inches on my stomach and an inch in hips and things. And I only lost 4 pounds and didn’t up my exercise program. Now I was inspired. My cravings greatly diminished. But I still wasn’t feeling as well. I still didn’t have as much energy.

    I have been on a low dose of beta blocker for a rapid pulse for the past 30 years. It suddenly dawned on me that my pulse was very low. It typically was in the high 60’s and now it was 56 on a regular basis. This is way too low. I hike every day and I could barely go out to hike, let alone go any distance.

    I contacted my cardiologist and he suggested that I may want to stop the beta blocker but would wean myself slowly. Per his direction, I cut my dose in half and I will stop the beta blocker completely at the end of 9 days and hope my pulse does not go up to the high levels of before (90’s).

    I am on an ace inhibitor for my blood pressure so this beta blocker was only for my heart rate. The doc did tell me that I couldn’t go back to the sweets if I wanted to stay off this medicine. No problem for me. I have to say that now I feel better than I have in months, maybe years.

    My energy is back and my pulse is back to the high 60’s. Wouldn’t that be something if I have been on something to regulate my pulse all these years because I ate sweets! The other thing I noted was that my nails were really looking awful and I attributed it to age.

    I always apply nail polish. Yesterday (after 6 weeks) I noticed that half of my nails were dry and ridged and the part that is growing in is healthy and smooth. Things are getting better. Now we’ll see if my hair starts coming in thicker.

    If I can look better and my mood is this improved it has been totally worth the ride. Good luck to all. You may find it worth it. My opinion is that unless you have diabetes or some other reason to cut out ALL sugar, you have to have something you enjoy. Cut out the sweets and eat other stuff in moderation.

  • Carl July 29, 2018, 6:41 pm

    I worked out that I was consuming approx 1 kilogram plus of sugar a week – which is about 142 grams a day. Sometimes I could peak at 1.5-2 kilograms a week which is huge and I was not even diabetic or near it thank god. I went cold turkey and below is my first week.

    -Diarrhea 3-4 times after the 2nd day
    -Anger and irritation followed by low moods
    -Emotional swings
    -Helplessness
    -Mild tummy aches
    -Hunger like never before

    At the end of the first week I was feeling better but still with the withdrawal above but getting less. I have stuck to it and can only see sugar as a very bad drug that had me in its hold and ruined gym work outs and exercise. Brain fog starts to clear up and you feel more energetic after the first week. My withdrawal was severe but I was eating a lot of sugar.

  • Vince May 31, 2018, 8:08 pm

    When you’re pre-diabetic and you overdo your sugar intake… later that evening you’re awaken from sleep because your heart was racing so fast, you feel like your kidneys have shut down and you are about to have a heart attack. Your pulse is weak and you feel like you’re going to pass out.

    Should I wake up my wife? Should I call 911? THIS… was my motivation to quit sugar. Hope you never have to go through that awful feeling, because it is truly awful.

    Like a dope, I had to actually go through this a couple of times before saying enough is enough! When I crave sugar or any empty carb foods, I remember this feeling, and the cravings eventually subside. It’s a daily battle and one you can’t afford to lose.

  • Fred May 16, 2018, 8:53 am

    “Those who are anti-sugar tend to argue that frequent sugar consumption can lead to mental health problems such as attention problems, hyperactivity, and foggy thinking”. Give me a break.

    I wasn’t anti-sugar but after a year and a half of weird symptoms and nothing showing up on medical tests I realized the only thing I didn’t consider was limiting the tremendous amount of sugar I was eating. I quit and in one week ALL my symptoms disappeared.

    A year later I went back to bad sweet habit, and symptoms came back too. I quit again, symptoms disappeared. No need to be anti-sugar, just experiencing the side effect of that crap was enough…

  • Colleen April 9, 2018, 3:41 pm

    Sugar and I have always had a tempestuous relationship – but I’m surprised to see that some people suffer from all these withdrawal symptoms when they cut sugar. When I stop eating sugar, aside from some cravings for sweets that lasts 5-7 days, I feel so much better, physically and emotionally, rather than worse.

    I sleep better, I have lots more energy and mental clarity, my mood is more stable, and this particular time, I discovered that stopping sugar brought an abrupt end to my night sweats. I had been on a sugar binge for about 6 months, since before Halloween last year and right on through Easter.

    My 5-6 desserts a day habit was getting a teensy bit out of hand! So I fasted for 3 days, consuming only lemon water, to get a fresh start with my diet, which by the way, is a great way to rebuild your immune system. Now I’m happily on my way to a leaner healthier body.

