Welcome to Day 25 of the Free 30-Day Ultimate You Healthy Habits Challenge brought to you by Sleekgeek and Health24!
On this 30-day challenge you will receive one task daily to complete in order to help you eat, move, think, and sleep better.
Today’s task is to consume no sugar:
Mounting evidence shows us how consuming too much sugar can set you up for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease as well as damaging your teeth, liver, metabolism, and your body’s ability to effectively deal with inflammation.
You are not alone if you feel that sugar is really hard to quit and constantly calling your name. In fact, research shows that sugar and the desire for a “sweet reward” can be even more desirable and rewarding than addictive drugs like cocaine for some.
What makes sugar addiction so dangerous is the fact that it’s socially acceptable.
This is why we are challenging you to go for just 1 day without any added sugar.
How to complete today’s task:
Your mission is to consume no added sugar at all today. If you already had some today before reading this task, then complete the rest of the day sugar-free and finish off by carrying over to tomorrow too.
Keep in mind, added sugar is found EVERYWHERE. In your cereal, your jam, your low-fat/diet yogurt, whole-grain breads, granola, salad dressings, fruit juices, even things like biltong and trail mixes can contain added sugar.
Read your food labels:
You can find a list of 50 different names for sugar as well as a guide on how to read food labels to spot it here.
Ways to eat less sugar:
- Skip “diet” and “low-fat” foods. It’s important to understand that most “diet” or “low-fat” foods are almost always very high in sugar. This includes things like those healthy cereals, whole-grain breads, granola and trail mixes, low-fat yogurts, salad dressings, fruit juice, and other buzz-word foods such as “gluten-free”.
- Eat nutrient-dense foods. These are things that are not processed into “food-products” and typically do not even have a food label or more than 1 ingredient. They are rich in beneficial micronutrients and will reduce your sugar consumption naturally by method of substitution. The more of them you eat, the less of something else you are likely to eat.
- Read food labels. Knowledge is power – learn to read food labels and identify the many different types of sugar so that you can make an informed decision about what you are putting into your body. Not knowing that something contains an enormous amount of sugar is not an excuse.
- Eat protein and veggies with each meal. This is a very effective strategy to keep you full, satiated, and help minimize micronutrient deficiencies which can contribute to sugar cravings.
- Swap out the sauces. Cut down on all the “extras” and “nice-to-haves” such as sauces, salad dressings, sodas, and alcohols – or find healthier alternatives. Take a look at just how much sugar is in some of our most popular drinks (yes, that’s 44 grams of sugar in just 1 can) and likewise how much sugar is in our favourite sauces (that chutney is dangerous stuff!). Some sparkling water with lemon juice is great for when you want something fizzy and try some olive oil and balsamic vinegar with your next salad instead of ranch dressing or mayonnaise.
- Eat some fruit. While fruit contains sugar in the form of fructose, it also contains fiber and beneficial vitamins and minerals. Eating some fruit can help keep your cravings at bay and is always a healthier alternative to foods with added sugars. However, keep in mind that the more sweet stuff you eat, the more you will typically want to eat. Likewise, the less sweet stuff you eat, the less you will crave it. Fruit is a great alternative and very health, but it can also be over consumed so be mindful of how much you eat.
- Get enough sleep. Research shows sleep deprivation is linked to junk food cravings, especially ones that are sugary and high in calories.
- Manage your stress levels. Stress is a huge contributing factor to causing people to overeat and crave junk food, especially when it comes to sugar and high calorie foods. James Clear has some excellent and innovative ways to help you reduce and manage stress.
- Exercise regularly. This (among many other benefits) releases endorphins which contribute towards feeling good and euphoric, providing a replacement for craved sugary highs. If all else, just go for a walk when a craving hits to change your environment, provide stimulation, distance yourself from unhealthy food, and reap the many benefits of walking.
- Play a very visual computer or mobile game. I bet you weren’t expecting this were you? Something called the Elaborated Intrusion Theory (EI) suggests that cravings are very visual and imagery-based. Think about a time when you sat the whole day craving something sweet. You most likely had a specific food or sweet in mind. The more you pictured and thought about it, the stronger your craving got to the point of driving you to distraction. Certain games like Tetris that are very vivid and visual increase visuospatial working memory load and lead to a decrease in strength, vividness, and intrusiveness of cravings.
- Avoid your triggers. For many people, cravings or unhealthy habits are very much linked to specific triggers. This could be certain actions, certain people, certain places, or a variety of other things. Be mindful of your cravings and identify what your triggers are.
- Make a commitment. Whether you plan to slowly reduce sugar such as only drinking 1 soda a day or to cut it out completely by not eating anything that has added sugar, you need to make the commitment to yourself. We suggest checking out Sleekgeek’s 30-Day Sugar-Free Challenge where you make a commitment not to consume any sugar for the next 30 days. To help you along the way, when you sign up you will also receive an email from Sleekgeek every single day for 30 days. Or if you are even more serious, sign up for the Ultimate You 8-Week Challenge.
Want more of this kind of thing?
- Read our blog post on 50 Different Names for Sugar.
- Read our blog post on 12 Ways to Eat Less Sugar.
- Join our 30-Day Sugar-Free Challenge.
See you tomorrow for your Day 26’s task.
If you have just stumbled on this page sign up for the full 30-day ULTIMATE YOU HEALTHY HABITS CHALLENGE right here. It is 100% free.