Welcome to 20 No-Sugar Days Diet

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20 no sugar days challenge by days to fitness

For 20 days we’ll avoid all food containing added sugar. To read my 20 Days No-Sugar story check here.

2 Simple Rules

1. No added refined sugars (white sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar etc.)

2. No added artificial sweeteners (Truvia, Splenda, NutraSweet, aspartame etc.)

Most processed food contains added sugar, even the ones you don’t suspect like ketchup, granola, flavored yogurt, salad dressing, and potato chips.

How do you identify added sugar in food? Easy… 

Read any food nutrition labels you have at home and before you buy your groceries at the supermarket. That way you’ll know how much sugar is in your food. Food manufacturers also use a lot of different names in an attempt to disguise sugar so make sure you read this article on identifying “hidden” added sugars  “61 different Names For Sugar”.

What about naturally occurring sugars? Are they okay? Yes!

Milk, plain yogurt, fresh vegetables and fruit contain sugar, and that’s totally okay.

Eat fruit: Enjoy the natural sugar found in fruit. Make a fruit smoothie for breakfast. Try a Mango and avocado smoothie (with milk).

Drink Milk or yogurt (I prefer kefir): Enjoy a yogurt smoothie as a healthy snack or a banana smoothie with kefir superfood for breakfast.

Eat vegetables: Prepare a superfood green smoothie with spirulina to add protein to your diet (Spirulina Green Smoothie)

Duration

20 days. You’ll be impressed by the results and, after only this short time, you won’t want to go back to eating tons of added sugar like before.

What can I expect once I finish this challenge?

More energy and focus: Sugar makes you feel tired

Flatten your belly: Most added sugar that you eat is converted into fat

Reduce fat, lose weight:  Less sugar means less fat

Reduce your calorie intake: When you eat less sugar, the two hunger hormones start to working properly and you feel fuller after your meals. No more all-day snacking and feeling constantly hungry.

Enjoy the real taste of foods: Sugar often masks the real taste of food. Coffee and tea, for example, taste so much better once you learn to ditch the sugar.

What you need to do?

Learn how to identify food containing sugar. My guide on “How to read food nutrition label

Be discipline, stay strong, and avoid added sugar in all forms. That means soda, sweetened beverages, candies, cookies, most breakfast cereals and processed food.

No Added Sugar Recipes

Low sugar recipes can help you to avoid buying processed and fast food. Cooking your own low-sugar meals means you know exactly what you ear eating and that makes it much easier to keep your sugar intake low.

Breakfast

Kefir (more about kefir here) was an amazing discovery and I love to mix it with fruit.

Fruit smoothies are also an easy and quick way to have fruit in the morning. Combined with kefir, fruit provides a healthy, light start to the day and the natural sugars taste great – all in under five minutes.

Add some no added sugar muesli to your bowl of fruit and kefir for the perfect breakfast, available at amazon.com.

Recipes for Lunch & Dinner

I’ve put together all the sugar free recipes here so I could easily find and share them with you. They are easy, healthy, and of course, have no added sugar.

Check the recipes, make your grocery list, and organize your meals. This will make the 20 No Sugar Days Challenge much easier.

Desserts

Amazingly, reducing your sugar intake does not have to mean no desserts. You still can have great-tasting sweet treats without the high levels of added sugar. My no added sugar dessert recipes here.

Sugar Detox Recipes

21 day sugar detox reviewFor those of you who looking for more no-added sugar recipes, I highly recommend The 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo. Diane is a certified nutrition consultant and author of two New York Times bestselling books.

The 21 day Sugar Detox is a simple program to help you to avoid added sugar with real food recipes, audio support recordings, and a expertly moderated forum to clarify your doubts and answer your questions.

It includes a quick start guide to teach you what you need to know before start and there are several modification guides for athletes, pregnant or breastfeeding moms, vegetarians and pescetarians.

Find more about this program in my review here.

How to start? 

1. Pick one day and mark it on your calendar.

2. Buy your new no-sugar added groceries

3. Record your weight and measure your waist, for comparison when you finish the challenge

4. Start your 20 No-Sugar Days Challenge

After the challenge

On your 21st day I would like you to answer these questions to understand what results you have achieved and how you feel, both mentally and physically.