  • Laina B. March 21, 2018, 5:21 pm

    I’m past age fifty, never overweight in my life but now 5 lbs I’d like to lose. As for sugar, a lifetime of sweetened tea. Usually hot (bet that zips it straight to bloodstream and every organ fast). My ‘more is never enough’ thing started with chronic dry mouth. Abruptly. About 3 yrs ago.

    Nothing helps but gum, hard candy, or sweetened hot tea. I try not to even think of hard sour candy… 1 leads to the entire bag gone. With tea, it helped drinking some before adding any sugar. But still too much sugar. I’ve never had any sort of addictive tendency. Never considered smoking.

    And even when I’d had narcotic level pain, and given the Rx to treat it. Never wanted it once pain gone. And couldn’t understand why anyone would. But quitting sugar cold turkey is not gonna work for me. First day was fine, but I had beyond insomnia last night.

    My skin is raw from tossing, trying hopelessly to get comfortable. No real sleep. Giving up Extra ‘sugar free’ gum I’ll not attempt. Whatever the poison they sweeten it with. The only way I’ll attempt is a severe cutback. Very consciously realizing less is more.

    An occasional day without it. Good luck to everyone else. I’ll admit it’s tougher than I am. And be happy it’s the only addictive substance ever in my life.

    • ella July 15, 2018, 6:31 am

      Hey, I just wanted to put a recommendation here: when I quit sugar the two things that helped me were: 1 – a friend told me it was the easiest addiction to beat (believing you can make it is half the way to success) and 2 – Apple cider vinegar, which I took at night before going to bed – it stabilizes your blood sugar and thus you sleep much better. Just two tablespoons in a glass of water. Good luck. :)

  • Adam March 15, 2018, 2:46 pm

    A woman who I work next to has hundreds of candy bars that she passes out to the people in my company daily and for the past month or so, I have grabbed at least a handful of them per day and eaten them. I am generally a pretty healthy person in that the meals I eat everyday are natural and healthy and include a wide variety of foods but sweets are definitely a crutch of mine.

    I knew for awhile that all the little candy bars I was eating per day was getting out of hand so I have decided to give them and non-natural sugars up as of yesterday and its been a very tough day and night. Yesterday I was hit with massive fatigue, nausea, hot flashes, irregular body temperature, and poor concentration.

    It took a little while for it to click but I eventually realized that this had to be my body and mind experiencing sugar withdrawal symptoms so I did some research and wound up here. Today and through the night its been more anxiety, irritability, depression, and mood swings. I’m definitely thankful for all the comments and info here though and I know I will get through this.

    Exercising definitely helped me last night, but it was followed by a lot of tossing and turning throughout the night. I do feel a little better today in general but at this rate I think it will take me 3-5 days before I really feel like I’m on the upswing.

    Keep going strong to everyone who is doing this. The long-term benefits of giving up non-natural sugars and working towards good health will really outweigh the short-term high of a piece of candy or dessert.

  • Ruthie February 27, 2018, 12:10 am

    Hi there!! This is day 4. I don’t even know how I got here. I had decided to quit Pepsi. Then I was like, you know what screw it… I’m going to quit sugar altogether. I am irritable, suffering from mood swings and feeling the depression and anxiety. Also suffering from insomnia. I made a cake for my family tonight and almost gave up.

    I put some cake on a plate and stared at it. Then I put it back away and drank a bottle of water instead. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m having a hard time getting enough calories now since cutting sugar which is worrisome because I’m 8 months pregnant. But I really want this for myself. I wont ever go back to that lifestyle where sugar rules me again!

    • Sammy April 5, 2018, 2:08 pm

      Take honey (real raw, unpasteurized one). My trainer told me that it causes no spikes in the sugar levels & it does have amazing properties.

      • Andrea May 1, 2018, 12:23 pm

        This is false. Your body doesn’t know the difference between the sugar in honey and the sugar in anything else. Raw honey is beneficial because it contains good nutrients along with the sugar but it won’t help detox you from sugar and will absolutely spike your blood sugar.

        • Nicole July 13, 2018, 4:43 pm

          This is misleading. Honey has a lower glycemic index than table sugar. All sugars are different, in that the body has to convert them into glucose in order to use them.

          Different sugars have a different process, there for a different GI, leading to differences in how fast they enter your blood stream. So, it is true, all sugars end up being glucose in our bodies, but how they get there differs per sugar.

