By Leo Babauta

This is a guide for those who want to do the sugar-free challenge. I give some suggestions below, and feature an interview with Sarah Wilson, author of I Quit Sugar in the section below.

So what is the sugar-free challenge? It’s basically refraining from eating food with added sweeteners, and exploring a less-processed diet instead.

Why do it? Well, the reasons can be varied depending on what’s important to you, but here are some reasons:

I’ve honestly never done a sugar-free challenge, but millions have, and they’ve found it a very healthy thing to do, whether or not they continued to eat very little added sugar.

A Suggested Weekly Schedule

Here’s a suggested schedule (adapted from Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar, see interview below):

This is just a suggested schedule, but you can figure out a schedule that works for you — just decide beforehand, not during the week.

What To Eat, What Not To Eat

Here are some things to consider not eating:

  1. Table sugar or anything with added sugar or fructose
  2. Anything with high-fructose corn syrup, or other corn sweeteners, evaporated cane juice
  3. Honey, agave, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, molasses, brown sugar, coconut sugar, anything with “syrup” or “sugar” in the ingredients
  4. Dried fruit
  5. Sauces that have added sugar (barbecue sauce, ketchup, sweet and sour, etc.)
  6. Fruit juices, or foods with fruit juice added

What you can eat:

  1. Fruits (other than Weeks 2 & 3)
  2. All kinds of vegetables
  3. Whole grains, breads (without added sugar), rice, other grains
  4. Nuts, seeds, oils, nut butters (without added sweeteners)
  5. Meats, tofu, beans, lentils, eggs, other proteins
  6. Dairy (if sugar isn’t added)

Basically, anything without added sugar.

Interview with Sarah Wilson

In this audio interview, I ask Sarah Wilson, author of I Quit Sugar about how to go sugar-free:

Download or listen to the audio interview here (mp3).

You can find Sarah’s 8-week challenge and more at these links:


Discuss this challenge on this forum thread.