(NaturalNews) While deep down we all know that too much sugar and alcohol can be unhealthy, many of us just don't seem to care or realize how much we actually consume and how our consumption impacts our overall health.
A Dutch filmmaker, Sacha Harland from The Hague, took up the challenge to go without added sugar, artificial flavorings, junk food and alcohol for one month. Sacha, together with one of his colleagues, documented the whole process, both physical and emotional.
His journey may inspire you to do the same.
The check and clean-up
Before the experiment, Sacha's general health was tested. Although he seemed like a reasonably healthy guy, his cholesterol levels and blood pressure were slightly off. Given this initial assessment, he didn't expect any major results after his 30-day experiment.
After the check-up, he soon realized that he couldn't have most of his favorites and had to throw out practically everything in his kitchen. From iced tea (10 lumps of sugar a bottle), to stir-fry sauces (15 lumps of sugar per package) and even tomato soup (5 lumps of sugar per bowl).
With sugar and flavoring hiding in nearly all processed foods available in the market, fresh vegetables, fruits, water, eggs and whole grains became his main food sources for the duration of the experiment.
Physical and emotional struggle
Kicking a sugar addiction is not easy. First, our body goes through withdrawal and detoxing symptoms. During the first week, Sacha felt easily tired and craved sweet and salty snacks. Going out with friends, ordering take-out or simply buying a drink in a convenience store were real tortures.
He couldn't find a drink other than water which had no sugar, alcohol or flavorings. By day four, he felt really cranky and hungry all the time.
Just when he was about to go crazy, however, things started to brighten up.
A visit to dietitian Marlou Bosma taught him a lot about the benefits of a healthy diet and the negative effects of sugar and alcohol on our bodies.
"Sweet things make you crave for more. Your blood sugar rises, insulin is created to bring it down. Then you want sweet things again," she said in the video.
"Sugar wants vitamins, it makes you tired. Alcohol does that to you, you dehydrate. You will feel fitter after a month without sweets, alcohol and preserved foods," Marlou added.
After his dietitian's pep talk, Sacha grew determined to stick to his new diet and started to feel more energized.
Fast forward 25 days and he could now state in front of the camera, with pride in his eyes, that for the first time ever, he didn't crave for sweets anymore.
"The last week is almost over. I get up easier and have energy to spare. That was a pleasant surprise. I didn't think it would make this much difference to my physical constitution."
And while he already felt the difference, he went to the physician once again to see if she could track any progress in his health. There, he was pleasantly surprised to discover that he had lost eight pounds, his blood pressure went from 135 to 125, cholesterol went down eight percent and his blood sugar level was much lower than before.
To conclude his month without sugar, flavorings and alcohol, he said: "The beginning was very hard. But eventually I detoxed from the sugar and it went very well."