  • Alison February 12, 2018, 6:24 pm

    I was recently diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver. My blood sugar was high too. I LOVE to bake but trouble was we were eating too much sugar and snacking at night. Dr said no more sugar and bad fats. It was a wake up call. Contributing to it was an accident I had several years ago which caused pancreatitis and the pancreas and liver work together.

    We have both gone cold turkey on sugar and refined white carbs. I eat fruits and lots of veggies. In 3 weeks I’ve lost 7 lbs. I have headaches off and on but the biggest problem we both find is the terrible fatigue. I feel tired and unmotivated…not like me at all. I’m sticking with it.

    I don’t enjoy drinking tea without sugar but I will get used to it. I walk 30 mins a day now and pay even more attention to what I eat. Read labels… sugar in some form is in almost everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future they find it is a major cause of some cancers.

    • Deb August 16, 2018, 11:53 am

      Alison, they have already found that sugar is a major player in most cancers. Cancer feeds on sugar. There are amazing stories of folks who have beat cancer just by eliminating sugar from their diet.

  • Lisa January 16, 2018, 4:10 pm

    Well I’m on Day 8. And it has been a wild ride. I’ve had keto flu, no headaches, extremely tired, mood swings, and loss of appetite, day 8 and I’m feeling somewhat ok. I had to go cold turkey. I just wanted the sugar gone out of my diet. I can’t look a donuts, cake or anything sweet without getting sick to my stomach, I know it will all work out in the end. Good luck to does who are trying the same thing. It can be rough.

  • Aimee January 8, 2018, 7:19 am

    Hello! Day 3! My head is splitting! And I haven’t slept properly! Need more motivation to not give in! Does anyone know if you can still eat raisins? Got a mega craving for raisins.

  • Chris June 8, 2017, 4:39 pm

    I’ve always eaten sugar from a very young age and am almost at retirement age now. I have been on a strict whole-foods diet, mostly plant-based and have avoided sugar and added sugars deliberately for a couple of weeks now. Have felt really out of sorts with little energy during this period but happened to come across some mint imperials (pure white sugar) stashed away in a cupboard and succumbed and ate some. I have never felt so ill or weak in my life… and depressed/shaky. Never again ANY white or added sugars for me.

  • Carol April 12, 2017, 4:10 pm

    I eat sweets all day long. I eat a snack with lunch then I come home and consume whatever is there like cookies, cake, and so on. A few days ago I decided to cut back just of health reasons. Suddenly I’m gassy, constipated. Feel hungry now and like I will pass out when I don’t eat and I never felt this before. Went to the doctor and blood pressure was fine but she asked me if I changed my diet and I said I cut back on sugar. Reading what’s here makes me realize that I have sugar withdrawals! It’s awful.

  • Aurora March 14, 2017, 9:29 pm

    I decided to quit sugar 2 weeks ago. I didn’t expect that I would feel so terrible. I keep feeling dizzy and exhausted, have trouble working properly because I’m jittery, nearly and actually fainted at work a couple of times, get terrible headaches (okay, I also cannot drink anything for hours at a time at work, stupid job), feeling very depressed, angry, moody, can’t sleep properly, can’t get back to sleep after son wakes up (ATM at 3am grrr), have actually been gaining weight, too – I thought all these things are supposed to improve when you quit sugar not make your life impossible?

    I’m still eating fruit, I did taper off, I didn’t consume that much sugar before I quit – so why the hell is it affecting me so badly? When will this improve? Any help on how to quit being so dizzy and fainting all the time? This is super dangerous in my job! I’m giving it till the end of the week – if I still cannot work properly and feel a little more normal then I will quit the sugar quitting and go back to normal to actually be a functioning human being.

    • Nancy July 23, 2018, 12:39 am

      10 days off sugar soda drinks and have become so weak I cannot function. I got my body out to my car to go get one Pepsi with the hope it would help this debilitating fatigue. I thought I may be dying. I am taking sips of the soda and feel better.

      This is no joke. Do not go cold turkey off of sugar! If you can stay in bed, and you don’t have a job, maybe you can endure this fatigue. I am going to taper off of sugar, and I don’t know why this is not the first item of recommendation.

  • Deanna March 7, 2017, 2:58 pm

    I am in the process right now. I started about 4 days ago. I consumed massive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of sweet tea and soft drinks. At this time, I am experiencing tension headaches, I feel very tired and have had some of the flu like symptoms of body aches.

    Interestingly, though, to this point, I have not really had any cravings. I attribute that to my all around just feeling so bad, otherwise. I just don’t want anything to do with anything. It’s a pretty miserable process. I look forward to getting to the other side.

