A picture frame of a sugar bowl and spoon with cracked glass.

Breaking Up With Sugar

Let's talk about added sugar. Sugar is amazing! It has always been there for me. We've celebrated everything together. Birthdays. Graduations. Weddings. Game nights.

We've relaxed together on hot summer days and cozied under a blanket together on cold winter nights. Sugar has also been there for me in tough times. Breakups, goodbye parties, and even funerals. I could always depend on sugar.

However, as reliable as sugar has been in my life, we've had our own tough times:

  • Sometimes, when sugar came to celebrate, I left feeling sick or overly anxious.
  • There were times when I really wanted to have space from sugar, but I just couldn't keep away. My inability to simply separate from sugar created an unhealthy relationship.
  • One of my biggest problems with sugar was horrible brain fog if we spent too much time together.

Epilepsy and sugar intake

With epilepsy, I want to avoid as much extra brain fog as possible. I don't need an extra layer of mist in my mind to cloud my thoughts. I want to be as healthy as I can. Reducing brain fog and staying seizure-free helps not just me but my family as well. I want to be in the best shape that I can be.

I'll also note that studies show that blood glucose levels that are too low or too high can trigger seizures. So that's another reason people with epilepsy may want to be careful with their sugar intake.1

So what's the right amount of sugar intake?

I want to thank Harvard Medical School for helping me see the positive about my love for sugar. Vera Novak, MD, PhD says, "The brain is dependent on sugar as its main fuel."2

However, another wonderful article from Harvard explains exactly how much sugar is recommended for daily intake:3

  • Adult women should have only 24 grams of sugar.
  • Adult men should have only 36 grams of sugar.

Sugar and I were way better friends than 24 grams a day. My 8-ounce Arizona Ice Tea has 24 grams of added sugar in it! What about my coffee creamer or summer ice cream or winter cocoa?

Side effects when removing sugar from diet

I decided a couple of weeks ago that added sugar and I had to officially break up. I went cold turkey. I even went the first 3 days without fruit. I didn't want to be tempted if I bit into a sweet strawberry. Let me tell you something... Sugar did not want to break up with me. My side effects were overwhelming.

I told myself this was all worth it. To be honest I was starting not to believe it. Especially since I still had brain fog!

Getting rid of brain fog from sugar

At first, the main reason I stuck with cutting out sugar was I lost weight. This really gave me a positive to focus on as I struggled with cravings, headaches, and brain fog. Then week one ended. Thank God for that! Day 8 I no longer had even a slight headache and I noticed my joints felt better. My mind was starting to feel clearer as well.

Day 15 is here. My mind is clear! In the past I would occasionally have a feeling of heaviness in my head. That has gone away as well. My anxiety has even lessened. Due to these amazing changes, my motivation has returned to my original reasons.

Now, I must say that added sugar and I had a great run. However, the way I am feeling now isn't worth repeating the roller coaster history sugar and I had. I'm excited to continue my healthy lifestyle sugar-free.

Always remember, you are not alone.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The EpilepsyDisease.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.