You may feel a little tired and cranky, or you may be amazed at the fact you have gone an entire day without added sugars or artificial sweeteners. You probably now realize determining exactly how much sugar is in a snack or serving can be challenging. The nutritional facts label lumps all sugars (added and natural) under “total sugars.” As a result, you have no idea how much added sugar is in the food product versus how much sugar is naturally occurring. This can be tricky and you have to really dig deep in the ingredient list to determine if the sugars are naturally occurring or added.
For example, fruits and dairy products have naturally occurring sugar. However, a lot of food manufacturers add extra sugar to provide an even more indulgent treat (yogurt with fruit already mixed in, yogurt covered dried fruit, ice cream, chocolate milk). If you notice, other nutrients on the label such as sodium and fat list the percentage of the “daily value” intake per serving. This isn’t the case for sugars. If they were to put the percent daily value of added sugars on a standard 20-ounce lemon-lime soda, it would say 300%!
The Food and Drug Administration has announced that “added sugars” will have its own category on food labels, much like total fat and saturated fat are listed separately. “Added sugars” include sugars that are either added when foods are processed, or are packaged as such (sugar, sugar from honey, molasses, etc.) The FDA has allowed time for manufacturers to update food labels, with implementation beginning in 2020 and 2021. Click here to learn more about the difference between added sugars and naturally occurring sugars.
The true trick to going sugar-free is cooking your own meals and eating real, whole foods and limiting processed foods found in the center aisles of the grocery store. Avoid prepackaged foods, especially snack foods. Choose fresh instead.
Congratulations again for making the decision to remove added sugar from your diet and start on the road to a healthier, happier, stronger you!
What to eat
Here is a suggested meal plan for day 2 of the Sugar Shutdown. Please note you can make changes to fit your tastes, dietary and calorie needs.
As always, our important reminders:
- Do not skip any meals. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Listen to your hunger cues and eat until you’re satisfied. But give yourself a break before you start to snack to see if you’re actually hungry. (If you’re hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re probably hungry.)
- Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
- Eat snacks that have a protein and a carbohydrate together (nuts and fruit, hummus and vegetables, string cheese and grapes). This will keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day and help you stay full and keep cravings at bay.
- If you mix and match any meals, remember you want: A maximum of 2-3 servings of fruit daily. Watch your serving sizes and your snacks! 4-6 servings of non-starchy vegetables. Half of your plate at lunch and dinner should be nonstarchy vegetables. If you can get them in at breakfast too, the more the merrier. Snack time is an easy spot to get another serving in as well. We encourage using leftovers, especially at lunchtime!
- 3/4 cup frozen wild blueberries
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 medium banana
- 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 avocado (optional)
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- Cinnamon to taste
Feel free to vary smoothies with different fruits, spices and ingredients. For example, you may want to use almond butter instead of yogurt. Or you may want to use allspice instead of cinnamon. You can also add ice to thicken the consistency if you use fresh instead of frozen fruit.
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth, about two minutes. If shake is too thick, add more water until you reach a thick, but drinkable consistency. Drink right away, store in the fridge or freezer to have later.
Bell pepper slices with Greek yogurt ranch dip (mix ranch seasoning packing with plain Greek yogurt)
100% whole-wheat tortilla
3-4 ounces grilled chicken seasoned with cumin, cayenne and paprika
Inside burrito: romaine lettuce, tomato, black beans, corn, bell peppers, 3 slices avocado
2 tablespoon of fresh salsa
Side: baby carrots and hummus
Celery and almond or peanut butter
4 ounces grilled pork tenderloin
½ cup brown rice
Roasted vegetables – squash, zucchini, onions, broccoli and mushrooms:
- 1 large head of broccoli, florets chopped off from the stalk
- 1 large zucchini, chopped into half moons
- 1 large yellow squash, sliced in halves
- 1 onion, chopped
- 10 ounces Portobello mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2-3 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, toss all the vegetables with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Divide the vegetables among two baking sheets.
4. Roast vegetables for 35-40 minutes, removing the vegetables from the oven every 15 minutes to stir around.
How you should be feeling today
Today may start to be one of your harder days, as your body adjusts to letting go of your “addiction” to sugar. You can do this. Your health will improve, and you are going to feel much better, so hang in there.
Push yourself today by adding an incline or modifying your walk, run or jog with interval training of higher intensity and lower intensity bouts. This will challenge your body and increase overall calorie burn.
What the biggest source of calories in the American diet? Sugary drinks.
Source: Facts on Sugar Drink Consumption. Footnote goes to HHS/USDA. (2010). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office
“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” – Doug Firebaugh