No Sugar Coating—Part 2!

The Carebook Team’s 30 Day Sugar-Free Challenge! How a shared goal made our team healthier and stronger.

After a solo sugar experiment where I gave up sugar for 30 days, some Carebook team members encouraged me to write about it. (Admittedly, it felt a bit weird to share my highly personal sugar addiction and the journey I went on to shake it. But I did.)

For me, the benefits of going sugar-free were significant enough that I decided to continue. After I posted the blog, quite a few Carebook team members expressed interest in trying the same experiment. We’re lucky enough to have a nutritionist on our team who became a champion for a larger-scale team challenge. She set the stage for everyone to try and follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation for cutting down on free sugars.

Since everyone on the team was starting at a different place, we all had different goals. Some people didn’t eat much added sugar, but they wanted to try adding more veggies to their diet. Some said they might not be able to function without their afternoon cookie habit, so they aimed to give that up. Some added sugar to their coffee and wanted to get rid of it. Everyone did things a bit differently, but in general we all aimed to give up: baked good, desserts, candies, sweetened drinks of all kinds (hot and cold), sugary condiments (yes, this means ketchup and BBQ sauce!), and commercial, processed foods like cereal and cereal bars.

We set up a kickoff meeting to go over the rules, then started a #sugardetox chat channel to share our day-to-day suffering experiences. 😉 Then, together as a team, we took the plunge into a sugar-free existence. Here’s a glimpse into our findings:


Almost everyone who reported on their emotional journey felt scared at the start. “I don’t know if I can do it.” “How will I live without beer?” “Eating out and on-the-go will be really hard.” Even though we were jumping off at different places, since we were all jumping in the same direction, it felt good to be in it together.


We created a #sugardetox Slack channel. What started as a repository of hilarious memes, frightened rants, and ingredient label photos (with accompanying shocked and sad faces) grew to a community of shared recipes and sincere cheering. (Of course, the overachievers of the bunch posted gorgeous Instagram-worthy food pics, but most of us survived day-to-day and loved having an empathetic group to commiserate with.)


Most of the crew reported losing at least a few pounds (up to eight pounds!) in the 30 days of being sugar-free. But the other benefits included feeling more energetic throughout the whole day, more even-keeled, and that it was exciting to have family get on board. The other surprising benefit that people reported was that it gave them a boost of confidence that they could take on challenges like this. So maybe this is the start of something bigger?


Almost everyone who reported in after their sugar-free 30 days said they liked being accountable to the people around them. They said it helped having both the pressure and the support. But a few people didn’t enjoy it and they felt people would judge them if they wanted to go back to their sugary habits.


Overall, our first team challenge was overwhelmingly successful. We’re embarking on more soon because not only do we feel like healthier individual humans when we eat less sugar, we feel like a stronger, healthier team when we do good things together.

Are you involved in helping to keep your own organization healthy? Stay tuned for a special blog with an interview from Carebook’s very own nutritionist! It’ll give tips and tricks on how to help the people in your workplace start your own fun, healthy challenges.