Sugar Free? Yes!... Well, sort of.
This is a challenge to eliminate unnecessary ADDED sugars from your diet, for 31 days. That means that the naturally occuring sugars in fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. can, and should, remain in your nutritional repetoire. It's processed sugar, in its many, many forms, as an INGREDIENT that will get the axe.
Why? Your body is only designed to metabolize a small amount of (naturally occuring) sugars per day. Sugars are carbs, which are quickly metabolized to give us energy, and that's a good thing. Your muscles need glycogen to function. The sugars found in whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are packaged by nature in a perfect balance of water, fiber, vitamins, and nutrients, to allow your body to absorb them, and the other nutrients at a moderate rate.
But unless you're in the midst of running a marathon, additional sugars in the typical American diet are overwhelming your liver, causing your blood sugar to spike and crash, and ultimately store all of that excess energy (that's not being used while you're sitting at your desk, or on your sofa) as fat. Lots of fat.
Eliminating added sugars, in all forms "natural" and artificial, from your diet, in my experience, is the simplest way to clean up your nutritional habits and build a foundation for whole, healthy eating. Rather than a complicated list of rules and resrictions, you have one rule to follow. And you can still enjoy many of your favorite things, and as much QUANTITY as you'd like.
So what qualifies as added sugars? Any sweetener that is listed as an ingredient, meaning it isn't naturally occuring, even if the sweetener is supposedly "natural" itself. That means honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, coconut sugar, stevia, sorbitol, asparthame, corn syrup... Tell you what, here's a full list of the MINIMUM 61 different ways that sugar must be identified on food labels according to the FDA. (Seriously guys, 61 different names... And that's just what the government requires on the label as "sugar". This doesn't include artifical and alternative sweetners! Yikes!)
What can you expect from eliminating added sugars? The number one result, and most quickly experienced, is increased energy! You'll notice this almost immediately, and the reason is that rather than sending your metabolism through constant spike-and-crash cycles, you're allowing it to level out, maintain an even burn, and start using excess fat for energy. Other side effects include clearer skin, better sleep, improved digestion, improved athletic performance and recovery, weight loss, improved mood, and more.
Remember, I said that going added-sugar free is simple. I didn't say it was easy.
Sugar is found EVERYWHERE, from coffee creamer and cereal to pasta sauce, salsa, salad dressing, bread, peanut butter, and so much more. As you prepare, you will be shocked at all of the secret places you find sugar in your life! It is a CHALLENGE to read labels, find alternatives, and adjust your habits. You CAN do it. Everyone is capable. But you have to make the choice.
We're not eliminating any food groups here. You can still enjoy grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and more. We're just finding the healthier and whole food options. That's why we're doing the Sugar Free Challenge, to support each other, help each other, and learn!
To join us, comment on the More Miles Personal Training and Coaching Facebook page. You'll be added to a separate, closed group for all challenge participants, and this is where all of the information, how-to videos, daily check-ins, grocery lists, meal ideas, and more will be shared, and I will be your guide the whole way. This is a forum to ask questions, seek help, share successes, struggles, and more.
31 Days to changing your habits, and just maybe, changing your life. Join the group for all of the details throughout the remainder of this week to help you prepare your kitchen and your mind. Let's do this. Let's get stronger, together.