By Erin King
Tomorrow (June 4, actually), my husband and I will undertake the challenge of starting a sugar-free week. For one week, we have decided to cut out all sugars, even natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup. We will only allow ourselves a couple servings of fruit each day. I know we don’t eat as much sugar as the average American, but our need for something sweet has become so obvious. We rarely have any refined sugar, or even pure sugar cane, but when we do it’s not pretty. Don’t offer us a plate of cookies thinking we may only take one, people.
Our hope is that after eliminating all sweeteners this week, we’ll be able to slowly add natural sweeteners back into our diet, but only use them sparingly and as an occasional treat, not a crutch. According to Jen Allbritton, featured on the Weston A. Price website, “Our ancestors likely indulged in around one tablespoon (60 calories) of honey per day (when available), which is stunningly low compared to today’s average sugar intake of one cup (774 calories) per day!” It’s almost impossible to avoid sugar in processed food (which is why it’s a good idea to switch to a real food diet). Here’s a look at sugar in common products:
|Kool-Aid, 8 ounces||6|
|Jello, 1/3 cup||4.5|
|Yoplait yogurt, flavored, 99% fat-free, 6 ounces.||8|
|Cap’n Crunch cereal, 2 cups||8|
|Tropicana pure premium orange juice, 8 ounces||5.5|
|Apple and Eve clear apple juice (100% juice), 8 ounces||5.5|
|Ketchup, 2 tablespoons||1.5|
|Original Gatorade, 20 ounces||9|
|Soda drink, 12 ounces||16.5|
Sugar is so addictive. I would venture to say almost everyone is an addict. Allbritton states three reasons for this:
1. “We have a natural affinity to sugar.”
2. “Sugar has the ability to increase pleasure-yielding opioids in the brain, similar to morphine and heroin, making one’s sugar cravings often too strong to ignore.”
3. “Sugar begets more sugar.”
It’s probably a better idea to slowly reduce your sugar consumption instead of going “cold turkey” like we plan to do. Hopefully having some accountability will help. I encourage you to find a partner and also embark on a sugar-free challenge! The benefits include a smaller waistline, fewer sick days, and so much more. Find more tips to gradually cut out sugar in Allbritton’s article “Zapping Sugar Cravings,” as well as a couple sugar-free recipes, and head on over to Mama Natural to watch Genevieve’s video on “6 Tips to Help you Kick Sugar.”
I’ll be back next week to let you know how it goes!
p.s. Yes, we made the cinnamon rolls pictured above only a few weeks ago. Wish us luck…please.