How do you feel?

How many pounds have you lost?

How would you describe your energy levels?

What’s the major differences you feel today?

Would you recommend it to your friends?

Questions and Answers

Does a can of coke contain too much sugar?

One can of 12 fl oz (335 ml) contains 39 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men.  One can has way more sugar than you should have in a single day!

How do I avoid added sugar?

Sugar is addictive and you can find it everywhere. Most processed food contains added sugar. 5 tips at “How to Avoid Sugar ?”

The difference between added sugar vs natural occurring sugar?

Unlike added sugars, natural sugars are present in food already. They are also accompanied by vitamins, minerals, fiber, and amino acids. As such they are healthy when consumed in moderation.

Added sugars are, in contrast, not naturally occurring. They are added to food to alter its taste, texture, or simply to make you crave and buy more of it. It’s often included to make foods borderline addictive which helps increase sales and profits for food manufacturing companies. More at my recent article “Added Vs Natural Sugar”

Learn more about the differences at “Added versus naturally occurring sugar whats the difference?

Where can I find no added sugar foods?

There are healthy sugar alternatives to enjoy, fight your sugar cravings and perfect for your 20 No Sugar Days Challenge. You can find some examples at “Looking for No-Sugar foods” article.

How much added sugar should I really be eating?  

The American Heart Association recommends 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men.  

Why I should I reduce my added sugar consumption?

The 5 Most import reasons for avoiding added sugars are…

Sugar is fat: Most of the added sugar we drink or eat is converted and stored by the liver as fat. Sugar is considered one of the main reasons for the current obesity epidemic

Diabetes Type 2: Too much sugar makes your pancreas produce a lot of insulin for long periods of time. This can cause insulin resistance. When you have insulin resistance, it gets very hard for your body to reduce high blood sugar levels which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

The more sugar you eat, the hungrier you feel: Our hunger and satiety hormones (leptin and ghrelin), are responsible for informing the brain that we are full. When we eat too much sugar, they do not work properly and we never feel full. This leads to overeating and weight gain.

Get tired and sleepy: Metabolizing sugar consumes a lot of energy. That’s why you often feel tired after eating a lot of chocolate or candy. Eating less sugar will give you more energy.

Heart diseases: The liver converts excess sugar into fat which raises the cholesterol levels in your blood. High “bad” cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart diseases.

These reasons are supported by studies by The American Heart Association, Harvard University, NCBI, and American Diabetes Association. This is a short version of our full article “5 Healthy Reasons to Avoid Sugar” that you can find here.

Why do I see so many different names for sugar?

Today, there are, 61 different names for sugar. This trick is used by food manufacturers to hide added sugars in food. I’ve published the list at “61 different names for added sugar.”.

How to identify sugar on nutrition labels?

Learn how to read and easily identify sugar on any nutrition label. I’ve created an easy guide called “How to Identify Sugar on Nutrition Labels”.

What about cravings? 

During the first 3-5 days, you’ll probably feel the temptation to eat high-sugar foods like chocolate or drink soda. That’s normal because sugar is very addictive and your body has been used to high levels of sugar for a long period.

Drink water, don’t think about it, channel your energy into distracting tasks to help you forget about sugar. Have a piece of fruit for a natural sugar fix. After a couple of days, these cravings will disappear and you’ll be free of your sugar addiction.

What to do if I slip?

What’s done is done. Don’t look back but, instead, look forward. Continue with the challenge; tomorrow is a new day.

What should I do when having lunch or dinner out?

Don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant if there is added sugar in their meals. Most sauces and salad dressings contain added sugar. Grilled and boiled food are usually safe options regarding added sugar.

What about sugar on coffee or tea?

Please, do yourself a favor and stop adding sugar to your coffee or tea. The first time it’ll taste strange, because with no sugar, you really taste the flavor of coffee and tea. After your 3rd coffee/tea, the strange taste goes away and will start enjoying more the natural flavor of different coffees and the differences between types of tea.

