Posted in know better do better, mental health, mindset, physical health

Where do you find sugar?

I used to run 30-day challenges on Facebook.

The first one that was literally life-changing was a 30-day no-added-sugar challenge.

What does that mean?

For a month, 29 people opted into no food or drinks with added sugar. White sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar, powdered sugar. Doesn’t matter.

But that also includes corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, glucose, maltose.

And natural sweeteners: agave, honey, maple syrup, rice syrup, barley malt, molasses, stevia.

No artificial sweeteners, either: aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, sorbitol, xylitol.

Sugars in fruits are OK. Fruit is good for you. Juice, not as much. Dried? Tricky. But whole fruit? Eat it!

Once you’ve cleaned your palate of the over-sweetness of refined and artificial sugars, fruit tastes much sweeter.

So many revelations.

Where can you find tomato sauce without added sugar? What about salad dressing?

“I was sabotaged!” Who knew there was sugar in rice vinegar?

Ketchup. Crackers. Bread.

It was interesting… I posted on Facebook that I was going to be opening up this group. Some people joined, of course, but others… “I could never do that.”

Of course you could.

But let’s pretend that you couldn’t. Does your journey need to be perfect to be worthwhile?

There were several people in the group who didn’t strive to be 100% sugar-free for 30 days but simply to improve. They did a great job.

Eating out presents its own challenges in many of the same items (sauces, dressings, condiments, breads).

Who cares?

Well, sugar does more than just lend itself to weight gain. I wrote about that in more detail here and here.

For now, consider that the average American gets more than 10% of their daily calories from added sugar. That means that 10% or more of the fuel you take in has no nutritional benefit to you at all, to say nothing of its detrimental effects. (Also the average 8-year-old has consumed as much sugar in their lifetime so far as their great grandparents did in their entire lives.)

Finding hidden sugars and eliminating them when possible helps. (Reducing the obvious sources helps, too, of course!)