  • Cindy March 3, 2017, 10:59 pm

    -I decided to quit sugar because I noticed that the frequency and intensity of my hot flashes is directly proportional to the amount of sugar I consume. Husband and I started fasting on Fridays, for Lent, so today (Friday) I’ve only had one coffee with milk but no sugar, and lots of water. We’ll break our fast tomorrow morning around 6 A.M., planning to have coffee with milk, no sugar, one slice of sourdough toast and a hard-boiled egg. We drink 2% milk but for coffee I prefer half & half since I don’t put in any sugar. This little bit of indulgence seems to take the edge off of feeling deprived.

    -I’m brushing my teeth with baking soda rather than toothpaste, and have noticed that my taste buds are more sensitive now, which I think has contributed to not needing to add sugar to my coffee.

    -At work I find that eating a handful of almonds mid-morning really helps to stave off the hunger until lunchtime, when I’ll have a salad with oil & vinegar dressing, tomatoes, shredded cheese and garbanzos for protein. -When I crave something sweet throughout the day, I’ll eat a banana, orange, or other fresh fruit. At dinnertime we have clear soups and fresh salads; sometimes pinto beans with onion and garlic cooked slowly on the stove-top, shredded cheese sprinkled on top, and a little Spanish rice; or I’ll have a small bowl of Grape Nuts cereal with slivered almonds and dried cranberries, no sugar, for dinner which seems to be like another indulgence for me.

    -I’m finding that the longer I go without refined sugar, the less I want it or even think about it. My energy level is increasing, my skin and eyes are clearer and brighter, and I’m able to focus better at work. Losing the “love handles” is an added bonus. It’s important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, though; otherwise, I feel deprived and fatigued.

    -It’s clean, authentic eating to consume foods closest to the earth (no more than two ingredients) and to consciously decrease refined sugar. Once you make it through a certain point, eating any other way seems disgusting and filthy almost. The other day I saw a KFC commercial on TV, and everything looked greasy and heavy including the roll.

  • Heather March 2, 2017, 4:17 pm

    I’m on day 5!! I thought I was getting sick!! I’ve had body aches, headaches, feeling overwhelmed, really weak, and just sad. I thought it was just PMS. I wasn’t trying to quit sugar, I’m changing my diet to more raw foods. BUT now I am!!! I’m in shock that I’ve have withdrawals like this. I had no idea this was from not eating sugar.

  • Olivia February 14, 2017, 6:54 pm

    I’m quitting sugar too. I decided to because I have fluctuating energy and get down when I don’t have sugar. This is my third attempt. I got so far the second time I had to quite because the main symptom was lack of concentration. I felt like I’d lost 20 IQ points.

    I also got very sensitive and grumpy. I started to get bad at my job so I had to eat cake or risk getting reprimanded (don’t worry I’m not a doctor or nurse!). I’m not saying this to scare people. I’m saying be ready for it and understand that you might suffer the same and you’ll have to try harder to concentrate and double check any important work.

    If you think “why is everyone else so angry/unreasonable/miserable?” Do be aware that it might be you. This time I’m going to make a conscious effort to be friendly and hard working in an attempt to compensate.

  • Angela February 10, 2017, 2:40 am

    Om on Day 10 of cutting 100% sugar out of my diet. (The first few days I allowed some fruit but now I’m completely off it). I can’t concentrate at work, I feel anxious, I can’t breathe. At least I know I’m not the only one…

  • Petr January 27, 2017, 6:54 pm

    5th day staying off sugar. Trying to have small piece of cake (really small) after breakfast now and then, but no teas or coffee sugar adding period. No candy or chocolate. Having headache always close to noon and after that the whole evening (taking Advil to overcome the pain). Hoping that the sugar withdraw will not take whole month LOL. Thank you all sharing your experiences with the white beast!

  • Tiffany January 16, 2017, 11:41 pm

    Day 1.5 and feeling anxious, depressed, dull headache, tired and just plain old crappy. It almost makes me think I should eat the dang sugar! The anxiety and panic attacks are just not worth this.

    • tiffany June 14, 2018, 1:49 am

      I’m on day 2 and feel exactly the same way. Thank you for posting!! I cant give in and I hope you didn’t either.

  • Andrew January 15, 2017, 3:20 am

    Hi. It’s my 3rd day without simple sugars. I haven’t been huge fan of sugars, but still like everyday I had been consuming some of it. My withdrawal symptoms are mainly fatigue, depression and mood swings. I cannot wait until all of it will be gone. F-cking poison.

