The Challenge Behind the No Sugar Challenge
How much sugar is too much?
Even one pack of M&M’s may be more than you should eat in a day. The World Health Organization (WHO) used to recommend that you get no more than 10% of your daily calories from sugar, but now they’re considering lowering that to 5%. For an average, healthy adult, that would mean 25 grams, or about six teaspoons of sugar per day. (That’s a little less than what you’d get from 10 Hershey’s Kisses. A single can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar.) A teaspoon of sugar in your coffee or a half cup of ice cream won’t kill you — all things in moderation — but the average sugar intake in the U.S. is 22 teaspoons per person per day. That’s almost four times as much as the WHO’s new guidelines suggest is healthy.
So what happens if you eat too much sugar? In addition to increased risk for cavities, obesity, liver failure, insatiable hunger, and addiction, there are a number of other depressing consequences you can read all about here.
This is where VIDA’s ‘No Added Sugar Challenge’ comes in. Since we know eating too much sugar is detrimental to our health, we should do something about it, right? For 3 weeks (21 days), you give up all foods that have added sugars. Naturally occurring sugars in fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods are acceptable and recommended. And be warned, foods that have added sugar are pretty much everywhere, which is what makes the challenge so tough.
This chart by The Center for Science in the Public Interest shows where added sugars are hiding.
Your diet should be chock full of fresh, whole foods that are free of honey, molasses, agave, artificial sweeteners, and any one of the 56 hidden names for sugar, such as glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, and maltose. Say goodbye to liquid sugars, such as sodas, bottled teas, fruit juices, and sports drinks, too. Reading the fine print on ingredient labels is absolutely necessary for this challenge.
Why go cold turkey? Sugar has the same addictive properties as tobacco and alcohol, meaning the more you eat, the more you need to be satisfied. The best way to cut your sugar cravings is to cut out sugar all at once because the more you consume, the more you crave!
Note: Again, when we say no sugar, we mean no added sugar. There will be naturally occurring sugars in milk, plain yogurt, fresh vegetables and fruit, that’s okay. The idea is to give up ADDED sugars that are in most all processed foods. So when you read a nutrition label, look at the actual list of ingredients, NOT the percentage of sugar per serving (unless you must do so for medical reasons).
Our Facebook page offers support, shopping suggestions, and a Q/A list to steer you in the right direction.
The goal of this challenge is to your break sugar addiction—you could expect to lose excess weight and body fat, feel fuller faster and longer, as well as have abundant amounts of energy! After the challenge is over, try switching from refined sugars to unrefined ones that have some nutritional value. For example, raw honey, sucanat, coconut palm sugar, molasses, sorghum, and 100% pure maple syrup. All of these natural sweeteners have nutrients that cannot be found in refined sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Remember, even unrefined sweeteners can pack on the pounds if eaten on a regular basis.
So what do you say? Will you join us for the No Sugar Challenge??