I Quit Sugar for 8 Weeks—Here Are My Amazing Results

by Athena Meshkin


I challenged myself to a no-sugar diet for eight weeks; here are my results.

We’ve all heard about sugar cravings and withdrawals, but I wanted to see what would really happen when I quit sugar for two months. Does living without sugar live up to its promise of more energy and a smaller waist size?

Keep reading to see what two full months without sugar did for my cravings, energy, and overall sense of well-being.

Why is sugar bad for you?

Is sugar really so bad for you in the first place?

For starters, let’s look at what British scientist John Yudkin wrote in 1972: “If only a small fraction of what we know about the effects of sugar were to be revealed in relation to any other material used as a food additive, that material would promptly be banned.”

Yudkin observed that sugar—which is processed in the liver where it then turns to fat—is “a pure carbohydrate, with all fibre and nutrition stripped out.” He also fount that excess sugar consumption had a significant link to the growing rate of heart-related complications.

In the decades since, the sugar industry has only grown.

First, it capitalizes on the sweet tooths of children and busy parents with the convenience of sugary cereals, snacks, and desserts. Second, sugar is now so pervasive in our food culture that limiting it or cutting it out completely can feel overwhelming.

Woman adding sugar packet to coffee to illustrate why sugar is bad for your health

Why I Quit Sugar for 8 Weeks

In light of the side effects of sugar on your health, it’s wise to aim to:

  • limit added sugar
  • focus on real, whole foods
  • be mindful of overall sugar intake

That’s why I went eight weeks without sugar to see if all its promises and challenges were true.

Inspired by the I Quit Sugar program by Sarah Wilson, I took the plunge. This program isn’t about cutting calories, which is great because that never works for me—I feel deprived and rebel. Conversely, the program centers around adding more nutritious foods in sugar’s place.

She makes the distinction that fructose is what we want to avoid in sugar, as this is what makes us eat more, converts into fat, and makes us more susceptible to feeling sluggish and generally unwell.

Luckily, this program allows for certain types of red wine and coffee, so you can still enjoy some things you really love!

My No-Sugar Diet Food diary

My goals for following a sugar-free diet over eight weeks were to:

  • have more energy
  • lose inches around my waist
  • feel lighter
  • attain a healthier lifestyle full of whole, nutritious foods

Week 1: Feeling Pretty Good

For this week, I was supposed to limit my intake of sugary drinks, desserts, high-fructose fruits, and chocolate. Luckily, this wasn’t that hard for me since I already don’t like sugary drinks or eat too much dessert.

However, I do love fruit, so I’m happy that the first week was just a transitional period to slowly reduce sugar. It’s a much easier way to transition so I can mentally prepare!

While giving up coffee isn’t part of the program, I decided to so for the first week to help detox. It was hard at first, but I began having hot water with lemon in the mornings to replace my coffee. This swap actually made me feel a lot better!

Week 1 Results

I didn’t notice too much of a difference in my skin or weight. However, I did feel clearer in my thinking, a little more energized, and less stressed out.

My favorite recipe this week

Cauliflower rice with coconut oil, salt, pepper, cayenne

Woman rinsing cauliflower to make rice

Week 2: Feeling Nervous

This week worried me most, as I had to give up all sugar—including fruit—so the body can recalibrate itself. I learned that the body can’t tell what it actually wants with sugar in the way.

As Sarah Wilson states in the program, “Whenever sugar is in the system, this is impossible to know as we are responding to cravings, highs and lows, and not true hunger and need. It takes about two months to find your blank slate. After that, it’s over to you.”

I also realized that you have to be super careful about added sugar when dining out. I ordered green curry at a Thai restaurant, but had to have them remove the sugar because they add so much for flavoring.

Tip: Watch documentaries and read articles on why sugar is bad for you. It’ll totally get you motivated! My favorites are the documentaries Fed Up and The Secrets of Sugar.

week 2 results

My skin has cleared a little. I’m very aware and sensitive of added or artificial sugars in all foods.

My favorite recipe this week

Organic eggs with grass-fed butter, avocado, spinach, and bacon. The trick is to add more healthy oils, fats, and protein to satiate my sweet tooth.

Week 3: Feeling Tired

This week, I finally started to get used to not having fruit. I don’t like the taste of coffee as much, and I can tell if something has even the slightest bit of sugar or artificial sweetener.

I’m starting to crave chocolate and sweets, especially when I’m tired. When this happens, I force myself to eat real food. I’ve found that maybe I wasn’t actually craving sweets, but was just sleepy or bored.

Tips: Have healthy foods chopped, washed, and ready to grab for a quick fix.

In addition, meet the nine C’s! These are all great snacking alternatives to sugary treats, which have already helped me curb my cravings:

  1. chia seeds
  2. cacao
  3. chai tea
  4. coconut oil
  5. coconut water
  6. coffee
  7. cheese
  8. chicken
  9. cinnamon

Woman holding a glass of chai tea with cinnamon to help curb her cravings on a sugar-free diet

week 3 results

I lost about three pounds this week. My stomach feels more toned and slim.

Bonuses: I’m also saving money on coffee and by not eating out as much. I’ve been cooking way more. I feel better, save money on eating out, and crave less junk food!

My favorite recipe this week

Lamb with vegetables, broccoli salad, and chicken with celery puree.

Week 4: Feeling Better Than Before

I’m starting to get used to everything and have fewer cravings for sugar, caffeine, and even alcohol. My body is changing even more (and so are my taste buds!) which is very interesting to observe.

I’ve substituted full-fat Greek yogurt for ice cream and other sweets. It really does the trick when I’m longing for something naughty. I add in some chia seeds and it’s amazing.

Tip: When a craving kicks in, I get busy by running errands or taking a hot bath to trick my mind to think of other things.

week 4 results

I had more energy, slept better, and felt more hydrated.