Do you have any no sugar added deserts? 

Yes. You can find them here

What about lunch and dinner, do you have any recipes?

Yes, and yes! You can find all my sugar-free recipes here.

What about cereals?

Most cereals contain high levels of added sugar. Check the nutrition facts and find a low sugar or sugar-free cereal. You may need to visit your local health food shop to do this.

Where can I find all your posts regarding no sugar diet ?

All my posts about sugar are on the category “no sugar diet” and you can find all of them here.

Should I use artificial sweeteners ? Artificial Sweeteners have almost zero calories so what’s wrong ?

My full answer with all my thoughts and worries about artificial sweeteners explained here.

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About Author

Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m so happy that you’re here! I've shared my story here

46 Comments

    • Hello !

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, of course. I do avoid added sugar but I eat, and recommend, to eat fruit. Fruit provides nutrients, vitamins, fibers and natural sugar, very important elements to our body. Have a great day.

        • Hi Andrew,

          Thanks for your comment. I can’t give you an exact number. AlthoughI can promise you, you’ll lose weight. But it all depends how much sugar are you eating today and how much can you stop eating. Give it a try for at least 10 days, no added sugar, only natural occurring sugar like fruit, milk, etc no soda, candies, chocolates, or any processed food. I’m sure you’ll lose weight, get more energy and way more relaxed. Focus on fighting the cravings and I’m sure you’ll love your days without sugar. Hope I’ve helped, have a great day.

  1. Sara! Starting this 20 day challenge tomorrow, I need it… Now just a quick question, when you say 24 grams does that include natural fruit, do you measure the grams in the fruit??? I like bananas a lot but know that they are quite high in sugar. Also, did you cut out white flours (bread, pasta) and change to whole what for this challenge? Thank you so much for getting this information out to us!

    • Hi Kylee,

      Thanks for your comment. Natural occurring sugar (fruit, milk, etc) does not count for the 24 grams. 24 grams are only for added sugar. There are a lot of different opinions here, I love fruit and fruit provides a lot of vitamins, fiber and nutrients very important to your body, and the natural occurring sugar in fruit is not processed the same way as added sugar. All to say, I’ve fruit every day on my breakfast, what I avoid is all kinds of added sugar, which means, avoid processed food, avoid/reduce adding sugar to my coffee/juices/smoothies, no more sodas. White flours would be an extra step. If it’s your first time trying to get rid of sugar addiction, I would start by the ones I’ve mentioned before. Once you’ve done that first step than you can start with other carbs like bread and pasta. Hope I’ve helped. Have a great day.

  2. Katrina Cheney on

    Thank you for making this website I was actually curious about it. I am not the slimmest for my age and I hope that with this diet I will become a bit more fit.

  3. Sara before i seen your post i quit sugar & carbs over a week and the pounds just melted.
    11 pounds in just two wks.
    I do eat a very very small portion of whole grain but i donot include carbs in every meal.
    I still eat a balanced meal everyday and even nuts as a snack so i am never hungry and the pounds are just dropping.
    For many many years I would excercise daily for atleast an hour but the weight would come off slowly. Until my doctor told me sugar was my culprit in which i already knew he just confirmed it.
    Once I decided to give it up for good the cravings also went away as well.
    I plan on losing more weight naturally and finally take back my life with healthier choices .

    • Hi Deb,

      Thanks for your comment. I was so surprised when I start reading about sugar, I didn’t had any idea how sugar can really make you fat. That’s why I decided to read, investigate and publish so many articles about the subject. It’s not easy to say no to sugar, but it feels so good to enjoy your life without sugar. Have a great day.

  4. I’d like to point out that there’s lots of sugar in fruit, especially smoothies. One apple contains 5 teaspoons (19g) of sugar! That’s over half the recommended daily intake. Fruit may contain “natural” sugar, but they’re still sugar. Eat fruit in moderation, eat more veggies instead!

    • Hi Martha,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes wine contains sugar, but an occasional glass of wine (say 2 per week) is not a “threat” for a no sugar diet.

