Week two of the 2023 sugar challenge is under way! This challenge is meant to act as a reboot to our systems and to help us learn healthy eating habits. Real, natural sugar is not bad, it is the amount of sugar we consume that is bad. This challenge is not about reducing natural sugars in our diets through fruits and vegetables, just sugars added to our food.  

What is the difference between added sugars and natural sugars? 

Added Sugars: 
  • Added to foods 
  • Manufacturers use it to preserve food 
  • Keeps food fresh longer 
  • Found in nearly all processed or restaurant foods 
  • Absorbed immediately by the body

Natural Sugars: 
  • Typically found in fruits and vegetables 
  • Often occur through photosynthesis 
  • Occur without human interference 
  • Attach to nutrients and fiber in food 
  • Have to be broken down to be absorbed 

The immediate absorption of added sugars and sugar substitutes are what cause the highs and lows of blood sugar that induce cravings. This is why it is so important to be checking the ingredient lists on the food you buy and limit eating out. Fruits and vegetables provide a number of health benefits, so it is much healthier to continue eating them and not get rid of these natural sugars in your diet. 

During this challenge: Avoid sugar substitutes because these are typically much sweeter than other added sugars and lead to worse sugar cravings. Watch out for labels indicating something is “sugar-free” or “diet” because this generally means they contain sugar substitutes. 

Did you know, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) adults in America consume an average of 77 grams (15.5 tsp) of sugar per day! That adds up to 60 pounds of sugar a year! AHA’s recommended sugar intake per day is 36 grams (9 tsp) for men and 25 grams (6 tsp) for women. With that in mind, the average American is consuming more than double the daily recommended amount of sugar! 

Don't give up! By now you might be experiencing your worst withdrawal symptoms. You might be tired, depressed, grumpy, or feeling just plain gross. This is a good thing, stick with it! As with most big changes, things will tend to get worse before they get better. Increase your water intake to help overcome cravings. Drinking plain tea can also help when cravings hit. Keep in mind, cravings typically last less than 5 minutes. Try distracting yourself with a quick walk, stretch, or a small healthy snack. Soon your cravings will lessen and you will be feeling great! You may even find yourself thinking you should have made these changes long ago.  

Keep up the great work! 

St Peter’s Wellness Team 

Join us on Facebook!
Use the QR code or follow the link below and request to join the group