In North America, we consume an average of 26 teaspoons of sugar per day. These empty calories sneak into our diet through beverages like juice and specialty coffees, pre-packaged foods, and – of course – candy and chocolate.
After the fun of dressing up as goblins, superheroes, and witches for Halloween, it’s easy to find our household pantries loaded with a scary amount of sugary candy and chocolate. Excessive amounts of sugar in our diets can make us feel depressed, lower our energy, increase inflammation, and increase our risk of all chronic diseases like Heart Disease, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Hormonal Imbalances, and Cancer.
Are you scared yet? ‘Cause I am!
Thankfully, we can use the Sugar Challenge to break our sugar cravings and rid ourselves of the spooky health risks lurking in sugar. Women taking the Sugar Challenge aim to consume less than 6 teaspoons per day of refined sugar, while men consume less than 9 teaspoons per day of refined sugar.
Wondering how you can get started on this exciting Challenge?
Sugar is an incredibly addictive substance, so going cold turkey and avoiding all sugars entirely can be an effective technique. Three or five days after cutting out refined sugar, withdrawal symptoms like headaches, sugar cravings, and irritability will all disappear.
Rethink your drink! Avoiding liquid sugars in your drinks is an important step to cutting back on your sugar consumption. Sugary beverages include fruit juices, chocolate milk, sports drinks, alcohol – even flavoured shots added to coffee can increase your sugar consumption. Avoid replacing with artificial sweeteners, as these have shown to contribute to weight gain.
Read the labels on food you eat regularly to learn more about its composition. Sugar may be mentioned more than you expect!
Eating a high-protein breakfast within an hour of waking can help your body adjust to fewer sugars by stabilizing your blood sugars and insulin. Small, frequent meals every three to four hours can also help us avoid sugary, unhealthy food choices.
Here are a few options to help make healthy snack choices:
- A piece of fruit and ¼ cup of nuts or seeds
- ½ cup ricotta or cottage cheese with ½ cup of berries
- ¼ cup of hummus and veggie sticks
Taking the Sugar Challenge will help make your post-Halloween sugar supplies seem a bit less scary. Share a few of these tips or ask a colleague to do this Sugar Challenge with you to help reinforce the information for yourself and positively influence those around you!