A new fitness initiative, ALPHA PHIT CLUB (Facebook or Instagram), has launched and for the month of January presented a challenge of eating no sugar for the month. Individuals have taken this on as an opportunity to focus on discipline and transforming their bodies.
I must commend this approach. Though I typically never say never, the idea of not having sugar isn’t my cup of tea. My grandfather’s sweet tooth genes are strong in my DNA and he was known to when there were no cookies or sweets in the house, put sugar & butter on bread and eat that. No, I’m not that bad, but needless to say giving up sugar would be quite a feat…LOL!
However, the challenge has peaked my curiosity about focusing on non-sugar-rich foods. In past posts, I’ve talked about food and health (see any of these 3 articles listed below)..
Sweets For The Sweet
To Your Health…Knowledge: The Power To Make Change
Fun With Food
..and the one thing that I embrace about healthy eating, lifestyle changes, and/or giving up certain foods (temporarily or permanently) is to focus on what you CAN eat so you don’t get discouraged. It is helpful to find substitutes for the things you used to eat that are inline with your health goals versus what you can’t eat. So, with a no sugar diet or limiting sugar intake, I wanted to look at what foods one CAN eat and the benefits.
Some of the reasons to limit or cut sugar
- Sugar provides fuel for cancer cells
- Sugar promotes weight gain
- Sugar spurs insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes
- You will have more energy and focus: Sugar makes you feel tired
- Less sugar will flatten your belly: Most added sugar that you eat is converted into fat
- Reduce fat, lose weight: Less sugar means less fat
How To Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet
Desserts and sweetened beverages like soda and fruit juice are obvious but also one needs to abstain from cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup, honey, evaporated cane juice, agave and anything made with those sweeteners. Salad dressing,sauces, marinades, ketchup, canned foods, granola and energy bars often contain sugar. *
- Stick to eating whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, and nuts and seeds, with a little bit of plain dairy.
- Cutting out or limiting processed foods
- Choose whole, fresh fruit over juice or other fruit products
- Give yourself a limit of how much or how often you you CAN eat sugar/sweets/desserts, especially if you are gradually trying to limit or wean yourself off of them.
- Don’t keep sweets in the house. If you really want them bad enough, then you at least have to work/go out to get them. And even then, only buy 1 portion (like a slice a cake or a scoop or ice cream or even better frozen yogurt or an healthier option).
- Instead of mixed drinks, if you must drink, choose wine, straight spirits, or mix with soda water.
- Cut out soda. Try making your own fresh-squeezed or pureed juice and mix with seltzer water, especially if you crave the fizz.
Check out this no sugar shopping list: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=698044
Even if you’re not sure about going without sugar out indefinitely or a month, trying it for a few days or at least starting to cut your intake can be an overall benefit to your health.