Feb 08

Sugar Free February (1 of 3)

Have you jumped on the Sugar Free February bandwagon?  If so, congratulations.  I do believe that being as free from sugar as you can is a fine thing to do to support your overall health, and much of the evidence tends to agree with me which, in the end, is what matters.  If you have questions about sugar free February, or are experiencing some symptoms from withdrawing from sugar, this series of posts is for you.  It’s designed to answer questions I see on the Internet, but if you have a different question, I’d love you to leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to answer it.

This post is number 1 of 3.  In it, I’ll discuss:keep-calm-it-s-only-sugar-free-february

  • What is Sugar Free February?

  • Why bother with it, and what are the benefits?

  • Why I’m in favour of it

  • What it entails

  • Who shouldn’t do it

What is Sugar Free February?

It’s an initiative designed to allow people to try sugar freedom for a month.   Many people take part in order to raise money or awareness for Cancer Research UK, while supporting their own health at the same time.

Why Bother?

Sugar gets a bad press, but is it necessary to give it up altogether?  Surely everything in moderation is fine.  The problem is, because sugar is added to so much food without our even knowing it that moderation is much easier said than done.  Since sugar is in so many products, we have become used to things tasting sweeter than they need to be.  This can make it difficult to appreciate the natural tastes of food in all their glory.  Experiencing life without sugar could open up a whole new world of fabulous flavours.

Need some help identifying the hidden sugars in your diet and making healthier choices?  Click this writing to download my FREE e-book for my fun quiz and expert tips.

It’s clear that added sugar is not conducive to health.  Sugar has no nutritional value; it merely provides energy.  In the Western diet, we’re not short of energy sources, quite the reverse, so sugar really isn’t necessary.  We can manage just fine without it, and most people are eating more than they need.


Eating too much sugar has been implicated in a whole range of the chronic illnesses which blight the Western world. These include:

  • Heart diseaseunhealthy white sugar concept

  • High blood pressure

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Some cancers

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (the fastest-growing killer disease in the West)

  • Tooth decay

  • Mental health problems.

So, cutting down on sugar is a great way to support your long-term health without sacrificing any of the nutritional value of food.

I’m in favour of Sugar Free February because:

  • It raises awareness of just how much sugar is hidden in the food on the supermarket shelves, and encourages us to be discerning and look for alternatives.

  • It allows the opportunity to enjoy the taste of food again. The sweetness of sugar can mask the more subtle flavours in a food.  Who knows what you could be missing out on?

  • You can raise money for Cancer Research UK. Most people have lost someone to cancer.  Anything that helps beat this terrible disease has to be good.

  • It’s a really easy way to start taking control of your health.

What exactly does quitting sugar mean?

Sugar free February was an initiative developed by Cancer Research UK to encourage people to make healthier choices.  Surprisingly, they’re a little vague on what they mean by ‘sugar’.  This particular initiative seems to be about giving up foods containing refined sugars, such as:

  • Cakes, desserts and confectionary

    Sugar can go by many names. Remember to read labels carefully.

    Sugar can go by many names. Remember to read labels carefully.

  • Sweetened drinks

  • Jams and condiments

  • Sugary cereals

  • Other foods which contain added sugar (check the label)

Cancer Research UK provide a handy guide to what they consider to be going sugar free, which you can read here: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/sites/default/files/g1411_cruk_sff_lowdown_01b.pdf

Some people may choose to use this opportunity to cut down on all forms of refined carbohydrate, such as white bread, pasta and white rice.  After all, your blood sugar may have exactly the same response to white bread as it does to a sugary drink.  However, this isn’t specified in Cancer Research’s literature, so it may be a step too far.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t do it?

For the vast majority of people, this is a worthwhile, healthy and safe thing to do.  However, there are some people for whom it may be less appropriate.  If you have the following conditions, you should check in with your doctor before participating:

  • An eating disorder, or a history of eating disorders

  • Cachexia (wasting of the body caused by chronic illness); sugar may be your only way to get sufficient energy fast

  • A condition that makes you prone to hypoglycaemia. If you have an attack, you’ll need some sugar to get you functioning again.Successful young business woman happy for her success jumping. I

Everyone reacts to being free of sugar differently, but some of the benefits that people have experienced in the past include:

  • More energy

  • Losing some weight

  • Improved skin

  • Improved digestion

  • A healthier relationship with food

Before you experience the benefits, you may experience some less pleasant symptoms.  I’ll talk about those in my next post, and answer some frequently asked questions about what to eat, so stay tuned!

Disclaimer: nothing in this post is a medical opinion, or a substitute for professional medical advice.  If you are concerned about any symptoms, please consult your doctor.

Would you like to be free of sugar and refined carbs for good, and not just for February?  Then check out my online course, ‘Stronger Without Sugar’.

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