There are two types of sugar in this world: the good and the bad. You'll find the good kind in fruits as fructose and in dairy products as lactose. While there's a significant amount of sugar in these foods, they're also rich in fiber and contain vitamins that are important for a healthy diet. The bad kind of sugar is refined sugar, which appears in desserts, condiments, soda, and processed foods. "It’s known as sucrose,” says dietitian Rachel Link, and it derives from processing cane sugar.
Eight months ago, I cut refined sugar—the bad type—out of my diet. My holistic doctor suggested quitting might help me get a handle on the unexplained lethargy, acne, and headaches I was experiencing. It wasn't easy, but I managed to go from more than 70 grams of refined sugar a day to eating less than 20. I’d constantly consult a list of foods to avoid that was secured to my refrigerator door (now my mom, boyfriend, and I have it memorized). Holidays are a true test of willpower, and going out to eat is considered a cheat, because you can’t know what’s in food if you’re not cooking it. Here's how my life changed.