For 20 days we’ll avoid all food containing added sugar. To read my 20 Days No-Sugar story check here.
2 Simple Rules
1. No added refined sugars (white sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar etc.)
2. No added artificial sweeteners (Truvia, Splenda, NutraSweet, aspartame etc.)
Most processed food contains added sugar, even the ones you don’t suspect like ketchup, granola, flavored yogurt, salad dressing, and potato chips.
How do you identify added sugar in food? Easy…
Read any food nutrition labels you have at home and before you buy your groceries at the supermarket. That way you’ll know how much sugar is in your food. Food manufacturers also use a lot of different names in an attempt to disguise sugar so make sure you read this article on identifying “hidden” added sugars “61 different Names For Sugar”.
What about naturally occurring sugars? Are they okay? Yes!
Milk, plain yogurt, fresh vegetables and fruit contain sugar, and that’s totally okay.
Eat fruit: Enjoy the natural sugar found in fruit. Make a fruit smoothie for breakfast. Try a Mango and avocado smoothie (with milk).
Drink Milk or yogurt (I prefer kefir): Enjoy a yogurt smoothie as a healthy snack or a banana smoothie with kefir superfood for breakfast.
Eat vegetables: Prepare a superfood green smoothie with spirulina to add protein to your diet (Spirulina Green Smoothie)
20 days. You’ll be impressed by the results and, after only this short time, you won’t want to go back to eating tons of added sugar like before.
What can I expect once I finish this challenge?
More energy and focus: Sugar makes you feel tired
Flatten your belly: Most added sugar that you eat is converted into fat
Reduce fat, lose weight: Less sugar means less fat
Reduce your calorie intake: When you eat less sugar, the two hunger hormones start to working properly and you feel fuller after your meals. No more all-day snacking and feeling constantly hungry.
Enjoy the real taste of foods: Sugar often masks the real taste of food. Coffee and tea, for example, taste so much better once you learn to ditch the sugar.
What you need to do?
Learn how to identify food containing sugar. My guide on “How to read food nutrition label“
Be discipline, stay strong, and avoid added sugar in all forms. That means soda, sweetened beverages, candies, cookies, most breakfast cereals and processed food.
No Added Sugar Recipes
Low sugar recipes can help you to avoid buying processed and fast food. Cooking your own low-sugar meals means you know exactly what you ear eating and that makes it much easier to keep your sugar intake low.
Kefir (more about kefir here) was an amazing discovery and I love to mix it with fruit.
Fruit smoothies are also an easy and quick way to have fruit in the morning. Combined with kefir, fruit provides a healthy, light start to the day and the natural sugars taste great – all in under five minutes.
Add some no added sugar muesli to your bowl of fruit and kefir for the perfect breakfast, available at amazon.com.
Recipes for Lunch & Dinner
I’ve put together all the sugar free recipes here so I could easily find and share them with you. They are easy, healthy, and of course, have no added sugar.
Check the recipes, make your grocery list, and organize your meals. This will make the 20 No Sugar Days Challenge much easier.
Amazingly, reducing your sugar intake does not have to mean no desserts. You still can have great-tasting sweet treats without the high levels of added sugar. My no added sugar dessert recipes here.
Sugar Detox Recipes
For those of you who looking for more no-added sugar recipes, I highly recommend The 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo. Diane is a certified nutrition consultant and author of two New York Times bestselling books.
The 21 day Sugar Detox is a simple program to help you to avoid added sugar with real food recipes, audio support recordings, and a expertly moderated forum to clarify your doubts and answer your questions.
It includes a quick start guide to teach you what you need to know before start and there are several modification guides for athletes, pregnant or breastfeeding moms, vegetarians and pescetarians.
Find more about this program in my review here.
How to start?
1. Pick one day and mark it on your calendar.
2. Buy your new no-sugar added groceries
3. Record your weight and measure your waist, for comparison when you finish the challenge
4. Start your 20 No-Sugar Days Challenge
After the challenge
On your 21st day I would like you to answer these questions to understand what results you have achieved and how you feel, both mentally and physically.
How do you feel?
How many pounds have you lost?
How would you describe your energy levels?
What’s the major differences you feel today?
Would you recommend it to your friends?
Questions and Answers
Does a can of coke contain too much sugar?
One can of 12 fl oz (335 ml) contains 39 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men. One can has way more sugar than you should have in a single day!
How do I avoid added sugar?
Sugar is addictive and you can find it everywhere. Most processed food contains added sugar. 5 tips at “How to Avoid Sugar ?”
The difference between added sugar vs natural occurring sugar?
Unlike added sugars, natural sugars are present in food already. They are also accompanied by vitamins, minerals, fiber, and amino acids. As such they are healthy when consumed in moderation.