  • Rowan January 9, 2017, 4:15 pm

    I cut out pop and 90% of my sugar intake. It’s been 8 days. My problem is that for the past 4 nights I’ve been waking up at 3:30 AM on the dot, and cannot fall back asleep again before I have to go to work. I’ve tried googling everything… all of it saying my blood sugar is too low, etc.

    Well I don’t have any symptoms for that sort of thing so I’m really unsure. I don’t wake up craving sugar, shaking, anxious, etc. I just naturally wake up and I’m usually mad because I’m awake but other than that I feel nothing. I’ve NEVER had a problem sleeping, and getting back to sleep.

    I just don’t know what to do and I’m super frustrated. I used to consume so much sugar, that I’m sure that’s what part of the problem is. I tried having a glass of juice before bed to see if that would sustain me through the night this past night… nope. Still awake at 3am. Any advice would be great!

    • ELOUISE January 13, 2017, 11:03 am

      Hi Rowan, Try going to the gym – that may help. I think it can only be that your body has too much energy to burn so it wakes you up to get the job done. If you have a lot of fat stored in your body, this is what it will start using for energy because it does not have any sugar.

  • Elizabeth January 6, 2017, 5:26 am

    I am on day 6, and after several days of fatigue I am full of energy today, and have just spring cleaned the fridge! My husband who is also on day 6 and is still very fatigued and grouchy…

  • Bonnie November 11, 2016, 9:13 pm

    This is day 5 without sugar, gluten or dairy. I have had a headache on and off for 3 days now. I have a slight feeling of lingering anxiety also but was surprised to wake up feeling very energetic this morning. ☺️

  • Rocky-J October 19, 2016, 2:09 pm

    Anyone know if slight sugar withdrawal can cause migraines? I think i’ve been eating less sugar and if i do any kind of physical activity I’ve noticed blind spots in my vision, which is usually a precursor to migraine headaches for me. Could just be my blood pressure but I’d like to know if anyone else has had these symptoms and if they found a solution. Thanks!

  • Mia October 15, 2016, 9:53 pm

    I have Candida, so I have been sugar free now for two days (trying not to feed it). I feel like crap! I slept 9 -10 hours last night and when I woke up this morning I felt like I could sleep all day long… I have very low energy and every time I stand up I get very light headed and dizzy and it subsides after a few seconds. This sugar withdrawal is horrible. I also have a mild headache but I’m naturally a migraine sufferer – so that I’m okay with. the lack of energy and being really dizzy is driving me nuts! Glad to know my symptoms are common!

  • Taylor October 15, 2016, 12:13 am

    I have been sick for months. Feeling my body slowly break down. Have been to the doctor over 10 times in 6 months. I have been drinking 5 to 6 cups of tea for about 6 months. With 2 spoons of sugar each and cream. In addition I might eat cake or throw in a soda.

    First ailment that showed up was high cholesterol. Then I gained 20 pounds in 6 weeks. Mind you these 2 just happen recently. I have had respiratory problems. Finally one doctor did a series of blood work and I found that my ferritin was 871 normal is 10-232 no/ ml.

    This and my symptoms point to possible fatty liver. So I will stop cold turkey tomorrow. At least I will try the cold turkey method because it’s crucial. So if you eat a lot of sugar maybe have some lab work done. Good luck

  • Karleen Kubat September 26, 2016, 3:41 pm

    I have been off sugar, cold turkey, for 3 months now. I have been on an emotional roller coaster all this time. The beginning was very scary but it settled down and now just seems to be only depressions frequently popping up out of no where for no good reason! So now I am getting of wheat flour and seeing if that will help, but so far nothing has changed.

    Also by bowels, which were normal, changed into soft stools that have caused their own problems, even though I eat plenty of roughage. This has been one hell of a ride for me, totally stumped, but not going back. Not only have I lost 13 pounds in that time, I am not as achy and my arthritic knee is much more manageable. Still waiting to feel that “amazing good” that others experience with dropping sugar!

  • Ariana September 21, 2016, 5:22 am

    Tried to quit so many times but this time is for real. On day 2 and could not have imagined how horrible it was going to be. Headaches, extreme thirst and hunger, insomnia, body temperature out of whack, and horrible mood swings. I went to the gym after work and it helped. Courage to everybody here!

