What Happens When You Give Up Sugar And Alcohol For A Month

Whoa. Not at all what we expected!

What Happens When You Give Up Sugar And Alcohol For A Month Unsplash 

How difficult could it be to give up sugar, alcohol, unhealthy foods, and artificial additives for a month? It turns out it's a lot more difficult than you'd expect. 

For the Dutch online show Life Hunters, Sacha Harland from The Hague, Holland attempted to live for a month without consuming sugar, alcohol, and processed foods.

To start things off in his quest to find out what happens when you give up sugar and alcohol, Harland went to see a sports doctor who did a workup on his vitals. Harland was pretty healthy, although his cholesterol was a little high. The foods that are healthy enough for Harland to eat were fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, oily fish (salmon), nuts, eggs, and yogurt.


RELATED: The Fool-Proof Plan For Quitting Sugar FOREVER — And For Free!

He had to avoid processed food like pizza, burgers, beer and wine, chocolate bars and popcorn. It shouldn't have been too difficult, right? Boris, the presenter on the show, pointed out some of the surprising things that sugar is in, such as tomato soup, prepared ice tea, and even stir-fry sauces.

In fact, here are some surprising foods you would never expect to have sugar in them:

  1. Tomato-based pasta sauces: they have four teaspoons per 1/2 cup serving, and who only has half a cup of sauce?
  2. Fat-free salad dressings: In order to eliminate the fat but keep the flavor, they add sugar and salt. Sometimes there are as much as two teaspoons of sugar per two tablespoons of dressing!
  3. Smoothies: These are sugar bombs if you don't make them yourself. If you get a commercially-prepared smoothie, you can get as much as nine and one-half teaspoons of sugar per cup.
  4. Barbecue sauce: Most have as much as three teaspoons of sugar in two tablespoons of sauce. This one seems the cruelest one of them all.

You have to read the label of anything you're going to consume if you want to cut down on sugar. If it's one of the top ingredients, avoid it if you can.


RELATED: You Love Chocolate, But Do You Know The REAL Truth About Sugar?

OK, it's easy to see why Harland had to give up sugar, but why alcohol? There's definitely sugar in alcohol, but the sugar content in liqueurs is the highest of all — almost half is sugar.

For his first breakfast, Harland drank a large glass of juice, which was loaded with natural sugar, which is sugar all the same. I guess it was approved, but for the rest of us, juice is something you only want to drink in moderation.

As Harland went through his sugar-alcohol-free month, he had some mood swings and found that tempting foods were everywhere (even his friends didn't hold back from pizza and beer just because he couldn't have them).


But in the end, when he went back to the doctor, he found that he had lost eight pounds, and lowered his blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Begrudgingly he admitted he felt better, but will probably go back to indulging now and then.

Check out the video of the Life Hunters show:

It can be challenging to give up sugar, alcohol, and processed foods, but even if you just try it out for a month, you'd be pleasantly surprised at what happens when you give up sugar and alcohol. Be warned that sugar is secretly in almost everything and you need to be diligent to not consume it.


Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and teacher who loves writing and performing personal narratives. She's had pieces in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Woman's Day, Purple Clover, Bustle, and is a regular contributor to Ravishly and YourTango. Check out her website or her Facebook page.