The No Sugar Challenge!

The No Sugar Challenge!

Written by Lars

Topics: Comfort Zone, Habits, Health, Self-Discipline

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While the problems with drug addiction are well-known, very few people know about the real dangers of sugar. Like most people you know, you are probably addicted to sugar. Sugar is a silent addiction because we don’t realize we’re actually addicted until we try to stop consuming it. The hard part about quitting sugar is that refined sugar is in so many foods and drinks it’s unbelievable. Since it’s in almost everything we consume, it can’t be that bad for us…or can it?

 

Sugar is incredibly unhealthy for you. It is one of the main causes of obesity, and the more sugar you consume, the more weight you will gain. Sugar changes the chemistry of the good bacteria in your digestive system, which makes up about 80% of your immune system. Sugar feeds the “bad bacteria” that weakens your immune system and increases your vulnerability to viruses. This means the more sugar you consume, the more you will get sick. When I was younger, I always used to get cavities because I was consuming so much sugar, which has been proven to cause tooth decay. Refined sugar intake plays a large role in developing diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol.

 

I’m not strictly talking about refined sugar here, I’m also talking about High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which is in so many processed foods it’s almost scary. HFCS is responsible for health problems such as obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, liver damage, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, migraines, etc. Obviously, you need to avoid HFCS just as much as refined sugar.

 

Contrary to popular belief, artificial sweeteners are not a healthy alternative to refined sugar. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are even worse for you, just in different ways. Aspartame is what is known as an excitotoxin, which means it overstimulates brain cells so much that it actually kills them in the process. Drinking “diet” soda is actually worse for you than drinking normal soda, because artificial sweeteners are poison to your health. After watching this 11-minute video about the dangers of aspartame, I guarantee you will never want to consume aspartame ever again.

 

While it might seem counterintuitive, the natural sugars in fruit are good to eat, in moderation. During your no-sugar challenge, fruit will become the replacement for sugary desserts and snacks. Fruit is also very healthy, as different fruits are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

 

In health-food stores, I notice many foods and drinks that are marketed as “healthy” and “natural,” while it still contains sugar. Don’t fall for the marketing. Just because something is marketed as healthy doesn’t mean it actually is. Most people just aren’t aware of the health dangers that refined sugar poses.

 

As I was learning all of this information, I decided that I needed to get off sugar, because I valued my long-term health more than a fleeting good taste on my tongue. My challenge to you is to participate in the No Sugar Challenge! The goal of the challenge is to not eat any refined sugar, HFCS, or artificial sweeteners for a month. This will be much harder than you think it will be. After a month, see if you find a difference in your overall health level. I know I did!

 

I would suggest taking the challenge with a friend, because you can motivate each other. During the challenge, my friend and I constantly motivated each other to avoid sugar. Before the challenge, we thought that it was going to be a breeze. A week into it, we realized that we were very wrong. It was very annoying, extremely challenging, and not fun at all. The only reason that we were able to make it through the challenge was because of our determination. Quitting was simply not an option for us.

 

The No Sugar Challenge has transformed many of our habits. I never used to read the ingredients of what I ate, but going off sugar means reading every single label. This is a great habit that stuck for me after the challenge. After reading labels for just a few days, you will realize that processed foods are especially full of negative sweeteners. The challenge was hard, but I radically changed my diet and successfully stopped eating sugary desserts.

 

During the challenge, I constantly craved familiar, unhealthy foods. I even gave in a few times. Only until you get off sugar do you realize how dependent on sugar you really are. I gained more and more mental discipline to avoid sugar as the weeks went on, but the first couple weeks were especially tough. As you build up more and more mental discipline and eat less sugar, it will start losing it’s intoxicating draw on you, and you will crave those cookies less and less. Soon enough, you won’t even want them, because you’ll know just how bad they are for your health.

 

Don’t think that giving up sugar means you can’t use any sweeteners. There are some awesome, delicious alternatives to sugar that I have started using. Honey, stevia, pure maple syrup, and brown rice syrup are the main ones I’ve used, but I know there are more. They all taste great, and in moderation, totally fine to eat.

 

After the No Sugar Challenge, I did more research on the negative effects of sugar/HFCS/aspartame, and I decided that I was going to get off sugar permanently. After many months of constantly avoiding sugar, I feel much healthier. Obviously, I still end up accidentally consuming some sugar, because it’s in so many foods and drinks, but since I avoid it as much as possible, the negative health effects are minimal. Sometimes, I still get urges to eat sugary things, but I can resist those urges much better now. Kicking my sugar addiction was one of the best things I ever did for my health. Now it’s your turn.

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