I’m embarking on a new challenge; No sugar for 30 days! I’m doing this challenge with a friend who decided to avoid sweets as a birthday gift to herself. She’s getting rid of sugar from her diet for 30 days before her birthday. How awesome is that for a birthday gift to herself, right? For added support, I decided to do the challenge with her.
Truth be told, I’ve been thinking about cutting added sugar from my diet for a while now, so her birthday challenge just gave me the extra motivation I needed to get started. Sugar has been my biggest weakness since embarking on my fitness journey. What can I say? I love cocktails, fro-yo, and chocolate. I cut back from sugar before, but once I started eating it again, I got out of control. I’m back to the point where I eat sweets every day and I can no longer see definition in my muscles because of the excess weight I’ve gained. Sugar is so addicting that it’s often compared to cocaine, nicotine, and alcohol addiction. When we eat sugar, it releases dopamine in the brain, which makes us feel good. We get a high from eating sugar, and in order to get that same high again, we have to eat more of it, sending our bodies into a vicious cycle of nonstop sugar cravings and overeating. It’s a hard habit to break, but I’m ready to nix added sugar from my diet for good. My first step is admitting that I have a problem. “Hi, my name is Shanta, and I’m addicted to sugar!”
Added sugar adds absolutely no nutritional value, yet it is in almost everything we eat, therefore it’s hard to avoid. Some of the more obvious places with high sugar content are sodas, cereal, cookies, candy, and cake. But then there are some “sneaky” foods that you would think are healthy, yet they are loaded with hidden sugar. Some of the main “sneaky food” culprits are nutrition bars, crackers, salad dressings, protein shakes, smoothies, most nut butters, canned fruit, instant oatmeal, bread, most sauces (bbq sauce, tomato sauce, ketchup etc.), most low fat diet foods, fruit juices, and flavored yogurt. Added sugar is the cause of excessive weight gain and other serious health problems. The American Heart Association recommends less than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and less than 37.5 grams for men. But since sugar serves no purpose in the diet, it should be illegal to add it to foods all together, in my opinion. Even the artificial sweeteners are bad, despite the low calories it can still be addictive. Check the labels of some of your favorite foods to see if it has added sugar and you’ll be surprised. Most food labels with added sugar won’t actually say “sugar” on the label, so you have to read carefully or else they can trick you. You have to look for hidden words that mean the same thing as sugar, like fructose, glucose, sucrose (almost anything with the letters “ose” at the end), saccharine, nectar, cane juice, corn syrup, ethyl maltol, fruit juice concentrate, maltodextrin, and the list goes on. Don’t be fooled by the labels, it’s all added sugar.
So I’m going cold turkey on the added sugar for now. I’m not saying that I will never indulge in the occasional sweet treat or cocktail, but for the next 30 days, there will be none of that if I can make it through this challenge. This is going to be a tough one for me because I love sweets, but at the end of the 30 days I’m hoping to eliminate the sugar cravings for good and make this a lifestyle change. Hopefully I’ll even drop a few pounds and be able to see my muscles again. My entire family is doing the challenge with me, which should make things a lot easier. No codependency over here! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Are you addicted to sugar? If so, do the challenge with me.
What are some of the foods that you struggle with and how do you go about avoiding them? Comment below or leave a Facebook message with your response.by