#SugarChat 10 Day Challenge to Lose the Sugar

Posted 12/29/2015 | By HealthCorps

As you move into the final days of December and on to the New Year, it’s a good time to step back and really take some time to examine your diet and in particular, your sugar habit. We’ve covered different components of a healthy diet throughout the year, as well as research that clearly links diet to health. Many of us would benefit from a New Year’s Resolution that focuses on healthier habits.

Why not take our 10 day challenge to really shed added sugars from your life?

Of course there are natural sugars accompanied by fiber in fruits and vegetables, and whole grains like quinoa, kasha, buckwheat and faro. Our 10 day challenge to lose the sugar refers to the added sugars mostly found in processed foods. It’s time for you to become proficient at reading food labels and assessing the nutrition value of the foods you buy, so you can make better choices. Sugar is lurking everywhere.

Currently the nutrition guidelines are being reconfigured, and one of the considerations is to now clearly highlight “added sugars.” Until then, you will need to assess labels by looking at grams of sugar and grams of carbs, and actually look for the many names of sugar and how many times they are mentioned in the ingredient portion of the label. Preparing foods at home typically means that you control ingredients. Commitment to just that one habit can translate into significantly lower levels of sugar (and fat and sodium) in your diet.

Recently the WHO, World Health Organization, released new guidelines for daily levels of sugar consumption for adults and children. Both age groups should aim for daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total daily energy intake (calories). A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide even more health benefits. The director of the WHO indicated that cutting added sugars to those new levels would help to reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese or developing tooth decay.

It’s important to remember that sugar can hide and lurk in foods that you would not necessarily associate with sweetness. Ketchup, breads, soups, gravies, in addition to more obvious foods like soda, candy, sweet baked goods and desserts, ethnic foods and cereals all have significant added sugars.

Despite natural sugars and sweeteners like honey being touted as healthier, when it comes to sugar, they all rank similarly. Only fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with sugars accompanied by fiber, are “best bites,” when it comes to sweet foods.

If you struggle with a sweet tooth or sweet cravings then you need foods and snacks that promote satiety or feelings of fullness without added sugars. Turn to protein-rich foods like a hard-boiled egg, handful of natural unprocessed nuts (walnuts are great), a small Greek yogurt, or a serving of edamame. Having a serving of frozen berries or grapes is another way to mimic a sweet treat and the frozen aspect will slow your eating pace.

When you make a commitment to change a habit before the New Year it means you are seriously interested in change. So take our 10 day challenge to lose the sugar starting today, and let us know how you’re doing by posting comments on the blog. Share your habit changes, sugar swap outs and all the creative ways you’re cutting sugar out of your daily diet!!

Find more low sugar recipes in our recipe index.

Stay posted for New Year’s Resolution Tips in January 2016!!

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