Americans currently consume between 13 to 20 teaspoons of added sugar per day, when the recommended amount is between 6 to 9 according to the American Heart Association. This January, we challenge you to go a full 30 days without any added sugar. A simple 30 day challenge can lead to a permanent change in your eating habits. And while it might be hard at first, the positive impact it will make in your lifestyle will be well worth it.
Here are 4 ways you'll benefit from starting the year off with our 30 Day No Sugar Challenge.
1. Saying no to added sugar teaches you to read labels
84% of packaged foods in supermarkets contain added sugars, which lurk in everything from hot sauce to hummus. When you read labels, you learn that terms like‚ fructose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, ethyl maltol, and galactose are just other words for sugar. You'll also learn that while tapioca syrup, rice bran syrup, evaporated cane juice, molasses, and treacle might sound exotic, at the end of the day they're just sugar, empty calories with zero nutritional value. Examining labels closely is the first step toward nutritional awareness, and you'll quickly learn this skill by consciously avoiding processed sugar.
2. Saying no to added sugar will improve your overall health
Sugar is linked to so many negative health effects that it would be impossible to lay them all out here. We'll share what we consider to be some of the biggest risks. Principally, sugar has been proven to increase blood pressure, and high blood pressure causes damage to your circulatory system over time. Sugar also increases your risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. Excess sugar consumption lowers good cholesterol and raises your triglyceride levels. Having a low HDL and high triglyceride levels increases your risk of a condition called dyslipidemia, which is associated with clogged arteries, leading to heart disease.
3. Saying no to added sugar will make you mentally sharper
Your brain needs glucose in order to function, but excessive sugar has been linked to memory loss and other cognitive deficiencies. High blood sugar can negatively impact your brain matter and your brain's functional connectivity and can even cause your brain to atrophy or shrink. Also, elevated blood sugar has been linked to small-vessel disease which can lead to cognitive impairments and even vascular dementia by restricting blood flow to the brain. The negative mental effects of sugar are even more pronounced in type 2 diabetics, because type 2 diabetes accelerates brain aging.
4. Saying no to added sugar is easier than it sounds
We aren't saying all sugar is bad. We love fruits, nuts, and other plant-based foods that are naturally sweet. We just don't think it should be added to foods that don't need sugar to begin with. Why add sugar to dried fruit, which are already sweet on their own? It's easier than it sounds to cut out added sugar, because it doesn't mean you have to cut out all sugar. Go ahead and enjoy an apple, a handful of almonds, or some dried coconut. You'll quickly realize that by cutting added sugar, you still have plenty of sweet and delicious food options to choose from.
Want to take on this challenge and establish a healthy start to 2018? We want to hear your stories!
Share your sugar free challenge journey with us on Instagram with the hashtag #NoSugarChallenge2018 for a chance to win a Zevia 6pack. Each week we'll pick a winner at random. If you make it a full 30 days on the #NoSugarChallenge2018, let us know how going sugar-free for a month made you feel - and the winner will receive a full case.
We are not medical doctors and cannot give medical advice. As always, we suggest consulting your doctor if you have any questions regarding your stevia consumption and any affects it may have on any pre-existing conditions.