People’s Reaction to Quitting Sugar – My Experience

This is an entry about my own personal journey with people’s reaction to quitting sugar. I would like to add a little disclaimer that this is my experience only, and that this is not what everyone goes through, but just sharing these feelings allows me to really share the truth about what I went through.

Sugar Free and Loving it!

One Month into Quitting Sugar

Time really flies when you quit sugar… no, no it doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean you give up. You have to strengthen your resolve even more and push through.

I had struggled with cravings, I thought a lot about the things I couldn’t have any more, especially when I was at work. We had a routine of getting coffee and cupcakes; a time to escape the doll-drum of the office and dive into some sweet sugary oblivion. Honestly I would love going to work if I knew it was cupcake and coffee days!

So breaking the habit of coffee and cupcake was hard on me, but I never realized it would be a big deal for other people around me.

I have to admit it was very interesting to see the girls and the reactions to quitting sugar!! It was as if I had decided I wasn’t going to wash my hair anymore and run off and join a cult!

The range of questions being thrown at me, not asked,  was off putting! “How will you cope without sugar?”, “Why do you want to put your family through this, what about your kids! That isn’t very fair to them.”, “But it isn’t sugar that stops people from losing weight, it is dedication to exercise and low fat diets” all the way to an unhelpful suggestion of “why don’t you just switch to a low calorie soft drink instead?”

I must admit, for every bad reaction I had there was always someone supportive and actually inquisitive about what I was doing. Many friends actually came up to me to talk one-on-one about my lifestyle change and how they can go about doing it as well.

I have found that social situations can be a lot trickier than normal when quitting sugar, especially when navigating family holidays where there is a huge expectation for you to eat what you would have normally eaten. No one likes anyone dieting at this time of year – you will hear this a lot “You should start AFTER the holidays so you can have one last splurge!”.

It is always weird when people question your eating habits, but stick to your guns. This change is for you and that is why you are working so hard to make it happen.


  1. Hi Kate, I quit sugar about 6 weeks ago and after feeling lethargic and heavy headed for the first couple of weeks have felt great. I have had a few relapses along the way but have always got back on track. Over the last few days I have started my day with coconut oil in my coffee and due to reported health benefits am also taking green powder. However over last few days I have felt worse than ever, nauseous, lethargic and headaches, which I assume is ‘keto flu’ as I have increased my fat intake. Is it possible to have keto flu at this stage. I feel I have gone backwards somehow as I feel worse now than I did the first couple of weeks. Would be grateful for your advice as really want to get through this.

  2. Ania, I stopped eating carbs for about a month and experiences exactly the same thing. It’s no joke and at some point, while playing basketball, I felt like fainting for the first time in my life. I started eating carbs again and felt immediately better. What works much better for me at least, is to absolutely quit sugar, but keep carbs in general at a level where you don’t feel “weird” all the time (by weird I mean a feeling of being stuck, cold, clogged up, unable to think clearly). Hope this helps!

  3. Hi Kate,
    I gave up sugar right before Halloween. Through a lot of research on my own I discovered how my health might improve if I tried, and I was so surprised with the results! I have Rheaumatiod Arthritis and had been suffering silently with depression for probably longer than I realize. Only after a few days my mood went from not wanted to get out of bed each day, to waking up feeling happy to face the day and excited to see what I could accomplish! Along with a vitamin regimen I have also improved my RA and have come off one of the drugs. The holidays were a challenge but I made it through knowing how good I feel isn’t worth any cookie or candy any more. Some people may think it’s a cute fad to say they are giving up sugar, but this is change has been life altering to a point I never would have imagined possible. I encourage anyone to go through the process and learn as much as you can about the effects of sugar on your physical and mental health, and at least control the amount of sugar you take in daily.