Added sugars are, in contrast, not naturally occurring. They are added to food to alter its taste, texture, or simply to make you crave and buy more of it. It’s often included to make foods borderline addictive which helps increase sales and profits for food manufacturing companies. More at my recent article “Added Vs Natural Sugar”
Learn more about the differences at “Added versus naturally occurring sugar – what’s the difference?”
Where can I find no added sugar foods?
There are healthy sugar alternatives to enjoy, fight your sugar cravings and perfect for your 20 No Sugar Days Challenge. You can find some examples at “Looking for No-Sugar foods” article.
How much added sugar should I really be eating?
The American Heart Association recommends 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men.
Why I should I reduce my added sugar consumption?
The 5 Most import reasons for avoiding added sugars are…
Sugar is fat: Most of the added sugar we drink or eat is converted and stored by the liver as fat. Sugar is considered one of the main reasons for the current obesity epidemic
Diabetes Type 2: Too much sugar makes your pancreas produce a lot of insulin for long periods of time. This can cause insulin resistance. When you have insulin resistance, it gets very hard for your body to reduce high blood sugar levels which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
The more sugar you eat, the hungrier you feel: Our hunger and satiety hormones (leptin and ghrelin), are responsible for informing the brain that we are full. When we eat too much sugar, they do not work properly and we never feel full. This leads to overeating and weight gain.
Get tired and sleepy: Metabolizing sugar consumes a lot of energy. That’s why you often feel tired after eating a lot of chocolate or candy. Eating less sugar will give you more energy.
Heart diseases: The liver converts excess sugar into fat which raises the cholesterol levels in your blood. High “bad” cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart diseases.
These reasons are supported by studies by The American Heart Association, Harvard University, NCBI, and American Diabetes Association. This is a short version of our full article “5 Healthy Reasons to Avoid Sugar” that you can find here.
Why do I see so many different names for sugar?
Today, there are, 61 different names for sugar. This trick is used by food manufacturers to hide added sugars in food. I’ve published the list at “61 different names for added sugar.”.
How to identify sugar on nutrition labels?
Learn how to read and easily identify sugar on any nutrition label. I’ve created an easy guide called “How to Identify Sugar on Nutrition Labels”.
What about cravings?
During the first 3-5 days, you’ll probably feel the temptation to eat high-sugar foods like chocolate or drink soda. That’s normal because sugar is very addictive and your body has been used to high levels of sugar for a long period.
Drink water, don’t think about it, channel your energy into distracting tasks to help you forget about sugar. Have a piece of fruit for a natural sugar fix. After a couple of days, these cravings will disappear and you’ll be free of your sugar addiction.
What to do if I slip?
What’s done is done. Don’t look back but, instead, look forward. Continue with the challenge; tomorrow is a new day.
What should I do when having lunch or dinner out?
Don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant if there is added sugar in their meals. Most sauces and salad dressings contain added sugar. Grilled and boiled food are usually safe options regarding added sugar.
What about sugar on coffee or tea?
Please, do yourself a favor and stop adding sugar to your coffee or tea. The first time it’ll taste strange, because with no sugar, you really taste the flavor of coffee and tea. After your 3rd coffee/tea, the strange taste goes away and will start enjoying more the natural flavor of different coffees and the differences between types of tea.
Do you have any no sugar added deserts?
Yes. You can find them here
What about lunch and dinner, do you have any recipes?
Yes, and yes! You can find all my sugar-free recipes here.
What about cereals?
Most cereals contain high levels of added sugar. Check the nutrition facts and find a low sugar or sugar-free cereal. You may need to visit your local health food shop to do this.
Where can I find all your posts regarding no sugar diet ?
All my posts about sugar are on the category “no sugar diet” and you can find all of them here.
Should I use artificial sweeteners ? Artificial Sweeteners have almost zero calories so what’s wrong ?
My full answer with all my thoughts and worries about artificial sweeteners explained here.
Wondering if blue agave nectar can be used in place of sugar? by Helen
Hi Sarah, What’s wrong with Agave? It’s plant based and isn’t processed. by Abby
Thanks Helen and Abby for your questions, if you also have questions about your no sugar challenge or any other topic, use the comment section below and post your question and doubts. Thanks
Although Agave comes from a plant and we may think it’s “natural”, the truth is that is so processed that all the natural nutrients are lost on the process of making commercial agave nectar. I’ve shared a complete article about Agave and 3 healthy alternatives to agave and sugar “Is Agave Good for You ?“. Remember: the idea here is to get rid of sugar addiction so for 20 days you have to avoid sugar and any of it’s alternatives. After the 20 days, your sugar addiction is most probably gone and only after that I recommend using the healthy alternatives to sugar that I recommend on the Agave article I mentioned before.