  • marry September 12, 2016, 5:43 am

    This is complete non-sense. Take a look at the withdrawal symptoms. Your brain uses sugar as the main source of energy and leaves fats for your muscles for during physical work, so if you cut sugar intake you are merely reducing the fuel that your body uses to perform all sorts of vital cognitive processes such as thinking and being alert. This is vital for doing simple things like driving to the store, you don’t wanna lose focus behind the wheel! Ever wonder why sometime you simply forget to do things?

    You become miserable because you pleasure pathways have been inhibited, I know I don’t wanna be miserable and angry. As of weight gain, the weight is coming from the fluid in the beverage and not the sugar. Drinking water can also make you weigh more than you hope to be. As for the fatigue, your body feels weak because you have far less energy flowing in the body.

    The body uses the sugar to make energy for your muscles and reducing sugar intake forces your body to burn fat which takes far too long to produce the necessary energy that the body needs and your body needs sugar to burn fat. I have been consuming sugar all my life and I have not gained weight at all, in fact keeping sugar in my diet has helped to stay healthy in that I am more mindful of what I eat.

    Moral of this story: teach your body to use the calories! There are so many baseless claims out there purely because people want to promote their products. However, human beings are omnivores meaning they can eat meat and carbohydrates, sugar included. There is a reason why our bodies take simple sugars. In conclusion, listen to your body and eat as your body needs!

    • Brenna October 19, 2016, 8:16 am

      The only thing that is complete nonsense is your comment. The only reason why the brain uses sugar as the main source of energy is because of the fact that it is “the path of least resistance”. It is the most easily and quickly converted.

      But fortunately, from an evolutionary standpoint we have a terrific system of fuel (fat) which we can call upon during periods of fasting or low carbohydrate eating, and our body (and brain) can readily shift from burning glucose to burning what are called ketone bodies.

      Now, it is true that some parts of some brain cells can only burn glucose, but fortunately our bodies can turn PROTEIN INTO GLUCOSE through a process known as gluconeogenesis. This fact means that while there are essential requirements for both fat or protein (meaning we would die without eating at least some fat and at least some protein), we can live quite happily while consuming NO carbohydrate at all.

      In fact, your brain actually functions more efficiently in ketosis than it does when fueled by glucose. All one has to do is simply Google “Are Ketones the preferred fuel for the brain” and you will find many articles from peer-reviewed scientific studies conducted on the subject and published in such places as Scientific American, National Institutes of Health, Psychology Today, Evolutionary Psychiatry, etc.

      For those unfamiliar, Gluconeogenesis (GNG) is a metabolic process of making glucose from non-carbohydrate sources such as protein (amino acids), lactate from the muscles and the glycerol component of fatty acids. Moral of the story: There are a lot of people out there who like to climb on their high horses and preach about how easy it is to simply stop doing that which they have never had to face first-hand.

      In conclusion, telling people to merely “listen to your body and eat as your body needs” is like telling a heroin addict to continue shooting up or an alcoholic to keep drinking, because that’s what their body is telling them it needs. Addictions are REAL compulsive, physiological needs that require more to overcome than just “teach your body to use the heroin or alcohol!”…SMH.

    • Really? January 1, 2017, 2:20 am

      Naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables are sufficient for the energy needs of your body. The discussion is refined sugars. Just watch the documentary “The Sugar Conspiracy” and you can’t deny the cash-cow of the refined sugar industry.

      Having said that, I fell off the wagon at day 2. Obviously need to get a stronger will-power to rid myself of sugar (especially chocolate, my main vice). Will start again tomorrow.

  • Alex September 9, 2016, 7:56 pm

    I’m on day 13 of no refined sugar and I’m finding things tough. Same as everyone else insomnia, fatigue, flu symptoms etc etc. Is anyone able to provide me with a clearer timeframe of when I might start to feel a bit better. I know in all likelihood I’ll be withdrawing for months to come but surely the symptoms cannot remain as intense as they currently are? I had no idea that week 2 would be worse than week 1 😭 and if week 3 is worse than both then god help me and I’ll just go buy the chocolate now. Good luck everybody I’m sure it will be worth it in the end. 😊

    • marry September 12, 2016, 5:53 am

      Dear friend. Why do you put yourself through all that pain. It doesn’t have to be like that. Sugar is not your enemy so do not cut it out completely. If there is no medical reason preventing you to eat sugar why cut it? My advise to you is to hit the gym. I love sugar but I love my family more that is why I make sure that I will live longer despite what I eat.

      When ever I eat sugar I cancel out the effects at the gym. I would like to challenge to take a 13 day gym challenge – all you have to do is to go on the bike for 15 minutes for 13 days and tell us what you feel. (Mary – exercise physiologist)

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