He gave up alcohol, fake sweeteners and colorings, and junk food, too.
When Sacha Harland, a video team member for Lifehunters based in the Netherlands, decided to ditch refined sugar, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He heard from sources that artificially sweetened, low-nutrient and processed offerings are bad for you but hadn’t experienced first-hand what giving up sugar – and alcohol, foods with artificial flavors or colors, and junk food such as pizza – can do for your health.
He captured his physical and mental journey in the six-minute clip above.
Harland begins by getting a physical before starting the no-sugar experiment, and it turns out he’s fairly fit – though his cholesterol is a bit high. Simultaneously, a fellow team member from Lifehunters goes through the food in Harland’s home and discovers that the majority of items in his cupboard have added sugar. It’s a month without teriyaki sauce and iced tea for Harland, as all the conventionally-produced foods he’s stocked up on have heaps of added sweetener.
“So I have no idea what you’re going to live on, Sacha, but good luck,” says his friend.
With 50% of the population in the Netherlands presently overweight, the experiment serves an important purpose in bringing to light the relation between low-quality food and modern-day diseases of affluence. “You are what you eat” in many ways is true, and is likely one of the reasons Hippocrates, the father of modern-day medicine, said so long ago: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine they food.” An informed individual desiring to live a long and healthy life must make clean eating a priority.
Four days into the experiment, Harland starts experiencing fatigue, chronic hunger, and says he is tempted to eat foods that contain sugar. Flustered by symptoms from his healing crisis, he brings to attention the mass amount of advertisements promoting the sodas and junk food he’s craving. In one clip a friend orders pizza while Harland munches on his umpteenth salad, and in other he’s sitting outside a burger joint, tempted to go in.
The lad even endures movie night with a date keen on beer and popcorn, while he savors water.
By the last week of the experiment, however, Harland no longer feels tempted to start the day with a sugary rush. He learns that his taste buds have been trained to crave salt and sugary-laden items and is delighted to feel long-lasting, more pleasant energy during the day.
The day of Harland’s follow up physical arrives, and he is surprised to see that he’s dropped weight and has lower cholesterol levels. He learns from the experiment that he should keep a predominantly sugar-free, ‘healthy’ diet, but will definitely ‘cheat’ now and again to retain his sanity and enjoy life.
The results of Harland’s experiment may be shocking to those consuming a Standard American or Britain diet, but it affirms what educated health practitioners have been saying for years now: That a predominantly plant-based, unprocessed, and low-glycemic diet is optimal for well-being and longevity.
Harland did enjoy natural sugars from fruit, but chose to cut out all refined varieties – along with alcohol, pizza, and artificial flavors and colorings from his food – and experienced a beneficial shift in his health.
Refined sugars are found in almost commercial product nowadays, so one must be extra vigilant when purchasing foods at the supermarket, or just opt to create wholesome, healthy meals at home.
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