Exactly two years ago, I quit eating added sugar. I vividly remember watching That Sugar Film on Netflix in June 2017 (currently available on Amazon Prime); once the movie had finished, I stood up, opened my kitchen cabinets, and read every label in my pantry. With a heavy heart, I threw away (or gave away) 95% of the food in my kitchen because it was then that I realized 95% of the food I had been buying for years–the food I loved so much and that was supposed to be healthy–had added sugar.
I remember having to pick my jaw up from the floor when I saw that my favourite “healthy” Pad Thai sauce had 62 grams of sugar. I repeat, 62 grams (for reference, a nasty, sugary can of Coke has 11 grams of sugar)! I was utterly confused! To put it into perspective, nutrition experts say we shouldn’t go above 6-7 teaspoons of sugar per day. So I did the math. Each teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams of sugar, which meant my beloved Pad Thai sauce had 15.5 teaspoons of sugar! Twice the daily limit.
Before watching the movie, I knew sugar wasn’t great. But I knew so little about sugar’s impact on the body and mind that I didn’t bother to do anything about it. I also wasn’t aware that a lot of the “health” foods out there had tons of added sugar. Sure, I expected fast foods, sweets, and sodas to have lots of sugar. But Pad Thai sauce, ketchup, or peanut butter? Not so much.
Sugar Daze and Disillusionment
The thing about sugar is that it’s not only addictive but also induces brain fog, makes you tired, and creates sugar insensitivity so that you need more, which essentially creates a cycle of addiction, brain fog, and fatigue.
Before I eliminated sugar from my diet, I would go through my day with a constant need to snack, drink coffee, and snack more. After each meal, if I didn’t get another helping of sugar and caffeine, I would almost fall asleep. I couldn’t focus; my mental and physical energy was completely depleted. At around 3-4 PM, I would feel so sleepy to the point where it would’ve been dangerous for me to drive a vehicle. I needed another shot of sugar and caffeine.
This weird energy cycle made me disappointed with my performance. You need to understand that I was a young, healthy, fit, and ambitious individual who was having the time of his life running an online business and helping others start and grow their online empires! But I felt my performance was lacking because of those spikes and drops in my energy level. I knew I needed a change, and I looked to a sugar-free diet to see if it could stabilize my energy.
Embracing a No-Sugar Lifestyle
When I first stopped eating sugar, the lack of energy only got worse. The first two weeks after I decided to try a sugar-free diet, I felt like a zombie! I could not focus, I had cravings, I had zero energy. My body was fighting with me and demanding that I give it sugar. I had clear withdrawal symptoms, and I had to get through two weeks of withdrawal symptoms before seeing any results (my wife had withdrawal symptoms for about 3-4 weeks).
But when I came out on the other side, I slept better, I could work out at 6 AM for 1-1.5 hrs without feeling depleted of energy. My energy levels were stable throughout the day. Instead of having those energy ups and downs, I would wake up, feel energetic, and stay that way until late at night.
A Sugar-Free Lean, Business-Building Machine
As I started navigating a world without added sugar, I learned that there is life on the other side. And it’s not a miserable life, either. Beyond my stable energy levels, the overall change had a tremendous impact on my fitness and business life. Even though I was never chubby, I still lost weight. My body composition changed; I was leaner and faster. My skin looked healthier. I had more energy for my workouts, which resulted in gaining lean muscle mass.
Because I had more energy and less brain fog, I had more time to productively work on my business and help others build their businesses. I was sharper during meetings and more creative and efficient in execution. I made better decisions.
Singing Sugarless Praises
As my wife and I journeyed through a sugarless world and gained more experience living the lifestyle, I started inviting others to try it too. After a year, for example, my father flew from Europe to Canada for a visit. He is (or rather was) a die-hard fan of cakes and fruit juices, and I was able to convince him (with the help of That Sugar Film) to try out a diet free from added sugar. And guess what happened. He lost 20 lbs in 3 weeks just by avoiding added sugar and eliminating some foods with high sugar content from his meal plan.
Enjoying the Sweeter Things
As you erase added sugar from your diet, you might expect that you’ll miss your regular treats. But rest assured, your palette changes, and things that weren’t so sweet before become a lot sweeter. For example, a regular banana tastes like candy now. I also still enjoy chocolate and cakes, but only if they’re made without any added sugar. And I know that may sound unappealing, but I’ve got a recipe for vegan cheesecake that will most definitely change your mind!
If you’re still not sold, just imagine waking up in the morning and having enough energy to both work out and take the business world by storm. Imagine having razor-sharp brainpower that allows you to constantly create ideas and think of ways to grow and manage your business. Imagine having the energy to stay on top of your tasks throughout the day and reach your health and business goals by leveraging all the hours you have in a day! The way to achieve that is quite simple: Eliminate added sugar from your diet.
So start reading food labels and prepare to feel a bit uneasy for 2-4 weeks, but understand there is life on the other side of the sugar-flavored illusion, and once you get here, you’ll be ready to reach your peak potential!
If you’d like to get more tips on how to quit sugar and reach your peak performance, click here.
Michal [Mehow] Koziol is a business and performance coach helping others reach their peak performance in life and in business. He helps build and grow businesses by eliminating confusion and overwhelm from the process while keeping his clients laser-focused on activities that move the needle. He builds effective business and marketing strategies for offline and online businesses.