Week 5: Feeling Easy + Breezy

This week was so much easier. I’m totally used to no sugar now, and actually prefer it!

I have my recipes and go-to foods and snacks down to the T now, and I’m beginning to really enjoy them. I’m nervous to go back to having sugar in my diet because I don’t want to open the floodgates and lose all my progress. I have to be careful when I can start letting it back in.

Tip: I’ve been making lunch every day and eating at home almost every night. I think this is the key to staying healthy and eating only pure, whole foods. Instead of meeting friends for dinner or lunch, I meet them for coffee/tea, a glass of wine, or a walk.

One surprising benefit of my no-sugar diet: I’m getting more creative!

week 5 results

I feel like I lost five pounds in my stomach area and feel lighter and more clear-minded.

My favorite recipe this week

Rice cake with almond butter, coconut chips, and chia seeds.

Woman on a no sugar diet putting meal prep containers of veggies into fridge

Week 6: feeling Wary

At this stage, I’m able to incorporate about one serving a day of certain fruits (like raspberries, kiwi, and blueberries) and low amounts of sugar back into my diet.

This week went pretty well overall, but I was getting some cravings toward the end. I noticed that once I opened the lid to allowing some sugar in with a few fruits, I wanted more.

Sugar is so addicting once you open the taste for it again. Your brain releases different hormones and alas, the cravings kick in.

week 6 results

I have cravings for gluten-free cakes and organic ice cream. I used to think of them as healthy, but they’re actually loaded with sugar.

I have to be careful with foods that claim to be natural or healthy, and always read the labels.

My favorite recipe this week

This week I started my day with HUM’s Raw Beauty in water to alkalize my body before I eat anything.

It’s been amazing; I feel more energized and crave less sugar. Plus, my digestion has been working really well!

Week 7: feeling Empowered

I feel like my eating habits have changed for the better. It’s amazing that after a few weeks you can really transform a habit for the long haul.

I wake up craving the superfood nutrients from my green powder; my body loves them. Also, the thought of coffee isn’t appetizing to me at all when I wake up because my body doesn’t feel like it powers me with any vital nutrients.

week 7 results

I feel much more hopeful for many other things I want to change, since I now know from experience that it only takes a few weeks of awkward adjustments.

I’m now totally craving my green juice in the morning and not coffee at all, which I never thought would happen! I’m elated.

Healthy margarita with grapefruit and lime for Cinco de Mayo

My favorite recipe this week

I love margaritas, and this week coincided with Cinco de Mayo. To celebrate, I ended up making a healthy dupe that included permitted fruits:

  • a bit of tequila
  • fresh grapefruit + lime
  • coconut aminos
  • sparkling water

Now, for some good news when it comes to alcohol on a no-sugar diet. As the program indicates, “Wine, beer, and pure spirits contain minimal fructose because the fructose in the fruit used to make the spirit is what converts to alcohol.”

So luckily, this week I could add in the small amounts of sugar in these fruits and tequila to make my healthy margarita!

Week 8: Feeling Amazing

I made it and can’t believe I did it! I survived eight weeks without sugar and I feel amazing. I took away a lot of gems and lessons that I’ll definitely continue to use.

My Final No-Sugar Diet Results

Drumroll, please: Here are my final results from going a full eight weeks with no sugar.

  • My digestion has completely improved; I feel much more balanced and healthy.
  • I’m way less bloated.
  • I lost five pounds.
  • I have more energy in the morning.
  • My mood is much better.
  • I’m able to think more clearly.
  • I stress a lot less than usual.
  • I’ve learned about my taste buds and what I actually crave and want.

Fit woman who quit sugar holding Infused Water with Lemon and Cucumber

How I’ll Navigate My New Normal

As far as stopping my cold turkey, sugar-free diet goes, I’ll be sure to bring a few tips and hacks from my challenge into my new normal.

These are some things I’m committed to stick to now that my no-sugar challenge is complete:

1. Continue to drink Raw Beauty mixed in 12 ounces of water first thing every morning.

2. Substitute dessert for fresh berries, a glass of wine, or little bit of grass-fed cheese with nuts.

3. Treat myself to full-fat Greek yogurt with chia seeds—and sometimes raspberries if I want a touch of sweetness—instead of ice cream.

4. Snack on homemade “nut bark” instead of chocolate. My recipe includes almond butter mixed with coconut oil, cacao nibs, and coconut chips. Lay it flat on aluminum to freeze, then break up so it becomes a chocolate almond coconut bark.

5. Opt for gluten-free foods whenever I can.

6. Always choose grass-fed and organic meats and dairy.

7. Cook more meals at home and take lunches to work to save money. Plus, cooking is therapeutic and not as hard as I thought! It only takes a bit of planning and dedicating time for yourself which is harder than you think.

8. Choose red wine instead of sugary mixed drinks. (Red wine contains minimal fructose; the fructose in grapes is what ferments to become alcohol.)

9. Have some type of green in every meal.

10. Make hydrating more palatable with lemon, cucumber, and/or berries.

Final Thoughts

Although it was difficult at first to let go of my sugar cravings, I think it was so worth it to get back in touch with my taste buds and see what my body actually wants.

Now that I quit sugar for eight weeks, I feel much more in control of my food choices and what I put into my body, which is what I really wanted to get out of this experience.

I’m also much more aware of which foods contain sugar. I look forward to continue listening to my body so I can feel happy and full of vitality, life force, and natural energy!

Last but not least, it was also great having a friend to do this with. We gave each other ideas, motivation, and encouragement—so buddying up is a great final tip to take forward anytime I’m on a mission to change my habits.

For further reading, be sure to also check out our 30-day no-sugar results here!

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