A few days ago I read this article in the New York Times. ‘A Month Without Sugar’ didn’t sound too bad, right? I don’t eat that much sugar, right? Except maybe I do! Now before this starts sounding like a fad diet, hear me out. I do believe that intuitive eating is a great way to maintain balance and moderation, and I also do not believe that desserts are the devil. This is not meant to be deprivation all year long. As Paige Smathers recently shared on her podcast, even intuitive eating has a spectrum from food flexibility to food concern. The ‘concern’ end is more awareness than concern – being aware of maintaining a well balanced diet. That’s where I am falling post holidays, and I think it is possible to clean up your diet in an intentional way. All that being said, we know added sugar is one tricky issue contributing to some less than great physical effects, so let’s look at why.
When you eat a cookie, doughnut, or slice of cake, there’s no question that you’re indulging in something sweet. What most people don’t realize is that your bottled salad dressing, flavored yogurt, breakfast cereal, deli lunchmeat, ketchup, pre-made guacamole, and so much more ALSO have added sugar! It’s these sneaky sources of sugar that add up to a lot of excess without you even realizing it. Having dessert is not inherently bad, but having sweets when you’ve already reached the recommended daily 25 grams of sugar (that’s 6 teaspoons) is not so great. It’s also a big bummer! If I’m going to have sugar, I’d rather have it in some chocolate than in my condiments. Excess sugar can put you at risk of developing many health conditions including diabetes, obesity, cancer, and Alzheimers. These all sound like bad news, and looking at where sugar lurks can help you cut down, stay within (or well below!) the recommended range, and avoid disease.
The long term benefits are clear, and after the holidays I’m looking for the short term benefits as well. Ever since early December the bloating (and I mean on the daily), breakouts, and sluggishness have been real. A fresh new year feels like a good time to bring back some vitality. January 2nd, the first Monday of the year, was just the day to start! Mom and I have kicked off 30 days without added sugar, so stay tuned for updates and tips about how to be sugar savvy in your own life.
Post any questions in the comments, or let me know if you’re trying this too!