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Certified Personal Trainer. Health Foodie. Wife. Mom.

Twinkie’s Challenge: No Sugar or Artifical Sweeteners!

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This quarter, I challenge you to avoid processed Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners! (You can still have natural sugars found in Fruit, Vegetables, Agave Nectar, Raw Honey, etc). So why would I give you (and myself!) this Challenge?

The Harmful Effects of Sugar

Processed Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners are really bad for you. But how bad can it be?

•Raises insulin levels in the body, which promotes the storage of fats. By storing excess fats, it causes your body to gain weight, and Sugar has been linked to causing Obesity.

•Depresses the Immune System. If your body is trying to fight an illness, Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners are only going to make things worse for you by preventing your body to fight back whatever illness it is trying to get rid of. If you want to lower your risk of getting sick this Fall and Winter Season, avoid processed Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners!

•Diabetes. Though people don’t like to blame sugar as causing their Diabetes, they admit that “Sugar may have been part of the cause”. First of all, too many calories leads to weight gain, which causes Diabetes. If you are eating that many excessive calories to cause weight gain to cause Diabetes, I am taking a shot that you are probably consuming a lot of processed Sugars and Artifical Sweeteners in your diet, and I doubt you would be eating too many vegetables.  I will let you decide on this one.

•Cardiovascular Disease  is the leading cause of death for both men and women. There are many studies that show that Sugar is linked to Cardiovascular disease, but the FDA believes that processed Sugar has no harmful outcome other than Dental issues. No offense to the FDA, but I can’t believe that Sugar in the amounts being consumed today (2-3 pounds a week) is actually OK and not a “hazard” as they put it. Puh-lease…

•Stroke. There was a study published back in July 2002 in the Journal “Neurology”, and it showed how stroke victims who have High Blood Sugar were found to have a higher risk of death,  than the stroke patients with normal Blood Sugar levels.

•Blood Clots. Sugar can increase the blood’s platelet levels and becomes more adhesive, which causes not only Blood clots, but also strokes as well.

•Yeast Infection. Sugar feeds off of Yeast Infections! If you are trying to prevent or get rid of a Yeast Infection, be sure to avoid all forms of processed Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners.  An all natural yoghurt is really good for you since it has what’s called “Good Bacteria”. Just be sure to get the Plain Yoghurt that doesn’t have anything added to it (a lot of them have added sugars or artifical sweeteners that defeat the pupose of the youghurt in the first place).

•Depression. Large doses of processed Sugar causes the brain to slow down it’s production of endorphins. With the lack of endorphins, this causes anywhere from a minor to a major depression- depending on the person.

•Cavities. I think we have all known that Sugar causes cavities since we were all like 5 years old, but I thought I would mention it anyways. Sugar mixed in with Plaque Bacteria causes Cavities. If you go off of Sugar, you will notice your teeth tend to feel cleaner. If you eat a bunch of junk food, your teeth tend to feel dirty.

•Cancer is fueled by Sugar. If you have cancer and  can suppress the amounts of Processed Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners in your diet, build your immune system back up to fight it off, exercise – you would be so much better off. There is a difference between “trying to eat good”, and “be healthy”.

•Etc. The list goes on…

Ask yourself this…is that candy worth it? No!!!

How you can win this battle against processed Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners…

So now that you have had processed Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners, how do you get rid of the habit? You and I know very well how addicting Sugar can be, so how do we avoid it altogether?

Overcome Sugar cravings

Be sure to have plenty of healthy and natural sugar in your diet, such as fruit, agave nectar, and raw honey. If you are getting enough natural sugar in your body, you shouldn’t be craving the unhealthy processed sugars and artificial sweeteners that you are trying to avoid. It’s good to know that once you stop having processed sugars and artificial sweeteners, you stop craving it after awhile!

Plan meals ahead

Review what you are currently eating for your Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks. Read the labels, and think about every aspect of the meal (sauces, side dishes, etc), and see if you need to replace anything that has processed Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners in it.

Come up with planned meals for the upcoming week (or two weeks, depending on how often you go to the grocery store). Make sure you read labels (I can’t stress this enough!). Buy foods that you love to eat, and will enjoy. This will ensure that you will stick to your planned meals throughout the week. Be sure to prepare enough food throughout the day, so you won’t be hungry and desperate for anything- including something with processed Sugars or Artificial Sweeteners. This is exactly what we are trying to avoid!