      For 1 serving:
      1 glass of red wine contains (aprox) 0,9g
      1 glass of white wine contains (aprox.) 1.4g

      Hope I’ve helped. Have a great day

    • Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for your comment. Stevia is not a problem regarding the 20 no-sugar days diet. But I would recommend you, instead, go for Pure stevia, for example this all natural stevia available at amazon.com. I’ve recently published an article about stevia that you can check here. Have a great day.

    • Hi Scarlet,

      Thanks for your comment. If you avoid all type of sugars, added-sugar and natural occurring sugar, you’ll have a zero sugar diet. But our body need a few amount of sugar, besides fruit (which contains natural occurring sugar) provide also fibers and vitamins which are very important and needed to our organism. I recommend avoid all type of added-sugar but I would not recommend avoiding the natural occurring sugar. Have a great day.

    • Hi Kathleen,

      Pure Raw Honey is high on natural sugar. I use it very rarely for my muesli breakfast. I would say that instead of moderation, try not to use it frequently. Avoid the habit of using honey everyday or several days on the week. Have a great day.

    • Hi S Maier,

      If it’s low sugar or sugarless it shouldn’t be a problem. The idea with this challenge is to change and create new healthy habits. Avoid sodas, don’t put sugar on tea or coffee. Reduce your sugar intake, this way you’ll not only lose weight but you’ll find the true food flavours and get rid of your sugar addiction. Hope I’ve helped. Have a great day.

    • Hi Jen,

      Better or worse that’s hard do say, they are different. Unsweetened Almond milk is lactose free, no saturated fat, and no cholesterol plus has less calories than skim milk. However Sweetened Almond Milk has more calories than Skim Milk, so be careful when buying. But Skim Milk has one weight loss advantaged, it contains more protein than almond milk, meaning, your body needs more energy to breakdown protein so you burn more calories and the fact that skim milk contains fat, makes you feel full for a longer period. Conclusion, my personal opinion, drink the one you prefer, don’t add sugar and avoid drinking more than 1 cup per day. Hope I’ve helped. Have a great day.

    • Hi Maxine,

      Thanks for your comment. Simple carbs like sodas, cookies, juices, cereals, usually contain high level of sugar and this type of carbs should be avoided to reduce our consumption of added sugar.
      Complex carbs, like quinoa broccoli and beans, containing fiber very important to our diet and they take more time to be digested so you feel full for a longer period, reducing cravings, and less cravings means less food so less calories and boom we lose weight.

      In this challenge I just wanted to motivate you to get rid of sugar addiction. Once you’ve done that you can go a step forward and reduce processed grains like rice and pasta, and substitute with whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, and whole-wheat pasta. And start a low carb diet, I’ve shared a simple and easy low carb diet here. Hope I’ve helped. Have a great day.

    • Hi Rayana,

      Thanks for your comment. Sure, once in a while honey is not a problem. The major problem is that too many people have over 35 grams of added sugar per day (1 can of coke is 35 grams, the max added sugar we should have in one day). Occasional added sugar is not the problem, the problem is the unhealthy habits of having too much sugar every day. The idea here is to remove those unhealthy moments of your life. Good luck with your challenge. Have a great day.

    • Hi Alexandra,

      Sure, whole grains are very healthy and specially helpful to lose weight as our body takes long time to break them so we fell full for a long period of time. Have a great day.

    • Hi Karen,

      Thanks for your comment, that’s a very interesting question. I started to answer here but quickly my answer start to get longer and longer so I decided to post an article just to answer your question. You can find my answer here. Hope I’ve helped.

  5. Hey Sarah,

    i’ve been on this diet for 28 days now, and i can safely say this is amaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!
    i’m actually considering living like this, but is it okay to go with zero added sugar? i mean you said that 9 teaspoons for men is recommended, so i could be eating less than that…
    what about chocolates :D, can i give myself a free day? how frequent?

    • Hi Haitham !

      Wow Congrats, You’ve done it ! I’m so happy to read your words, because I felt exactly the same once I finish my 20 no-sugar days challenge and that’s the main reason I want to motivate others to do it !

      No problem on going with zero added sugar, because you have natural occurring sugar on fruit and milk.

