We ate less sugar during the month of August
Just before the month of August started (which seems like a long time ago now – why are the months so long this year?) a group of the Dellafit women decided to try to reduce our sugar intake during August. Our reasons for doing this varied but for most of us when we thought about it we had started to consume more sugar without really noticing it and we wanted to “re-set”. We decided to focus on “added sugar”. The group decided that fruit was allowed and that we would try not to just substitute sugar for honey. Also the aim would be to reduce our cravings for “sweetness” so for that reason we decided to avoid artificial sweeteners too.
WHY REDUCE SUGAR?
There are SO many reasons for keeping your sugar consumption on the low side. The ideal scenario would see you as a woman consume just 25 grams of sugar a day. That is 6 teaspoons and contains 100 calories. You can then make up the rest of your calories with high value nutrition food. Choosing foods with less than 5 grams of sugar per serve is a good way to achieve this goal.
Some of the effects of eating too much sugar include:
- increased risk of heart attack
- increased risk of cancer and other diseases
- premature aging
- insulin resistance which can lead to type 2 diabetes
- can make depression and anxiety worse
- harmful for our liver
- weakened bones and teeth as valuable minerals are leached from the body
- compromised immune system.
So what did we find hard? A few of us grappled with what to put on our oats once we agreed that honey was not allowed (although it has nutrients it is virtually sugar). We discovered chopped up strawberries, seeds, peanut butter, cinnamon and other toppings. Some of us struggled to adapt to coffee and tea with no sugar.
We discovered how much sugar is in tomato sauce. We discovered how much sugar is in some bread. Most fast food (even fries) contains sugar. Some peanut butter contains sugar. Most cereal contains a lot of sugar eg sultana bran 13 grams. Dried fruit contains a lot of sugar too.
Many of us faced the mid afternoon slump head on by super charging our lunch with protein. Instead of a sugar hit we went for something with protein or fat. A boiled egg, a small greek yoghurt, cottage cheese and an apple, some nuts or some cheese. Perhaps the most missed item was the family block of chocolate after dinner and the 2 glasses of wine.
We don’t plan on giving up sugar forever but our month of reading labels and thinking twice before scoffing down a muffin, going for the tomato sauce, the wine and the chocolate has helped us to form new habits and to be more mindful of how much sugar we are consuming. We all agreed it was a worthwhile exercise.
Now you will have to excuse me while I go an make a cup of tea with no sugars.