Read Labels,  and understand what they really are

The following are words you need to look out for, and avoid:

Sugar is the easiest label to read and understand, since it is just Processed Sugar

Brown Sugar is processed, and it is refined sugar with some of the molasses returned to it.

Sucrose is regular known as Table Sugar

Dextrose is Corn Sugar

Corn Syrup is not naturally created or possible, and must be processed. The only company who believes Corn Syrup is Healthy, is the ones who sell it and make money off of it.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is produced by processing Corn Starch to create Glucose, and then processing the Glucose to produce a high percentage of Fructose. Let’s just say, it is NOT natural, NOT considered a Vegetable because it was made from Corn (sad, but some believe it is actually healthy), and it has to be processed several times.

Fructose, considered to be a “simple sugar”, but since it is not found in natural forms of Sugar such as Vegetables and Fruit, you should avoid it.

Aspartame is also known as “NutraSweet” and “Equal“, and is an Artificial Sweetener, and not good for you.

Saccharin, which is also known as “Sweet ‘N Low“,  is an Artificial Sweetener, and not good for you.

Acesulfame-K, which is also known as “Sunette” or “Sweet One“, is an Artificial Sweetener, and not good for you.

Sucralose, which is also known as “Splenda“, and this is an Artificial Sweetener, and not good for you.

Beware of Marketing Traps

You will probably find a lot of things labeled as “All Natrual”, “Healthy”, “Sugar Free”, etc. I urge you to read the ingredients, and see exactly what is included. Most “Sugar Free” products have an Artificial Sweetener in the product (Splenda, Aspartame, etc.), and they are promoted as being “Healthy”, but in reality, they are not good for your body.

Even foods that you would have never believed to have sugar added (I found frozen vegetables with sugar added, for example), or Artifical Sweeteners (I found Wheat Thins with High Fructose Corn Syrup), you need to read the labels to make sure you are getting the real Health Food, rather than all of the scams out there.

Make it official

Tell someone else about it. Blog about it. Create a YouTube video about it. Post your goals on Twitter or Facebook. Just make it official however you do it, so you will stick to it. If you don’t, you will make it too easy to just let yourself off the hook. If you tell the world about your determination to live without Sugar (even if it is for just one month!), you will be more likely to stick with it, especially if you know people will follow up with you in the weeks to come.

Believe and Know that you can accomplish this goal

You have to believe you will accomplish the goal, and focus on the end result – to be Healthier. Know that this is a possible goal, and you can succeed! I know you can! Know that you aren’t doing this challenge all by yourself. I am here with you, every step of the way as your support group, and together we will make this happen.

Holidays are coming up

Yes, the holidays are coming up. For Christmas I would prepare a stocking with Nutella, Toblerone, Rocher and Lindt Chocolates – all of the traditional candies I grew to love during the holidays. Throughout the years as I have become more and more health conscious, I stopped buying these candies in bulk, and bought them in mini packs or individually. For example, The Rocher Cholates can be purchased anywhere in bulk – think 30 pieces or more! If you go to the local grocery store, you can buy 3 in a pack for about .99 cents. This way, I was able to get a piece of the tradition, without the traditional calories.

What’s going on this year? No candy at all. I don’t need it!!! I remember what it all taste like, but my body just isnt craving chocolate, candy, or desserts like it used to. I don’t have all that sugar in my body, so I’m just not craving it. Just because it’s a tradition, doesn’t mean I can’t create new traditions that will be much healthier for my body.

It feels good to know I’m moving in the right direction, and that my family will benefit with me. If you haven’t already, please join me in my challenge!

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5 Comments

  1. I didn’t see anything in your list of sweetners about Truvia. What’s your take on it?

  2. Truvia is a sweetener that is not natural by any means. It has Erythritol in it, which is basically fermented glucose with yeast. Basically, it is processed, and the reading I have done on it so far, seem to cause a lot of negative side effects for people. I wouldn’t recommend using it. I would try something like Organic Agave Nectar, Raw Honey, etc as a replacement if you are trying to sweeten things up!

  3. I’m going to try and do this! Wish me luck (I will need it)

  4. This challenge is hard core! Like it : )

  5. Sugar is SO bad for you. Thanks for spelling it out