      But now I would like to ask you ? First, don’t you taste food in a different way ? Don’t you found fruit to taste more sweet than before ? And, when you have a high added sugar chocolate or ice cream, that you can only eat a little bit as it taste too sweet ?

      To answer your question, of course you can have a free day or 2 days or even every day, as your body will naturally feel that’s enough after a little bit of sugar. You’ll feel that only a little bit of added sugar is more than enough. Now you can enjoy sweets without overeating and constantly looking for more and more.

      Thanks a lor for sharing your experience, and I’ld love to know your answers of my previous questions. Thanks and have a great day.

      • Hey Sarah,

        Sorry for my late reply, well i feel that i taste things a lot better now, i mean it’s as if the taste buds have higher sensitivity now, for me fruits have become so much sweeter now, i can actually get over a sugar craving by eating an apple (which was never the case before), i haven’t had any chocolate or ice cream in my last 35 days but i did once eat a cookie which was way too sweet, i mean it was nice but just too much.

        do you have any recommendation of how many chocolates i could/should eat a week/month, i really don’t want to lose what i’ve done.

        i feel way more energetic, i sleep a lot better, i don’t crave food as much and i’ve lost a lot of belly fat!!!

        • Hi Haitham !

          Wow that’s awesome. Thank so much for sharing your feedback !

          Getting rid of my sugar addiction changed my life, that’s why I started to read more and write about added sugar and hopefully one day I could motivate others to start the change.

          I’m so happy right now !

          Answering your question: before, I had a real issue with chocolate, I couldn’t stop once I started ! Today I still love chocolate and I avoid having too many, or, sometimes I go for dark chocolate (not so sweet, not so much sugar and it’s way more healthy than the usual chocolates).

I can’t tell you a number, but enjoy your chocolate once in a while and if one day you get too much well, no big deal, just avoid having a lot of added sugar constantly every day.

          Hope I’ve helped and, once again, thanks for your words and hopefully we can motivate others to start their own 20 No-Sugar days challenge.

Have a great day.

  6. Hi,

    I’m thinking of participating in the no sugar challenge and I was just wondering if all sugar (except natural sugar) is banned from consuming? Also is Honey allowed?

    • Hi Raj,

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t like the idea of “banned”, it’s a choice of not having added sugar, or at least, a decision to reduce the consumption of added sugar on our diet. Natural sugars are needed to our body as fruit provides also vitamins and fibres I would never remove fruit from my diet. Sure, enjoy some honey if possible pure honey, just don’t abuse. Remember, the idea is to change our habits and remove the insane amount of sugar that most of us had (or has) on our diet. Do the change and you’ll feel a huge difference on your life, it’s not a promise it’s a fact ! Don’t trust my words, give it a try. Have a great day.

  7. Hey,
    I just wanted to ask…what if I don’t wanna stop after 20 days? Could it cause sone problems? Thanks for the answer 🙂

    • Hi Jo,

      Of course not. The idea behind 20 days, is to create a challenge to yourself. And, if you do 20 days reducing or totally avoiding added sugar you’ll get rid of your sugar addiction and I’m pretty sure (because it happened to me and more people) that after that period your body will tell you when you had enough sugar. You get in balance with your body and you’ll naturally know when you had enough sugar for the day. It’s not a question of “can’t have it” but “don’t want more” it’s a totally different approach. Good luck with your journey and if you feel like it, share your experience with us. Thanks. Have a great day.

  8. Hi Sarah, thank you for these super informations.
    İm so motivated,after reading your article!
    İ at once start with this challenge 🙂

    • Hi Sahar,

      Thanks for your comment. Truvia is an artificial sweetener and I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners and I’ve shared my reasons on this article “What is Wrong with Artificial Sweeteners ?”.
      Truvia is produced Coca Cola Company and Cargill, is considered safe and it contains rebiana, erythritol and “natural flavors”. It’s the second most popular sugar substitute in the US, and yes is calorie free but I prefer not to use it. I prefer to use honey or pure stevia extract. Hope I’ve helped. HAve a great day

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