10-days challenge: Leave out added sugar from your diet

A few years ago fat got the blame for feeding the obesity epidemic, but now there is more and more evidence that it is sugar who is responsible. When all fingers pointed at fat being the guilty one the food industry responded by making food without fat. When taking the fat out, they put sugar instead to make sure the food still had some taste.

In the documentary movie ‘Fed Up’ it is stated that sugar is addictive, maybe even worse than drugs.¬†People eat sugar all the time and can’t get enough of it.¬†The result is that they eat more and more and more.


10-days without added sugar

When doing research about healthy nutrition for my book I was writing, I came across the 10-days no added sugar challenge and decided to try it for myself. To be honest, I wasn’t really a sugar addict to begin with, so it’s not that I was craving sugar all the time. But the thing is- there is sugar in everything! When I say everything I really mean almost everything. The obvious places are of course chocolate, candy, ice cream, soft drinks, sports drinks,… There is also hidden sugar in granola bars, fruit yogurt, ketchup, sweet-sour sauce, pasta sauce, barbecue sauce,… So far still not world shocking news, but to find added sugar in pastrami, cheese spreads and smoked salmon was kind of an eye-opener to me.

Challenge yourself and try it too

For real sugar addict the start of this challenge will start though, but if you hang on it will get easier and easier. After a week you will see that sugar is no longer controlling your life. Here are some tips:

  • There is added sugar in many foods, but mainly processed food. The less packaging and the shorter the time to expiration the less likely there is added sugar inside. Few examples fresh milk, cottage cheese, fresh bread, fruit, and vegetables
  • To know if there is added sugar in the food you’re about to buy, check the list of ingredients. Be careful added sugar is not always listed as sugar, but comes in many different names.
  • When you cook at home with fresh products you can feel quite safe.
  • If you’re looking for something healthy to snack on try eating some natural nuts. They are filling and contain a lot of good fats. Don’t exaggerate nuts are energy dens. Eat one handful a day.
  • To replace your sugary fruit yogurts, you can just eat plain yogurt and add some fresh fruit yourself. That way you will have truly fruit yogurt instead of sugary yogurt with some fruit flavor.
  • Sweeten without adding sugar? Possible! A pinch of salt might do the trick as can milk or cream. Adding natural sweet vegetables to your dish like red paprika, grated carrots, apple,…

No cheating

The challenge is also not to replace sugar with sweeteners. There has been always a lot to do around sweeteners not being good for you and consumed in excessive amounts putting you at risk for cancer. Now there is research suggesting sweeteners might actually make you fat. It is known that gut bacteria play an important role in our digesting system. They influence our ability to extract calories and store energy from our diet, but also have an impact on our hormones. Researchers think that sweeteners might have an effect on the bacterial flora in the gut, but not in favor of weight loss…