SOAHAC 30-day No Added Sugar Challenge
The Challenge is to eliminate all foods that have added sugar of any kind.
You might be surprised to learn that sugar has many names and is often disguised in the ingredient list. Reading the fine print on ingredient labels is absolutely necessary for this challenge. This list includes different names for sugar:
Cane juice crystals
Corn Sweetener Solids
Corn syrup solids
Evaporated Cane Juice
Fruit juice concentrate
High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Added refined sugars (white sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar)
- Added artificial sweeteners (Truvia, Splenda, Nutrasweet, etc.) including sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, etc.) found in sugar-free candy and chewing gum.
Basically, if it has added sugar or sweeteners, of any kind, do not eat it. This is important in order to start to enjoy the real taste of foods.
Exception: Natural Indigenous sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, and molasses) are the only exceptions and recommended to be used sparingly.
Note: Again, when we say no sugar, we mean no added sugar. There will be naturally occurring sugars in milk, plain yogurt, fresh vegetables and fruit, that’s okay. The idea is to give up added sugars that are in almost all processed foods, like pop; specialty coffees and teas; breakfast cereals; fruit drinks; baked goods; flavoured yogurt; condiments and sauces. Sugar can also be added to foods that have natural sugars, such as applesauce. When you read a nutrition label, look at the actual list of ingredients, NOT the percentage of sugar per serving (unless you must do so for medical reasons).
TIPS TO MAKE IT EASIER:
- Drink Water. Six (12 ounce) glasses each day, or 2.2L. Try adding sliced berries, citrus slices, or mint leaves for flavour.
- Eat Fruit. Fruit contains plenty of natural sugars and is also an important part of any healthy eating plan. The possibilities are only as limited as your local grocery store. Also, fruit is a great way of naturally getting the sugar you might be craving and will help make this challenge successful. Note: canned fruit may have added sugar as a preservative.
- Get your Fibre! Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes are great sources of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Fibre helps with regularity and makes your feel full.
- Make Home-Cooked Meals. Pre-packaged food is higher in salt, fat, and sugar. Preparing meals at home gives you the control of what goes into your food, and it’s fresher!
- Explore Flavours. Just because sugar is out of the picture, doesn’t mean food should taste bland. Try adding herbs and spices to your food to ignite your other taste buds. Sprinkle cinnamon on apple slices for a fall, fresh taste.
AFTER THE CHALLENGE
The goals of this challenge are to your break sugar addiction and learn what foods contain hidden sugars. After the challenge is over, we recommend switching from refined sugars to unrefined ones that have some nutritional value. For example, honey, molasses, and 100% pure maple syrup. All of these natural sweeteners have nutrients that cannot be found in refined sugar and artificial sweeteners.
CONNECT & GET SUPPORT
Join our Facebook group: SOAHAC Sugar Free November Challenge 2018, and receive updated recipes and tips to help you stay on track! If you do not have Facebook, contact Jocelyn, SOAHAC dietitian, for access to the information: 519-672-4079.
Watch Jocelyn’s video blog and upload your own video to share your experiences daily, weekly, or whenever. Remember, we are all in this together. Also, uncaptioned memes will be uploaded weekly for you to caption by commenting on the post. The comment with the most likes will be shared at the end of the week.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: The label on my bread says that it has 6 grams of sugar but the ingredients don’t mention any kind of sugar. Which do I follow?
A: Look at the ingredients for added sugars. Most all foods have naturally occurring sugars, even vegetables and dairy. Naturally occurring sugars are acceptable and they’re healthy.
Q: What if I slip?
A: Don’t look back; the past can’t be undone. Continue on with the challenge and don’t beat yourself up about it.
Q: Will I go through withdrawals?
A: More than likely you will experience some withdrawals. Sugar is very addictive, and you will likely experience some side effects, especially if you eat large amounts of sugar prior to the challenge. It is possible to experience headaches, weakness, and irritability. It will pass and typically takes 2-4 days to get through this phase.
Q: Can I eat raisins or dates?
A: Again, read the label. If there is no added sugar in the ingredients label, enjoy in moderation. Raisins, along with a small handful of almonds, are a great mid-morning snack.
Q: Can I drink fruit juice?
A: Yes, but it must be 100% fruit juice. Look for claims that say “no sugar added”, limit to ½ cup a day.
Q: Are there any dessert recipes without added sugar?
A: Yes. Many desserts are made without refined sugar but most have some type of unrefined sugar added, such honey or maple syrup. You can also use dates, bananas and other naturally sweet fruits.
Q: Will I still be able to eat traditional and modern Indigenous dishes?
A: Yes. Most traditional Indigenous dishes, like three sisters’ soup or corn soup, will not include any added sugars. Modern Indigenous dishes like Indian taco’s can still be enjoyed too, as along as there is no sugar added to the fried bread or chili. Remember, natural sugars like maple syrup and honey are permitted during the challenge and may be used in a strawberry drink recipe.