Are you ready for our 10 Day Sugar Free Challenge? It starts on Monday, January 11! Hope you’ll join me. I need you, Obi Wan.
The rules of the Fed Up Challenge are harsh and mean, like the mean girls in your high school, only you can’t go home and bury your sorrows in a bowl of M&Ms.
I get a lot of questions about sugar substitutes. I also see other sites claiming to have sugar free recipes for the Fed Up Challenge and, sure, they contain healthier sweeteners like honey that are better than refined sugar and chemicals, but they’re still not allowed.
I’m going to say it and it’s going to hurt. You can’t have sugar substitutes during the Fed Up Challenge.
Don’t leave me.
Are you still here? Good, cuz I’m going to explain to you why. Let’s assume, for the rest of this post, that whenever I mention the word “sugar” I also mean any sweetener.
The Fed Up Challenge has 2 main purposes:
1. To detox from sugar.
This is the most important aspect of the Fed Up Challenge. It might seem obvious, but there are some things you should be aware of.
I joke around about being addicted to sugar but it’s no joke. It really is an addiction just like an addiction to any street drug or alcohol (minus the lamp shade on your head).
Artificial sweeteners slow down your metabolism and make you crave more food, especially sweets. So drinking that diet coke isn’t doing you any favors. The point of this sugar free challenge is to break the addiction.
Once you break the addiction, your taste buds will start to change.
At the end of 10 days, you’ll be surprised how the normal amount of sugar or honey you put in your morning beverage will seem like too much. Even your favorite yogurt will taste unusually sweet.
Do you ever notice that the more you eat salty foods, the more you need salt on your food? If it isn’t overly salted, it tastes bland to you. (guilty!) It’s because you get used to it. The same thing happens with sugar.
2. To teach you what’s in your food.
Your first trip to the grocery store where you’ll be reading EVERY. SINGLE. LABEL. will be eye opening. It will also be infuriating. Just about everything prepackaged has sugar, sugar substitutes, or items from this list, which are all forbidden during the challenge.
Want to buy that prepackaged sushi with spicy tuna? Sugar. What about deli lunch meats? Sugar. Want to buy some fat free vanilla yogurt? Sugar. What about those weird brands of plain, organic, fat-free yogurt that you find in the organic section? Probably sugar. Check the label.
And don’t forget: sugar = any sweetener.
My biggest eye opening moment:
I honestly had no idea there was sugar in my Pepperidge Farm sourdough bread. And not just sugar, but high fructose corn syrup! Check the label. You’ll find that most breads on the shelf have some sort of sugar, especially the breads labeled “wheat” or “whole wheat.”
Now, I buy Ezekiel bread (from the frozen section) or I buy from Panera Bread or other bakeries (you can ask to see the ingredients list).
By looking at every product you buy and learning to recognize sneaky names for sugar substitutes, you’ll start to learn about what’s in your food. You’ll see why fat-free or low-fat products don’t really help you lose weight. Those products have more added sugar in them to make them taste better.
For a more details on this, watch the Fed Up movie which is now on Netflix!
Important note: You’ll notice some items like milk will have a number where it says “grams of sugar”. That’s the natural sugars from the lactose. Natural ingredients like fruit, vegetables, milk, and cheese will have natural sugars in them. Those are okay. You want to avoid the added sugars and sugar substitutes in the ingredients list.
When in doubt, buy ingredients. Don’t buy foods with ingredients in them.
There’s no reason for us to consume so much sugar in our lives. The Fed Up Challenge teaches us that it’s possible to consume less sugar. We do have a choice. As consumers, we can demand better products by not buying products with high fructose corn syrup or other unnecessary added sugars. Low-fat and fat-free products are a trend because consumers want them. Let’s show the food industry that we want to go back to the basics: healthy, whole foods.
It’s not that we can’t ever eat a cookie again. But let’s lean towards moderation and not get crazy with 10 cookies. Followed by some Sprees and Gobstoppers. M’kay?
Is it even possible to have sugar in moderation, if sugar addiction is as real as drug addiction? I don’t know. I hope so. Because every once in awhile, life calls for a cookie.
What do you think? If you’d like to share your thoughts or comments, please share them below!