My daughter made chocolate chip cookies. She used both brown and white sugar, and three kinds of chocolate: milk, semi-sweet, and dark. They smelled and looked heavenly.

My granddaughter brought me one. “No, thank you,” I said in a tiny, high-pitched voice.

“May I have it?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said with a sad smile.

As I write this, I’m eight days into a 30-day sugar fast. The fast consists of not using sugar, sugar substitutes, honey, or syrup. And not eating anything that has sugar as one of the top three ingredients. (You’d be amazed how many foods this includes.)

How am I feeling? Terrible. But that’s expected. Research told me that I’d hit a rough patch when my body, convinced that it wasn’t going to get sugar, would begin to transition to burning fat for energy.


As a young boy, my favorite sandwich was made from bread, butter, and sugar. It was called, not surprisingly, a sugar sandwich. This was not something my mother served me, but rather a delight introduced on the sly by my brother. So I shall blame him for my lifelong sugar addiction.

In the 1950s – around the same time my brother and I were slathering and overloading slices of Wonder bread – there began to be evidence linking sugar with coronary heart disease. In the 1960s, a group called the Sugar Research Foundation paid three Harvard professors to produce a bogus report.

It was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and said there was limited evidence linking sugar and heart disease. It indicated that cholesterol and fat, not sugar, were the major dietary risk factors. This dollar-backed lie led to a “low cholesterol” and “low fat” craze in the food industry, while sugar was quietly added to just about every food item produced, wrecking the health of the nation.

None of that matters. I never worried about fat or cholesterol, and if there had been a warning about sugar, I would have ignored that, too. Even now, when the ill effects of sugar are well known, my appetite for the sweet stuff hasn’t waned.

I drink four cups of herbal tea a day, each one laced with two heaping teaspoons of raw sugar. I shamelessly sprinkle sugar on sweetened cereal. I eat double desserts after a meal. A candy bar with a candy bar chaser is a semi-regular event. At my desk, I can polish off a large bag of M&Ms or malted milk balls during a single writing session.

My latest physical showed no ill effects from my sweet lifestyle. Blood pressure? Fine. Blood sugar? Fine. Overall health? Fine.

So why am I on a 30-day sugar fast?

Just to see if I can do it. And how it makes me feel. Will my palate reset? Will I lose my craving for sweet stuff? Will my energy level go up or down?

(My daughter put three of her amazing cookies in our freezer. It gladdens my heart knowing they’re waiting for me.)

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