Sugar! It’s known to be as addictive as cocaine…. Americans just can’t get enough of it! This sly little devil can be heavenly to taste but has MAJOR consequences if consumed too often. We all know sugar is linked to obesity, so here are a few of sugar’s other possible side effects:
- Sugar can weaken your immune system. Once you’ve consumed approximately 75 grams of sugar (a can of soda + a sweetened yogurt), your white blood cells aren’t able to fight nearly as well.
- Sugar has been linked to acne. It can also damage the collagen and elastin in your skin… that means wrinkles, ladies!!
- Sugar can increase your risk for major diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
- Sugar can also zap your energy and cause inflammation in your body. Tired often? Achy? It could be your sugar consumption.
Hopefully this challenge will shine some light on your current sugar consumption situation and will help you see that you don’t NEED the stuff in your life on a constant basis. There are many alternatives!
Here are our trainers’ go-to treats if they are wanting to curb or satisfy that sweet craving:
- Grapes and bananas (Casey)
- Hot Chamomile Tea and homemade gluten free, low carb pumpkin bread—a rare treat but so good (Christine)
- Pineapple (Andy)
- Orgain Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake (Robyann)
- Fresh fruit like raspberries or blueberries (Joy)
- Lily’s 70% Dark Chocolate, Salted Almond and hot tea with honey sometimes (Katie)
- Starbucks Cold Brew with Stevia (Melissa)
- Pomegranates and Decaf Coffee with Stevia and Almond Milk (Leah)
- Apple or 70% Dark Chocolate (James)
During the challenge, our goal is to try and maintain 80% consistency… not perfection. Perfection is unrealistic; although, if you are competing with a partner, then 100% completion IS what you are striving to achieve! Ha! In real life’s circumstances, 80% or more is usually a great goal (5 ½ days worth).
Let me now define the challenge: Your challenge is to try and eat only natural sugars in moderation while avoiding refined sugars/artificial sweeteners. Moderation will look different for us all. If you are used to drinking three sodas a day, then one Zevia a day (soda sweetened with stevia) might be your moderation. Maybe you don’t struggle with refined sugars but you put honey on everything. Your goal might be to use honey once a day. (I’m totally thinking of things on the fly. Ha.) Since this is YOUR CHALLENGE, you decide what makes sense in your situation. You also need to maybe define it in more detail if you are competing with someone.
Here are our recommendations during this time:
Avoid refined sugars and artificial sweeteners when possible.
- Cereals sweetened with sugar (even organic sugar), sodas and diet sodas, alcohol with added sugars (even alcohol without sugar becomes sugar in the body), store-bought desserts or sugary-yogurts, sucralose sweetened protein powders, etc.
Choose natural, lower glycemic sugars.
- Coconut sugar
- Fruit or Dried Fruit
- 70% Dark Chocolate or more is okay in moderation (Although, I don’t recommend too much at night because it can keep you awake.)
If this seems overwhelming, reach out to us and let us give you a few personalized tips… If you are a baker or love to bake with your kids, there are a ton of great recipes on Pinterest that use coconut sugar (reduce the amount though and you don’t usually taste the difference). If you are in the habit of eating yogurt on a regular basis, try switching to plain Greek yogurt and adding honey and fruit with nuts. If you are used to snacking at night on something sweet, try curbing your craving with a hot tea. Honey or stevia in coffee is also a great alternative too! I personally order a Green Tea or an Americano with a little cream and honey if I’m out and about and want a little pick-me-up.
Many people think that protein bars or protein shakes are the way to go if you are trying to lose weight or be fit. They absolutely do have their place but look out for the sneaky sucralose. That artificial sweetener is in most fitness food products and can do more harm than good. Find alternatives with stevia like Orgain or Jarrow Protein. Great bars are hard to find. There are a few out there, but good ole’ whole foods are best---apple with almonds, handful of carrots and rolled up deli meat, brown rice cake with peanut butter, etc.
Again, reach out to your trainer or reach out to us through email or Facebook for recommendations. I know this is a personal and challenging topic for most, and we are here to help.
Good luck with the challenge! I’ll be doing it with you!