Eat Less Sugar Challenge

Why should we eat less sugar?

Where do I begin. Sugar increases insulin levels in our bodies which leads to inflammation. But wait, isn’t fat the problem? Unfortunately, that is what the food industry would like you to think. Read here about the Sugar Industry’s Cover Up.

The amount of sugar the adult human body can process in a day is 24grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day. On average, U.S. children consume 19 teaspoons of added sugar daily, largely from soda, fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, cakes and cookies, according to the report. The American Health Association made three recommendations which were backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Children over age 2 years should consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar each day.
  • Children under the age of 2 years old should consume ZERO added sugars per day
  • Children should not drink more than one 8-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage per week

We often hear that sugar leads to diabetes, weight issues, and heart disease. What we don’t hear about a lot is the link between sugar and other chronic diseases such as ECZEMA.

Here are three ways that sugar affects the skin and other chronic conditions.

  1. It Spikes Insulin: high levels of sugar lead to insulin spikes and those can trigger an inflammatory immune-system response just like cat hair or pollen. And while you might find you have an immediate reaction to sweets or sugary drinks that manifests itself as itchiness and redness, high amounts of sugar in your diet can also exacerbate chronic inflammation, meaning that the problem drags on long-term and leads to more issues such as asthma, ear infections, anxiety, attention deficit and hyperactivity, and headaches.
  2. It Affects Gut Flora: for every 1 human cell we are populated by 10 bacteria cells. In our gut alone, there are over 3.3 trillion bacteria living there. A diet high in sugar knocks the healthy balance of flora in your gut out of whack, because it encourages the growth of harmful sugar-loving yeasts and other bacteria like staphylococcus aureus which we know causes a lot of skin issues in those suffering from eczema. An gut populated by abnormal bacteria and yeast cannot absorb healthy nutrients your body needs and affects the efficiency of the immune system, so that the body struggles to respond appropriately to triggers, again leading to chronic inflammation. The more abnormal bacteria in your gut, the higher the likely hood that a cold turns to an ear infection, that broken skin turns to impetigo (skin infection), holding urine turns to urinary tract infections, colds and coughs turn to pneumonia.
  3. It AGEs Skin: the higher the glucose levels in the blood, the more the body produces substances called AGE (advanced glycation endproducts) which prevent the skin from repairing and regenerating itself as well as it could. This could mean that skin damage from scratching at eczema patches takes longer to heal, and that the skin barrier is less effective than it could be, letting in allergens and losing moisture, leading to – you guessed it! – yet more itchiness, dryness and cracked skin. Eczema is not the only issue to worry about. The skin of adults with high sugar intake ages faster and has more wrinkles because the body produces too much AGE.

Ready to try and eat less sugar as a family? Join the Eat Less Sugar Challenge below!

Eat Less Sugar Challenge

Rules: 

  • Each sugar elimination/substitution counts as 1 point.
  • Try to earn 5 points a day – goal
  • 150 points in 30 days
  • Post your swaps on Instagram or in The Rule of 5 Facebook Group (you need to have read the book to join this group). Don’t forget to tag me.
  • Winners will be selected based on frequency of posting swaps or recipes. It’s not as much about the points as it is about helping others to make better choices for themselves and their families. Wellness is a community affair!!

names of sugar.jpg

Things not allowed:

  • Sugar
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Fake Sugars
  • Fruit Juice
  • Fruit Concentrate
  • Monk fruit
  • Stevia
  • Agave
  • Rice syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • See the above pic of many other sugar names not allowed

Say What.png

Do not panic. The goal is to find substitutions without added sugar.

For example: Honey -> apple sauce, Maple syrup -> bananas, Sugar -> dates

The best way to do the challenge is to post your swaps and learn from one another.

We are eliminating sugar from only 5 products in your day. Just 5!

This exercise will help you see how much added sugar is lurking in your foods and most importantly it will help you and our tribe find solutions to this issue.

Here are some examples:

  • Heinz Ketchup -> Primal Kitchen Ketchup
  • Juice -> water
  • Granola -> chips
  • Protein bars -> trail mix with raisins no chocolate chips or m&ms
  • Cookies -> popcorn
  • Gogurts -> fruit
  • Cereal -> eggs
  • McFlurry -> Nice Cream
  • Poptarts -> toast with avocado
  • Uncrustables -> PB and banana slices or PBJ home (get jelly without added sugar)
  • Little Bites -> power ball
  • Soda -> sparkling water
  • Juice -> infused water
  • Diet soda -> tea
  • Starbucks Coffee -> making coffee at home with milk frother honey
  • Grocery swaps – such as PB, Ketchup, Tomato sauce, Salad dressings, BBQ sauce

But what if your diet is pristine and you have no added sugar in your diet? AMAZING!!!! You go on with your bad self. Please share your recipes and your swaps and you will get credit for being an inspiration to us all.

For everyone giving up sugar for lent – You are welcome!

In case you are wondering why children crave so much sugar check out this 5 min video that explains Secondhand Sugar Exposure:

Let’s do this team!

In good health,

Dr. Ana-Maria

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