  4. Thank you for sharing! It’s so good to know that none of us are really alone in this battle.
    I quit in August 2014, and am so sick of the judgement, and comments, and constant “c’mon, just this little piece!”. From my friends, no less!
    I can’t for the life of me understand why people take it so personally that I have chosen to quit, and are so adamant to get me to “crack”. It’s not as though I’m forcing or even asking anyone to quit with me. You would never see that happening to someone who has quit smoking, right!?
    All I can say is that it feels so good when those same suckers ask me what skin products I’m using because it looks so good, now! Best decision ever 😀

    • Hi Ally,

      Fantastic news on kicking the habit! I have found that the influence from friends and co-workers to be the hardest to deal with. People who don’t know me very well find it challenging when I opt to not eat sweet food and try to find a better option. Also, older members of my family struggle to understand!

      Keep up the great work Ally and promote the great benefits that you have felt and you never know, some people might do the same!

    • one of our hardware//clothing/general stores called The Factory Shop has started high pressure sales of chocolate at the checkout rarely taking no as an answer at first! i think this is wrong as the government want us to eat less sugar and we should be eating less sweets and chocolate not being press ganged into buying chocolate with our household goods?

  5. Annabelle says:

    I am a 17 turning 18 year old Australian, and am currently in grade 12. As the Easter holidays approach I have decided that this Friday (first day of Easter holidays) I am going to quit sugar (or most of it anyway), by instead of spending Easter eating chocolate I am going to stop mostly, and am going to allow only a few sweet/sugary foods through just because I think that as I am still at school it might affect me as I am aware of the withdrawal symptoms that can affect your energy levels, the way you feel, and mood, and can pop up after months after quitting, and am not willing to jeopardise my mental well being at school. By allowing things such as =>fruits, honey, GF home made bread (as I am Gluten [and Dairy] free, even though don’t really eat bread anyway), GF home made pasta, and organic, low-sugar, soy milk<=, I am planning to somewhat trick my body into accepting a light withdrawal, but still quit the really sugary foods, such as chocolates, all fruit juice and soft drink (a part from soda water obviously), lollies, factory-made pasta, factory-made bread, ice-cream, meat pies, sausage rolls, anything with a lot of sugar in it basically.
    The Easter holidays go for about 3 weeks and so I am hoping for that to give me some time to allow mood swings, tiredness, and headaches to pass, or even just begin to develop somewhat so I can prepare and be ready for school to begin again.
    I was just wondering how long it takes for the average person to successfully quit sugar and beat the symptoms of withdrawal?

    • Hi Annabelle,

      That sounds like a smart choice to take it slow and steady with removing sugar from your diet. You are in a crucial year at school and you wouldn’t want that jeopardized.

      Most people, it takes the full 4 weeks to really get over their symptoms for sugar withdrawals, but since you are doing a more slow and steady removal of sugar, then you may find that you don’t really experience it that badly. If you are aware of your moods, and your energy levels and use the crowding out method by eating loads of greens and proteins, then you won’t feel too bad.

      You have the holidays to adjust yourself, so if you are feeling good and want to do a little more, you can cut back on the pasta, and potentially look at making zucchini noodles ( this is something that won’t really affect you greatly, plus your whole family might enjoy the different type of pasta!

      I would also like to add a note about success and quitting sugar. This is very subjective for everyone! There is no wrong or right way to do this and there is no final outcome that you can say “done” and it is over. You are just setting yourself up to make better choices and to make a decision to eat less sugar overall. No one will judge you (though, to be truthful, some people will and that is their problem) and no one can make you put food into your mouth. Keep being positive and do what is best for you. You are at such a young age that these good behaviors and choices will make your adulthood a lot easier and healthier!

  6. Hi Kate

    I’m intrigued by this sugar-quitting movement, and would like to try it for myself. But I do not understand how it is practical to quit sugar. I understand that the health benefits are great, but you would be restricting your life in so many ways. Let me explain:

    Pretty much all food that isn’t fresh meat or vegetables contains SOME sugar. I have yet to come across a single breakfast cereal that has no sugar. Even milk contains sugar, as do plain crackers and potato crisps. It seems like the only way to avoid sugar is to eat 100% natural food (I.e. food that has not been made in a factory).

