March 11, 2016 – What Sugar Does to Your Brain
In the summer of 2014, registered dietitian Carole Bartolotto asked 20 of her colleagues at California-based managed-care giant Kaiser Permanente to do the unthinkable: cut out all added sugars and artificial sweeteners for two weeks. To rally her co-workers, she used the motivation tactic du jour and called it a “challenge.” The instructions: No added sweeteners of any kind (including honey, stevia, Splenda). No processed foods exceeding five grams of added sugar per serving. And no more than five servings of fresh fruit daily—no fruit juice.
The first part of the experiment wasn’t pretty, however. More than half the group described intense, uncomfortable sugar cravings that only subsided after three days. For another third, it took six days. Participants suffered headaches, reported that the diet modification required a “great deal of willpower,” and called the first days “brutal.”