    Also, how do you cope with most common social situations? E.g. you go out for a coffee with your friend, or you go to a birthday party? They can’t be specially catering for you if you do not eat anything containing sugar. What about when you go on holiday? You can’t cook for yourself, so how do you manage your sugar-free requirements? Don’t you find that sugar-free eating holds you back and restricts your life in so many ways? Any advice would be much appreciated.

    I am keen on quitting sugar, but I just can’t see how it can work practically in the 21st century. Could you please give me a little insight into the above questions and thoughts. Thanks, Joe.

  7. I started the slow progress into quitting sugar a few weeks ago. I tried to be as gradual as I could be but I also had a breast cancer scare and am now more resolute than ever to cut sugar and see how it helps me. Well this is day three of literal no refined sugar. I have had an apple, some blueberries, and a banana in three days and that’s it. Day three and I am dragging. I am irritable. I am grabbing for fillers to “take my mind off” the thing I know I really crave. I am short of feeling murderous. How long does this caveman inside of me going to last? I had no idea cutting sugar would be like this. It’s insane.

  8. No offence guys but I think if you really want something you will go for it. I quit sugar three weeks ago am really feeling re -energised . They way I think about it is one teaspoon of sugar is 4grams, if they product on the shelf has more than 4 I do not touch it. Sugar is obviously still in my diet and in all our diets. Right? Fruits, milk etc. I think Kate is just saying we can keep it to the bare minimum and be healthier.

    As for the social situations? Thats never sropped anyone from quitting. Cigarettes, alcohol, its always tough to make a change.

    Great blog kate!
    Thank you

  9. lisa osbourne says:

    Hi Kate,I gave up sugar in August 2014 after reading Sarah Wilson book. It is now a way of life for me. It’s fun finding new recipes and if I do need something sweet-I can have this-its just learning to cook/bake a different way.I have list 2 stones in weight,look younger and my skin glows!

  10. lisa osbourne says:

    In addition, reading labels is a must-you can gave cereal -Ready Brek is zero sugar and Sainsburys make Organic cornflakes which are 0.6g per serving. Change to full fat milk-less sugar and butter. Educate yourselves with what you can and can’t eat. If there is something that you really want to eat -think how to adapt it. I love Shepherds pie-but all the sachet mixes (powdered) are full of sugar-so I make my own with herbs,stock qube and apple or white wine vinegar.

  11. Hey Kate,

    So the whole reason I decided to quit sugar is because I have glandular fever and am in the first few weeks of uni. Apparently sugar is one of the worst things for you when you have glandular fever so I figured I would quit it whilst I’m unwell. I’m onto my third day with no sugar and I have never seen my body change so much. I have the obvious symptoms like tiredness and slight fatigue but within these three days, I have already started to notice that my stomach is becoming flatter (albeit a small difference) and that my sickness symptoms aren’t as bad as the previous day. I’m yet to have cravings or headaches but I could have other effects that are just being hidden by the glandular fever side effects. Your website is one of the best I have found in terms of recipes and advise, I can’t wait to see where my sugarless journey takes me!

  12. I am completely addicted to sugar! I am a fitness competitor and once i have sugar I just cant stop, this is becoming a daily occurance and whilst i train hard so will not become overweight it makes me feel sick and is stopping my results from being better, how can you break the addiction, I know it is more a mind thing!

    • Hi Angela, it is HARD to break the addiction to sugar!!!! You just have to chip at it day by day. Some people have amazing self control and can quit sugar cold turkey, but others – like me, we have to work on it daily. Just change one thing in your diet and this is the first steps to taking control over the habit! Good Luck on your journey!!

  13. Hi All

    I have cut out red and white meat from my diet and it has been 7 months now without.
    I eat Eggs and Fish but still feel like I crave sugar a lot more maybe for energy reasons and I do tend to train hard a lot and am trying to have a balanced diet but sugar is my enemy as I am so addicted to it! If I don’t eat meat and now don’t have any sugar will that cause me to have less energy?